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Capitals' Johansson available for Game 4

Washington forward missed time after hit by Pittsburgh's Letang in Game 3

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent


Eastern Conference Second Round

Penguins lead best-of-7 series 2-1

TV: 8 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports

PITTSBURGH -- Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson will be available to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

Johansson sat out the Capitals' morning skate Wednesday and did not practice Tuesday.

He left the game with 4:19 left in the first period of Game 3 on Monday when he was hit by Penguins defenseman Kris Letang but he returned at the start of the second period and played the rest of the game.

Letang received a one-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety on Tuesday.

In addition to Letang, the Penguins could be without defenseman Olli Maatta, who will be a game-time decision because of an upper-body injury sustained in Game 2.

Derrick Pouliot is expected to remain in the lineup for a second straight playoff game. If Maatta can't play he'll likely be replaced by Justin Schultz, whose only playoff game was 5:52 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers.

Pouliot skated alongside defenseman Trevor Daley while Schultz was with defenseman Ian Cole during Pittsburgh's morning skate. Daley and Schultz worked in Letang's spot on the top power play.

"Not having Kris leaves a big hole," Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "He's a huge part of our defense. He's a big part of the turnaround we've had and the success we've had since Christmas time. We're not going to have him tonight. We have a lot of talent in this room.

"We're going to have to play as 20 guys, as six guys out on the ice at all times, and know that we're not going to have a guy like that to rely on."

The Penguins also could be without forwards Bryan Rust, who sustained a lower-body injury while blocking two shots 36 seconds into Game 3, and Eric Fehr. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Rust and Fehr will be game-time decisions.

Penguins rookie forward Oskar Sundqvist could join the lineup for the first time since playing nine shifts in Game 1 of the first round when Rust was out because of a lower-body injury.

Washington has no plan to alter its approach regardless of who is playing for the Penguins.

"If you change too much you're not going to play your game," Capitals forward Jason Chimera said. "So we'll just keep it similar. We'll have to do a little more because we obviously lost [Game 3], so we want to get back even. We just have to keep doing the same things and keep plugging away."

Capitals defenseman Mike Weber, who was raised in Pittsburgh, could play in Game 4. He left the ice ahead of defenseman Nate Schmidt, signaling Schmidt could be scratched.

"I was born here and raised here, but I want to compete for the Stanley Cup," Weber said. "So any game it's nice to get in and it's nice to be able to compete with my teammates here."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Mike Richards - Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Dmitry Orlov - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Mike Weber - Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: None

Scratched: Nate Schmidt, Michael Latta, Stanislav Galiev

Suspended: Brooks Orpik


Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Oskar Sundqvist

Tom Sestito - Matt Cullen - Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin - Ben Lovejoy

Trevor Daley - Derrick Pouliot

Ian Cole - Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Olli Maatta (upper body), Bryan Rust (lower body), Kevin Porter (ankle surgery), Scott Wilson (lower body), Beau Bennett (undisclosed), Eric Fehr (undisclosed)

Scratched: Steve Oleksy, Jeff Zatkoff

Suspended: Kris Letang

Status report: Sestito and Oleksy were recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. Each could play Wednesday.

Who's hot: Murray made an NHL career-high 47 saves in Game 3. He has allowed three goals on 73 shots the past two games … Ovechkin scored his first goal of the series in the third period of Game 3.

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