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Ovechkin to return to Capitals' lineup

by Adam Vingan

ARLINGTON, Va. -- After missing the Washington Capitals' weekend back-to-back games with an upper-body injury, right wing Alex Ovechkin will return to the lineup Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

"I feel fresh and I feel, before I get hurt, really good," Ovechkin said. "Of course you don't want to miss two games but it happens and I'm back and I'm pretty happy."

Ovechkin, who will skate on Washington's top line with center Nicklas Backstrom and left wing Martin Erat, has not played since a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 28. In the first period of that game Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler tripped Ovechkin as he broke toward the goal, which sent him crashing into Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. Ovechkin seemed to favor his shoulder as he skated away from the collision.

In Ovechkin's absence the Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 on Friday and the Florida Panthers 3-2 in a shootout the following day.

While Ovechkin's teammates obviously are happy to have him back in the lineup, they hope that he complements what they were able to accomplish without him.

"Even now when he's back, I mean, I think everyone should just keep going," Backstrom said. "That's what we want to do. We want to work hard and forecheck and get the puck back and score from there. That's what we want to do, so hopefully we can roll four lines and be the same as the previous two games."

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