ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said there would be a good chance for Joel Ward to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers on Thursday provided he can manage any discomfort he might still be feeling in his left knee.
Ward missed the last nine games of the regular season with a bruised left knee.
"It would depend on how much the discomfort is," Oates said when asked about Ward's availability. "Can he fight through it or not?"
If Ward plays he likely would replace Aaron Volpatti on the fourth line. He has been practicing with the team since Monday and said his conditioning is fine.
"I'm hoping to get the call," Ward said. "I feel pretty good. My mind feels good. I'm confident and just waiting."
Ward had 20 points in 39 games this season.
"He's been a big part of our team all year," Oates said. "He's a big guy who controls the walls well and we need that."