The Washington Times - May 1, 2011, 06:54PM

Surprise, surprise – Mike Knuble’s back.

The veteran right wing was in the Capitals lineup for Game 2 Sunday night against the Lightning, two weeks after getting hurt against the Rangers. Knuble’s inclusion came as a surprise and after a day of coy words from coach Bruce Boudreau.

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At the morning skate, Knuble came off the ice early and Matt Hendricks stayed on late, but the coach rebuffed questions.

“It’s an optional. They’re allowed to come off when they wanna come off,” Boudreau said. “You’re gonna ask me this every day, and hopefully by the end of the series he’ll be playing.”

Asked directly about Knuble’s availability for Game 2 a few minutes later, Boudreau said “I doubt it. He’ll be in, I hope, by the end of the series.”

At his 5 p.m. meeting with members of the media, Boudreau said Knuble could be on the ice for the pregame skate.

“He might take warm-up just to give the guys some inspiration here,” Boudreau said.

Inspiration? After some talk about the penalty kill, a reporter asked if Boudreau was saying Knuble would not play.

“I didn’t say anything. I just said he’s here. He’s taking warm-up as an inspiration,” Boudreau said, getting a bit chippy. “I told you this morning what I told yas here. Quit asking the question.”

Knuble did indeed take warm-ups and was listed on the lineup sheet that was released just before game time. It’s his first game since suffering a suspected hand injury April 17 at Madison Square Garden. Hendricks was made a healthy scratch to clear a space for Knuble.

Knuble began the game on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson.

Expected lines:

Alex Ovechkin-Marcus Johansson-Mike Knuble

Brooks Laich-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin (starters)

Jason Chimera-Jason Arnott-Eric Fehr

Marco Sturm-Boyd Gordon-Matt Bradley