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At the Rink: Stars at Capitals

by Katie Brown

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Mike Green will return to the Washington Capitals lineup Friday against the Dallas Stars after missing one game because of an upper-body injury.

Green confirmed his status following an optional skate, where defensemen Matt Niskanen and John Carlson and forward Alex Ovechkin all took the morning off.

"It feels good," Green said. "I feel good enough to play, so yeah. Got a good practice in today, this morning. A lot of guys are banged up, so get out there and play. I feel healthy enough to do so. That's the thing; it's just taken some time to subside and settle down. Once that happened I'd be well enough to play. So that's where I'm at."

Defenseman Brooks Orpik will miss his second game because of a lower-body injury. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Orpik skated prior to the Capitals' optional practice, felt pretty good and could be available to play Sunday against the Boston Bruins, the finale of Washington's current five-game homestand.

The Capitals were the only team in the NHL to have four defensemen play each of its 67 games until Wednesday, when Orpik missed his first game of the season.

Washington has the day off Saturday, but Trotz said Orpik likely will skate since he hasn't been playing.

"We'll probably have some ice for him," Trotz said.

Washington has lost two of its past three games and has scored one goal in each of those games, a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild and a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers.

"Right now we've got to get rolling," Trotz said. "Lately I look at the Minnesota game and the New York game and we didn't play poorly at all. We haven't got enough scoring in those games. We haven't got any secondary offense in those games.

"We need to get to the net a little harder. We need to find the back of the net a little harder and a little more consistent from our lines."

The Stars had an optional practice Friday after their 5-3 win Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Coach Lindy Ruff said defenseman John Klingberg will miss a second straight game because of an upper-body injury.

Ruff said one thing his team has to be careful of is staying out of the penalty box and giving Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin too many chances on the power play.

"We're not going to totally take him out of the game," Ruff told the Stars website. "You have to know when he's on the ice shift in and shift out. Our discipline to not get into a game where we take a lot of penalties is important. Where he sets up on the power play, he can stay there for two minutes. He's not doing a lot of movement; he's finding areas to shoot from. That shot he has, he can score from the bottom of the circle, from the top of the circle, and he can score form in tight. It's an area we have to do a really good job."

Here are the projected lineups:

DALLAS

Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Tyler Seguin

Antoine Roussel - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie

Curtis McKenzie - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky

Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Patrick Eaves

Alex Goligoski - Jyrki Jokipakka

Jordie Benn - Patrik Nemeth

Jamie Oleksiak - Jason Demers

Kari Lehtonen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: none

Injured: John Klingberg (upper body), Trevor Daley (lower body), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (lower body)

CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson

Curtis Glencross - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward

Andre Burakovsky - Brooks Laich - Tom Wilson

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Tim Gleason - Mike Green

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: none

Injured: Jay Beagle (upper body), Michael Latta (upper body), Brooks Orpik (lower body), Dmitry Orlov (wrist), John Erskine (neck surgery)

Status report: Beagle will not play Friday, according to Trotz. He said Beagle could be available Sunday. ... Defenseman Cameron Schilling will return to Hershey of the American Hockey League. ... Burakovsky was recalled from Hershey on an emergency basis and will play on the fourth line with Laich and Wilson. Latta said he would play Friday if necessary, but he most likely will sit out and possibly play Sunday.

Who's hot: Benn had an assist against Carolina; he has 16 points in his past 15 games and 22 points in 23 games since the All-Star break. He scored a goal in Dallas' 5-4 win against Washington earlier this season and has points in his past four games against the Capitals. … Seguin has a three-game point streak against the Capitals and has scored a point in every game he's played against Washington while a member of the Stars. … Backstrom has 418 assists, one shy of setting Washington's all-time record.

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