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Capitals' Backstrom could play first game Saturday

by Katie Brown / NHL.com

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom could make his season debut Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Backstrom, who had arthroscopic hip surgery May 27, was cleared for contact Wednesday but will not play Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I think based on my conversation yesterday that there is a possibility for Saturday," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Thursday. "I'm not going to confirm or deny anything. He's feeling better. Every time a player says they're feeling better and better, there is a possibility."

This is the first time since the 2011-12 season that Backstrom has missed any games. Last season he played 82 games and led the NHL with 60 assists.

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