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