Hertl was activated before Friday night's game against Colorado. Hertl was injured in a knee-to-knee collision with Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19 at Staples Center. He had surgery on Dec. 31 to repair the posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and has been skating with the team in recent weeks.
Hertl's return provides a big boost before the playoffs begin next week against the Kings. The 20-year-old Hertl was a strong Calder Trophy candidate with 15 goals and 10 assists in his first 35 games, including a four-goal performance against the New York Rangers in his third game.
I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.
— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh