Full highlights from the Caps win over the Oilers
Alex Ovechkin left the ice less than 20 minutes after the start of practice on Tuesday, raising concern that he may have suffered an injury during practice.
“A little tired from last night,” Capitals coach Adam Oates. “He kind of wasn’t feeling 100 percent so he said, ‘Let me get outta here,’ and I said, ‘Sure.’”
Ovechkin led all Caps forwards with 20:58 of ice time in Monday night’s 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. He is second in the NHL with six goals and tied with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby with a league-high nine points through five games.
Ovechkin has not missed a game due to injury since a lower body injury sidelined him for one game on Feb. 24, 2012. He played the final two games of last year’s playoff series against the Rangers with a hairline fracture of his left foot.
“I think everybody, when they get to this level [knows their bodies],” Oates said. “There’s probably some luck involved. He’s a physical player and guys that hit a lot and get hit a lot have a tendency to get some bruises.
“That’s part of his skill set, too. He’s a huge man and one of the things that makes him special.”
In other injury news defenseman John Erskine [upper body] skated for a second straight day. Oates said Erskine remains questionable for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers.
“He looked OK,” Oates said. “I want to make sure he’s 100 percent. I don’t want him to come back and reinjure it.”
If Erskine is cleared to play, he could replace defenseman Alex Urbom, who is averaging 18:16 and is a plus-1 through three games, or Nate Schmidt, who is averaging 17:02 and is a minus-1 through two games. Both are 22-year-old rookies.
“I thought [Monday night] there were a few more mistakes than the game before,” Oates said.
“A couple games is not nearly enough time [to evaluate]. We’re just happy [Urbom] is playing and getting some minutes and doing a pretty good job.
“[Schmidt] has had two games in the league. His skill set got him here. He moves the puck well, sees the ice well. He handles the speed of the game better than I thought he would.”
The Rangers will be without wingers Rick Nash [concussion] and Carl Hagelin [shoulder] and could also be without defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who missed Tuesday’s practice with the flu and did not make the team’s trip to D.C.