The Washington Times - April 7, 2012, 04:47PM

NEW YORK | Joel Ward has been healthy and ready to go for a little while now. Saturday night at Madison Square Garden he’ll play his first game for the Washington Capitals since March 22.

Ward replaces Mike Knuble in the lineup at the New York Rangers, coach Dale Hunter said. Knuble, 39, is a healthy scratch.


Ward took a puck to the foot March 22 in Philadelphia and missed the next game at home against the Winnipeg Jets. When his foot was 100 percent, he became a healthy scratch, a distinction the 31-year-old right wing has had for at least the past four games.

Ward was scratched for the past seven games and eight of the past nine. He hasn’t scored with a goalie in the net in his past 35 games (Jan. 7 at San Jose). He had an empty-netter Feb. 24 vs. the Montreal Canadiens.

Knuble has six goals, 12 assists and a minus-15 rating this season.