The Washington Times - November 11, 2011, 02:06PM

NEWARK, N.J. | Marcus Johansson was smiling. More importantly he was practicing, too.

After a day off to rest what Bruce Boudreau called a “sore area,” the 21-year-old Capitals center took part in the morning skate at Prudential Center and will play Friday night against the New Jersey Devils. Boudreau said it was difficult to make Johansson take Thursday off, but all indications were it was a smart move.

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“You don’t want to be the guy who not practices or something like that. I’ve been sore and I felt I needed it,” Johansson said Friday morning. “It feels better today, so I think it was a good decision.”

Asked if it was related to the slash he took from Ryan Smyth in Edmonton Oct. 27, Johansson said, “It’s got nothing to do with that.” Given the talk about a sore “area,” that appears to check out.

The entire team got pushed to the limit during a bag skate Wednesday, but Johansson noted his injury occurred before that.

“No. It’s been sore for a while,” he said. “I’ve decided to keep playing anyways, and it’s not been helping it. So I think I needed a day off.”

Day off, check. Back to work, check. And he’ll likely at least start between Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer.

“It’s exciting to play with [Ovechkin]. He’s a player that makes stuff happen all the time,” Johansson said. “It’s very exciting. I’m looking forward to it.”