Washington Capitals not ruling out Nicklas Backstrom for Game 3

NHL News

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom took part in the team’s morning skate and remains a game-time decision for Tuesday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday he has not ruled out Backstrom, who injured his right hand blocking a shot from Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz in Game 5 of the second round.

Backstrom has three goals and 10 assists in 11 games this postseason, including one overtime game winner. The 30-year-old center had 71 points in 81 games during the regular season.

Lars Eller has taken Backstrom’s place centering the second line with Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie, and on the power-play unit. Eller has two goals and two assists in the first two games against Tampa Bay.

The Capitals are up, 2-0, as the series heads to Washington.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday that the team would not make any lineup changes for Game 3.

“We’ve thought about different things, but for me and our staff, we don’t feel it’s a personnel issue with how things are going,” Cooper said. “It’s how we’re playing and our effort, our game plan. That’s the difference.”

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