Backstrom sits out Capitals practice

Backstrom sits out Capitals practice
February 25, 2013, 10:15 am
Share This Post

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom sat out Monday's practice with an illness and was replaced on a second line by Marcus Johansson, who centered a unit with Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr.

Defenseman Mike Green, sidelined the past three games with a groin injury, also participated in practice and looked strong. Johansson has missed the past six games with an undisclosed injury.

Meanwhile, the Capitals played the second half of Monday's practice without Jason Chimera, who left the ice early with an apparent injury.

With back-to-back games against the Carolina Hurricanes [Tuesday] and Philadelphia Flyers [Wednesday] next up for the Caps, if Green or Johansson will be cleared for action.

Erskine deal: The Capitals appear to be close to giving defenseman John Erskine a two-year extension on his contract, which has this year and $1.5 million remaining. Erskine, 32, has played in 11 games this season and has one goal, one assist and 13 penalty minutes. 

Good start: The Caps scored the first goal of the game for the seventh consecutive game. They are 4-3 in those games and 4-6-0 when scoring the first goal this season.

Killer goal:  Before this season Eric Fehr had received just 1:37 of shorthanded ice time in his NHL career. But for the past five games he’s been a staple on the Caps’ kill and scored his first career shorthanded goal in Saturday’s win over the Devils.

“I just like the fact that the last few weeks he seems to have a lot of jump and making good decisions and involved in the game,” Caps coach Adam Oates explained. “And I’ve been trying to find him more minutes. Our power play’s been going pretty good, so I haven’t been able to put him there. So he got PK time.”

More on the PK: The Caps have killed off 21 of their last 23 shorthanded situations. They are 6-1-0 when holding opponents without a power-play goal and 0-9-1 when allowing one or more
Powerful: The Caps went 2-for-3 on the power play and are now 5-1-0 this season when scoring a power-play goal and not allowing one to its opponent.

Quick on the draw: The Capitals won 59 percent of their faceoffs on Saturday and have now gone six straight with an advantage in the circles.

Ovech-trick: With his 11th career hat trick Ovechkin moved into third on the Caps’ all-time list in career hat tricks, behind Mike Gartner [13] and Peter Bondra [19].

Penalty shots: Braden Holtby’s penalty shot stop of Steve Bernier was the first of his career. His only other experience with an NHL penalty shot came on Nov. 22, 2010 when he stopped Mattias Tedenby.

Birthday boys: Caps left wing Wojtek Wolski turned 27 on Sunday. Defenseman Jeff Schultz turns 27 today.