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At the Rink blog

Capitals projected lineup; Laich likely to play

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 11:51 AM

By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer / At the Rink blog

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Brooks Laich left Verizon Center late Sunday afternoon on crutches with his left knee in a large brace.

About 42 hours later, Laich was on the ice at Washington’s practice facility, and if he has his way, the versatile forward will be in the lineup Tuesday night in a key division showdown with the Florida Panthers.

“I wanted to skate. It felt OK. I’m not really in charge right now, unfortunately,” Laich said. “Today felt really good. I woke up this morning feeling pretty good.

“I want to play every game. Especially tonight could be the most important game of our year, a team that we have to beat."

Laich did not practice Monday with the Capitals. He went to the doctor in the afternoon, and he said the prognosis was good -- or at least he can’t do any more damage. He was one the ice Tuesday ahead of his teammates and stayed for the morning skate.

He skated on the fourth line during an early drill, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him  move up in the lineup as the game progresses. That is, of course, if he convinces the coaches and trainers that he is OK to play.

“I hope so. I felt good on the ice -- turning, pivoting and everything felt pretty good,” Laich said. “Usually the decision isn't up to the player. It's whether the coaching staff – you've got to try and convince them sometimes. Hopefully, we'll see tonight.”

Here’s the projected lineup for the Capitals:

Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin

Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward

Mike Knuble - Brooks Laich - Keith Aucoin


Karl Alzner - John Carlson

Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman

Dmitry Orlov - Roman Hamrlik


Tomas Vokoun

Michal Neuvirth

NOTE: Jay Beagle will play in place of Laich if he is not able to go.

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday