Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom remains day-to-day due to a hand injury that kept him out of the lineup for the team’s Monday win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, coach Barry Trotz told reporters Wednesday.
Backstrom will travel with the Capitals to Tampa Bay for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning on Friday. Backstrom didn’t practice Wednesday, and Trotz did not say whether the 30-year-old would practice Thursday.
If Backstrom is unable to play Friday, Trotz said the team would use the same approach it did in beating the Penguins in Game 6 to advance to the conference finals. Lars Eller centered the second line and played on the top power-play unit in place of Backstrom in that contest.
“Everybody playing the right way. I thought we checked really well. We played a game that we needed to play,” Trotz said. “We knew that we had to be very compact in our game, precise, and we needed four lines, and that’s what we did.
“We knew we couldn’t do it with one line or two lines, we needed all four. We went down that path. I think there was a big buy-in. There was no drama. In (Backstrom’s) case, if he was in or not, we were ready to go.”
Backstrom injured his hand in Game 5 of the series against the Penguins. He has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 11 playoff games after tallying 21 goals and 50 assists during the regular season.
Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky (upper body) is also day-to-day and will travel to Tampa. Burakovsky, recovering from surgery after being hit by Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner during Game 2 of the first round, was previously listed as week-to-week. Burakovsky practiced for the first time since the injury Wednesday in a non-contact jersey.
—Field Level Media