The Washington Times - March 30, 2012, 11:11AM

Officially the Washington Capitals were set for an off day Friday, but 10 players chose to skate, more than just the scratches from Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

No one’s presence was more important than Nicklas Backstrom’s, even though it wasn’t surprising. The center who has been out since Jan. 3 with a concussion could be returning very soon, possibly as early as Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. The next possible return date is Monday at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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It’s the 17th time in 18 days Backstrom has skated.

Cody Eakin, Michal Neuvirth, Jay Beagle and Jason Chimera all played and were on the ice Friday morning, along with Backstrom, John Erskine (lower body), Braden Holtby, Jeff Schultz, Joel Ward and Jeff Halpern.

Chimera was given a five-minute major and game misconduct in Boston and missed more than two periods of the game.

Dale Hunter is expected to address reporters at some point. Tomas Vokoun left Thursday night’s game with what appeared to be an aggravation of his nagging groin injury.