Joffrey Lupul returns from a five-game concussion absence Tuesday night for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Washington Capitals.
Lupul was expected to start on the Maple Leafs’ second line with Nikolai Kulemin and Nazem Kadri. He did line rushes with them during pregame warmups.
“We’re excited,” defenseman Cody Franson said. “Lupes is a big part of our team. We’re happy to have him back, and he was obviously playing some unbelievable hockey before he got hurt there. So we’re excited to have him back.”
Lupul had five goals and five assists in five games before the concussion caused him to come out of the lineup. Counting the two games before his suspension, the 29-year-old winger has eight goals and six assists in his past seven.
Lupul has only played 10 games all season. He missed 25 games with a broken arm earlier in the year. He has a point in every game since returning from that injury.
The decision to bring him back against the Caps was not made lightly, according to coach Randy Carlyle, who deemed Lupul a “50/50” shot at playing when addressing reporters at 5 p.m.
“We’ve had lots of conversations over the last week and specifically last four or five days, so we’re just going to be extra cautious and make a decision based upon how he feels after warm-up,” Carlyle said.
Caps fans might remember Lupul from Game 7 in 2008 against the Philadelphia Flyers, when he scored the overtime, series winner.
The Caps go with the same lineup from Saturday night’s victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Forward Brooks Laich is missing his sixth straight game with a groin injury and right wing Joel Ward his fourth with a bruised left knee.
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Martin Erat - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Eric Fehr
Aaron Volpatti - Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jack Hillen - Steve Oleksy