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Capitals' Beagle to play against Blackhawks

Forward has been sidelined since hand surgery Jan. 2

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Washington Capitals activated forward Jay Beagle from long-term injured reserve and he will play against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday.

Beagle, who's been out since undergoing hand surgery Jan. 2, skated at right wing on the fourth line in practice Saturday. He will start in that role, playing along with veterans Brooks Laich and Mike Richards. In order to make room under the NHL Salary Cap, the Capitals moved injured defenseman John Carlson (lower body) from injured reserve to LTIR.

Carlson, who had an unspecified procedure done Saturday for his injury, is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Dmitry Orlov is expected to play Carlson's spot on the right point of the second defense pairing, but that could change depending on late illness-related lineup changes.

"That's our plan," coach Barry Trotz said Sunday. "We've got a little bit of the stomach flu going around, so there may be a lineup change or two. But if we're fine, then we're probably going to go with the same pairs."

If there are no lineup switches, recently acquired defenseman Mike Weber will be scratched. Weber practiced with Washington for the first time Friday since he was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 23. Weber's arrival was delayed by the birth of his child.

Braden Holtby will start in net for the Capitals, who will find out at 12 p.m. ET whether Laich clears waivers. Laich was placed on waivers Saturday in a cap-related transaction. Trotz said he will begin warmup and play if he goes unclaimed.

Recently acquired forwards Andrew Ladd and Tomas Fleischmann will play for the Blackhawks. Ladd, re-acquired from the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, will play on the top line. Fleischman, acquired from the Montreal Canadiens along with forward Dale Weise on Friday, will slot into the third line.

Weise, who's awaiting a U.S. work visa, hasn't arrived and there is no set timetable for the process to be resolved. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, acquired in a trade that sent defenseman Rob Scuderi to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday, will be a healthy scratch. 

Corey Crawford will start in net for Chicago.

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