- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2018

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom returned to the ice Thursday for the first time since leaving Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins with an upper-body injury.

Backstrom is still “day-to-day,” but was skating and handling the puck. He will travel to Tampa Bay with the team, though coach Barry Trotz did not indicate if he would be available for Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Backstrom missed the Capitals’ series-clinching Game 6 against the Penguins on Monday. He was seen with a wrap around his right hand.

Forward Andre Burakovsky, meanwhile, took another step Thursday, practicing without a non-contact jersey during the team’s optional skate. Backstrom skated on his own, away from the team.

Burakovsky has been out since April 15 after taking a big hit from Columbus’ Boone Jenner. He needed “minor surgery” for his injury. 

While Burakovsky and Backstrom are questionable Friday for Game 1, the Capitals will get back winger Tom Wilson, whose three-game suspension is now over.

Trotz is still determining his lineups before then. They will obviously change if Burakovsky and Backstrom return.

“We’ll look at what Tampa has going forward, and the first instinct is to try to put the lines back together that you had, but this time of year, you go with the guys who are going,” Trotz said. “Names don’t really mean as much. The guys that are going well, you use, and the other guys wait for another opportunity. When I get the word, then we’ll put them back together.”


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