Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen participated in Friday’s practice alongside defense partner Mike Green, but was not feeling 100 percent afterward and is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Boston Bruins.
“We’ll wait to see how he feels,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “I didn’t expect him to practice today and he was pretty sore. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Hillen, who is generously listed at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, took the worst of an open-ice collision with 6-foot-3, 230-pound Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin in the overtime period of the Capitals’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night.
If Hillen cannot play against the Bruins, Oates said John Erskine will return to the lineup for first time since suffering a head injury March 5 against the Flyers. Erskine has one goal, two assists and 54 penalty minutes in 35 games this season.
“I think he’s been a little frustrated lately,” Oats said of Erskine. “But I also felt we were playing pretty good hockey, so I didn’t want to change it.”
Meanwhile, center Mikhail Grabovski practiced with the team but will miss his 22nd of 23 games with a left ankle injury. Oates said Grabovski could play Sunday night in Nashville against the Predators.
“We’ve got to make sure he’s ready to play mentally and physically,” Oates said.
With Grabovski sidelined, center Chris Brown is expected to center a fourth line with Dustin Penner and Tom Wilson, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Saturday.
Brooks Laich also skated before practice, his first extended skate since undergoing an adductor release on March 17.
Here is how the Caps looked at practice:
Marcus Johansson – Jay Beagle – Alex Ovechkin
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Eric Fehr – Joel Ward
Dustin Penner/Aaron Volpatti – Chris Brown/Mikhail Grabovski – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Jack Hillen – Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov – Patrick Wey
John Erskine – Connor Carrick
Jaroslav Halak – Braden Holtby