KINGS (33-19-3) at CAPITALS (40-10-4)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-W, CSN-DC, NHL.TV
WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik will return to the lineup against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday after missing 40 games with a lower-body injury.
"You can practice as hard as you want but there's nothing like the speed of actual games," Orpik said. "You've just got to prepare yourself as much as you possibly can. Eventually you start to get your feet wet with games."
Orpik last played Nov. 10 and has been practicing with the team since Feb. 6. He was told by doctors to rest for eight weeks after attempting to come back in December.
"I think you're nervous and excited at the same time," Orpik said. "I think it goes away pretty quickly though. Couple of shifts in, you're just kind of right back into it."
Orpik will play on Washington's third defensive pairing with Dmitry Orlov to help him get up to speed and ease him back into the tough minutes he used to play on the top pairing. For Orpik, it's a similar situation to getting back into shape at the beginning of a season.
"It's about the same time you take off in the offseason, depending how deep you went in the playoffs," Orpik said. "It's kind of a restart, for me it is. Everyone else is on game 54. Everyone else is in pretty good game shape and game speed, so you just try to catch up as fast as you can."
Jonathan Quick will start in goal for the Kings after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Quick is 28-14-2 with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 44 games this season.
"He's one of our top players, and he's had a lot of success," Kings forward Vincent Lecavalier said. "Every time you get your players back, your important players back, it's really important. A guy like [Quick], the leadership he brings on and off the ice, I think it's going to be huge."
Backup goalie Philipp Grubauer will be in net for the Capitals.
Here are the projected lineups:
Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Dwight King - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson - Vincent Lecavalier - Trevor Lewis
Nick Shore - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan
Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel - Luke Schenn
Injured: Matt Greene (upper body), Marian Gaborik (lower body)
Scratched: Kyle Clifford, Jamie McBain, Peter Budaj
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich - Mike Richards - Michael Latta
Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov
Injured: Jay Beagle (upper body)
Scratched: Stanislav Galiev
Status update: Gaborik was placed on injured reserve Saturday.
Who's hot: Backstrom has five points in his past three games. … Kopitar leads the Kings with 34 assists and 50 points.