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Ovechkin back in lineup for Capitals vs. Rangers

NHL.com @NHL

NEW YORK (AP) -Alex Ovechkin was back in the Washington Capitals lineup on Tuesday night after the star forward missed two weeks because of an injury.

The two-time NHL MVP practiced with his teammates on Tuesday morning and came through that and the pregame warmup without any setbacks. Ovechkin was sidelined for six games because of an upper body injury, believed to be a left shoulder strain. He entered Tuesday tied for the NHL lead with 14 goals despite playing only 14 games.

While the Capitals welcomed back Ovechkin when they faced the New York Rangers, Washington was without top forward Alexander Semin, who has been bothered by a sore right wrist. Semin was injured last week, but hadn't missed a game because of his wrist until he sat out Tuesday night.

Ovechkin got hurt against Columbus on Nov. 1. The Southeast Division-leading Capitals won four of six games without him. He was excited to get back to game action.

"It's going to be a pretty cool moment for me," he said.

The Capitals were also missing goalie Jose Theodore, who returned home because of a personal matter.

Semyon Varlamov, who played well against the Rangers in last season's playoffs when the Capitals erased a 3-1 series deficit in the first round to advance, started in goal at New York. Washington recalled Michal Neuvirth from Hershey of the AHL on Tuesday to be Varlamov's backup.

Varlamov is 6-1 in his past seven outings with a 2.09 goals against average.

One other injury question mark for Washington was the status of forward David Steckel, who was struck in the foot by a puck during practice on Monday. Steckel was in the lineup along with center Jay Beagle, who was recalled from on Tuesday from Hershey and replaced Semin.

The Capitals were already missing forwards Mike Knuble (broken finger), Boyd Gordon (back), and defenseman Milan Jurcina (lower body). Knuble has missed one game and is expected to be sidelined for 3 to 4 weeks. Jurcina will miss his third game.

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