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Erat, Ward out for Caps; Bourque returns for Habs

by Arpon Basu /

MONTREAL -- The Washington Capitals will be without trade-deadline acquisition Martin Erat and forward Joel Ward when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Erat will miss his second game since being driven into the boards by Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson in the first period of a 4-3 Capitals win Saturday. Ward was hurt when he blocked a Sami Salo slap shot with his left leg in a 4-2 win Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ward and Erat made the trip to Montreal, but coach Adam Oates said each needs more time before returning to the lineup.

"[Ward] is still hurt pretty good from that shot," Oates said. "He came on the trip in case he got better, but he just wasn't feeling good this morning. Marty's just loosening up, but he's not quite ready yet."

Oates said there was no timeline for the return of either player.

Wojtek Wolski will take Erat's spot on Washington's second line after being a healthy scratch for five straight games and 12 of the past 14. Eric Fehr, who played in Erat's spot against the Lightning, moves to the third line to fill Ward's regular spot.

While the Capitals are missing players, the Canadiens will welcome back Rene Bourque into the lineup after a 21-game absence due to a concussion that has kept him out since Feb 21. Bourque had been playing left wing on Montreal's top line, with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, at the time of his injury. That spot has been taken by Michael Ryder, who was acquired five days after Bourque's last game and has 10 goals and eight assists in 18 games with Montreal.

This also will be Montreal's first game since the loss of top-four defenseman Alexei Emelin to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. His spot to the right of Andrei Markov will be filled by Davis Drewiske, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings a day before the NHL Trade Deadline for a 2013 fifth-round draft pick. American Hockey League call-up Nathan Beaulieu, the team's 2011 first-round pick, will take Drewiske's spot on the third pairing, with Francis Bouillon.

Michal Neuvirth will start in goal for the Capitals for a second straight game after he sat for 11 straight; the Canadiens will counter with Carey Price.

Here are the projected lines for the Capitals and Canadiens.


Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin

Wojtek Wolski - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Eric Fehr

Aaron Volpatti - Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle

Karl Alzner - Mike Green

John Erskine - John Carlson

Jack Hillen - Steve Oleksy

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Jeff Schultz

Injured: Joel Ward (leg), Martin Erat (lower body), Tom Poti (back)


Michael Ryder - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher

Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Brandon Prust

Rene Bourque - Jeff Halpern - Travis Moen

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban

Andrei Markov - Davis Drewiske

Nathan Beaulieu - Francis Bouillon

Carey Price

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Ryan White, Tomas Kaberle, Yannick Weber

Injured: Colby Armstrong (knee), Alexei Emelin (knee), Raphael Diaz (concussion)

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