The Washington Times - April 19, 2012, 09:02AM

The Washington Capitals’ locker room has two guys with Stanley Cup rings, but one of them spent Games 1, 2 and 3 in the press box.

But for Game 4 Thursday, it looks like Mike Knuble will join Troy Brouwer and Co. in the lineup, replacing Nicklas Backstrom, who will serve his NHL-imposed suspension.


The 39-year-old alternate captain brings invaluable elements to the Caps, on and off the ice.

He brings a lot of leadership just in the room, talking before games, and helping out,” center Mathieu Perreault said. “He’s a guy that works hard, and the playoffs fit right into his game.”

As for what he’ll try to bring from his wealth of experience, Knuble isn’t overestimating his impact.

Just being positive now you’re involved in the game. When you’re not you’re just watching, you can’t say anything, can’t do anything as far as helping your teammates and that,” he said. “Now that you’re here you hear what’s being said on the bench, you can tell what the overall pulse of your team is and you try and help.”

Knuble will likely play on the fourth line alongside Keith Aucoin and Joel Ward. He probably won’t see heavy minutes in his first game action since the penultimate game of the regular season, April 5 vs. the Florida Panthers.

“As a player you come in you hope you can keep up with the pace of the series. It’s a fast, fast game out there,” he said. “You just want to try to even the series, do what you can in whatever role it is. If you play two minutes if you play 20 minutes you just do your best and try to be a positive influence on the team.”

This is an opportunity for Knuble in what Dale Hunter called a “grinding series.”

“He’s been around for a while, he’s played a lot of playoff hockey and he’s a big body that we need out there that can get in the corners and get in front of the net and cause some havoc,” Aucoin said. “Me and Knuble have played quite a bit this year and we’ve had some good chemistry so hopefully we can bring it out there tomorrow night and help the team win.”