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Conference Final

Backstrom remains day to day for Capitals in Eastern Conference Final

Status for Game 2 against Lightning unclear; Trotz optimistic center will return during series

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Nicklas Backstrom remains day to day for the Washington Capitals because of a right-hand injury, coach Barry Trotz said Saturday.

Trotz said he was optimistic the 30-year-old center will be able to play at some point in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but did not specify if there's a chance he'll play in Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Backstrom has missed two games because of the injury, which he sustained blocking a shot by defenseman Justin Schultz in Game 5 of the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Washington won both games without Backstrom, including a 4-2 win in Game 1 at Tampa Bay on Friday.


[RELATED: Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]


The Capitals did not practice Saturday, and Trotz said Backstrom planned to have an off-ice workout.

Backstrom skated before an optional practice Thursday, working with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish, passing the puck and doing a little shooting That's the only time he's has been on the ice since he was injured, but Trotz said Backstrom would not need a full practice before playing.

"I'm not worried about Nick Backstrom," Trotz said. "Nicky's one of those guys that you can throw him in and he's not going to miss a beat."

Backstrom's 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are third on the Capitals behind Alex Ovechkin (17 points) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (16). He had five points (one goal, four assists) in the second round.


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