The Washington Times - April 11, 2013, 10:05AM

Joel Ward is dealing with some bruising in his left knee area and won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, coach Adam Oates said.

Ward will miss his second game after blocking a slap shot from Sami Salo with his left leg in the third period Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has not skated since and there is no timetable for Ward to return.


“It’s a lower body, so as soon as he can skate, he will,” Oates said. “The bruising’s pretty severe, so as soon as it gets out of there, some swelling in the knee area because of the bruise.”

Oates said Ward is “obviously still in some pain. We’re going to try and have him skate as soon as possible.”

Forward Brooks Laich (groin/lower body) similarly didn’t skate and his status is uncertain. He saw Dr. Michael Brunt on Tuesday and was expected to see another doctor Thursday, Oates said. The coach did not have a further update.

Left wing Martin Erat (left leg) skated but is not expected to play vs. Carolina.

“He looked better today,” Oates said. “Not going to play tonight but hopefully Saturday.”

In the absence of those three guys, tough guy Aaron Volpatti will start on the second line alongside Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer, while Wojtek Wolski will play his second straight game.

Oates liked what Volpatti was able to do on the second line Tuesday at the Montreal Canadiens, working strong along the boards.

“Carolina’s a team that pinches relentlessly, so for him just to continue to handle the pinching, go down the walls, be strong, be effective, get the puck in and let Brouw and Ribs go to work,” Oates said.

Braden Holtby will make his 12th start in the past 14 games. He did not appreciate two games off when Michal Neuvirth started instead.

“I’d rather play. It’s pretty simple,” Holtby said. “I don’t like sitting out but you take it as it is. As long as we’re winning it doesn’t matter.

Here’s a look at the lines and pairings:

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin

Aaron Volpatti - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Eric Fehr

Wojtek Wolski - Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle

Karl Alzner - Mike Green

John Erskine - John Carlson

Jack Hillen - Steve Oleksy

Braden Holtby





Timetable-wise? No. I know he’s feeling better. He’s full practices, conditioning. He’s almost ready.

Tough to crack lineup?

A little bit. We’ve got some numbers, which is a good position to be in. And I’m sure he understands that.