WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals, Troy Brouwer #20 of the Washington Capitals, and Dennis Wideman #6 of the Washington Capitals after scoring a goal against the Calgary Flames at Verizon Center on January 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Flames Vs. Capitals: Washington Wins Fourth Straight In 3-1 Win Over Calgary

The Caps opened 2012 with their fourth consecutive victory in a 3-1 win over the Flames.

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Nicklas Backstrom 'Day-To-Day' After Elbow From Rene Bourque, According To Dale Hunter

BALLSTON, Va. - Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is "day-to-day" after receiving an elbow from the Calgary Flames' Rene Bourque, according to head coach Dale Hunter.

In the third period of Washington's 3-1 win over Calgary Tuesday, Bourque delivered an elbow to Backstrom's head at center ice and received a two-minute elbowing minor. After the hit, Backstrom returned to the ice for the ensuing power play and took two shifts after that, but ultimately left the game with 3:19 remaining.

Backstrom did not participate in Wednesday's optional skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but did take part in off-ice workouts and is continuing to be evaluated, according to Hunter.

When asked whether or not Backstrom underwent any concussion-related testing, Hunter was mum.

"No, we're evaluating," he said. "It's one of those things where you evaluate it for a few days and see how he is."

The team would not confirm if Backstrom had any concussion-related evaluations, but earlier Wednesday morning, Backstrom's brother, Kristoffer, tweeted that Nicklas did undergo concussion testing.

"Test done and the dr couldn't tell today but a small concussion/migraine," Kristoffer said in a since-deleted tweet. "Have to wait for tmrw and a new test."

Backstrom is the Caps' leading scorer with 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists). Hunter did not say whether or not Backstrom would join the team on its upcoming two-game road trip, which begins Saturday in San Jose against the Sharks.

Bourque will face a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Wednesday to discuss the hit.


Mike Green's Return From Injury Forgettable, But Forward Progress Will Happen

Mike Green's return from injury was nothing special, but it was a step in the right direction for a player who has struggled with injuries.


Rene Bourque To Have Disciplinary Meeting With NHL Regarding Elbow To Nicklas Backstrom

Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque will have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Wednesday morning regarding the elbow he delivered to the head of Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom.

During the third period of Washington's 3-1 win over Calgary Tuesday, Bourque closed in on Backstrom, lifted his elbow and hit him right in the head. Backstrom did not have control of the puck; he had passed it to Mike Knuble before Bourque made contact.

Backstrom did return to the game, however, but not for long before being taken out to undergo observation. Head coach Dale Hunter said after Tuesday's game that Backstrom was being evaluated and that more would be known Wednesday.

Backstrom's head was the principal point of contact and he did not make any sudden movements that put himself in harm's way. These facts, plus Bourque's prior history, will certainly come into play in the NHL's decision.

For more on the Caps, please visit SB Nation's Caps blog, Japers' Rink.


Nicklas Backstrom Evaluated After Receiving Elbow From Rene Bourque

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom underwent observation after receiving an elbow from the Calgary Flames' Rene Bourque during Tuesday's 3-1 victory.

Midway through the third period, Bourque caught Backstrom up high with his elbow at center ice. Bourque served a minor penalty for elbowing, while Backstrom later returned, even taking a shift on the ensuing power play, but did not complete the game.

After the game, head coach Dale Hunter said that the team removed Backstrom for precautionary reasons.

"We removed him from the game," Hunter said. "It was precautionary. He's getting evaluated and we'll know more [Wednesday]."

Hunter did not comment on whether or not Backstrom had to visit the "quiet room," where players are monitored for concussions. Bourque has a prior history with suspensions, with his most recent coming December 19 when the NHL suspended him for two games for checking the Chicago Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook from behind December 18.


Flames Vs. Capitals Final Score: Alex Ovechkin Leads Washington To 3-1 Win Over Calgary

The Washington Capitals won their first game of 2012 on Tuesday night, defeating the Calgary Flames at Verizon Center. The Caps managed to kill off three penalties in the final ten minutes of play to hold on for a 3-1 win and improve to 21-15-2. With their fourth win in a row, Washington now jumps into second place in the NHL's Southeast Division.

Just a minute into the game, Alex Ovechkin, the hottest player in the league, ripped a slapshot to beat Miikka Kiprusoff for the early 1-0 lead. Ovechkin was in on the Caps second goal as well, as he simply flipped the puck on net on the power play and Troy Brouwer was able to gain control in front and slip it by Kiprusoff. Dennis Wideman would add the Caps' final goal of the night with less than three minutes remaining in the second period. Along with Ovechkin, star Nicklas Backstrom had a three point night, assisting on each of Washington's goals.

Washington did an excellent job of limiting the offensive chances of a road-weary Calgary squad. The Flames had only 19 shots on goal against Tomas Vokoun as they kept up the pressure on the penalty kill to keep Calgary scoreless in the third.

The Caps will have three days off before they head out west and look to continue the streak on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Capitals, visit SB Nation's Caps blog, Japers' Rink.


Flames Vs. Capitals: Open Second Period Ends With Caps Leading Flames 3-1

After a tight first period, the second period opened up as the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames exchanged goals within 10 minutes with the former holding a 3-1 lead over the latter after 40 minutes.

Troy Brouwer padded Washington's lead at 8:49 when he corralled Alex Ovechkin's rebound from the point and chipped it past Miikka Kiprusoff for his 11th goal of the season. It was the Caps' second power play goal of the game and fourth in their last five opportunities.

Curtis Glencross, however, cut the lead in half at 13:51 when he took a centering pass from Jarome Iginla from behind the net and beat Tomas Vokoun for his 16th goal of the season.

The Caps restored their two-goal lead about three minutes after Glencross' goal. Marcus Johansson brought the puck into the zone and was sandwiched by Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan. Johansson lost the puck, but Sarich and Hannan also lost their footing. This allowed Nicklas Backstrom to grab the loose puck, take it behind the net and find Dennis Wideman for a one-timer. It was Wideman's seventh goal of the season and Backstrom's third assist of the game.


Flames Vs. Capitals: Alex Ovechkin's Goal Gives Caps 1-0 Lead Over Flames

It's serendipitous that the Washington Capitals are playing the Calgary Flames because Alex Ovechkin is on fire.

Ovechkin continued his recent hot streak with an early goal to give the Caps a 1-0 lead over the Flames after 20 minutes.

Ovechkin's 17th goal of the season came just 1:11 into the game, the fastest score that the Caps have had so far this season. On an early power play, Marcus Johansson set up an open Ovechkin for a one-timer from the left faceoff circle that beat Miikka Kiprusoff. It was Ovechkin's sixth power play goal of the season; he had seven last season. He has 10 points in his last seven games.

The pace slowed done significantly after Ovechkin's goal, but both Washington and Calgary had their chances. The Caps outshot the Flames 8-4.

In his first game since November 11, Mike Green took five shifts in the first period totaling 4:40.


Flames Vs. Capitals: Caps Will Start Seven Defensemen, Alexander Semin 'Day-To-Day'

BALLSTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals held their typical morning skate Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in preparation for their game against the Calgary Flames, but the big news coming out of the skate was Mike Green's return to the lineup after missing 23 consecutive games with a strained right groin muscle.

With Green's return, lineup changes had to be made. Head coach Dale Hunter said that the Caps will start seven defensemen Tuesday, likely to ease Green back into game action. Jeff Schultz will likely be the one defenseman that will not suit up. Mathieu Perreault will likely be the healthy scratch on the forward side.

Yet, one forward that will likely not play due to injury is Alexander Semin, who was given a "maintenance day" Monday. Reports surfaced Monday that Semin suffered a cut on his right armm during Saturday's 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the team denied the report.

Semin skated for about 10 minutes Tuesday before leaving the ice as the Caps began their drills. Hunter said that Semin is day-to-day and that "we'll have to wait and see tomorrow" in regards to his current status.

Meanwhile, Tomas Vokoun left the ice first and will likely start his fourth consecutive game. He has allowed four goals in three games.


Mike Green Injury Update: Capitals Defenseman Will Return From Injury Against Flames

BALLSTON, Va. - Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green will return to the lineup Tuesday when the Caps host the Calgary Flames at Verizon Center.

"Finally," a relieved Green said. "It's been frustrating sitting out and obviously a couple months ago, coming back and then first game back, back in the press box. I'm just happy to be back, focused, preparing to do the right things tonight. That's all that's on my mind right now."

Green missed 23 consecutive games with a strained right groin muscle that he suffered November 11 against the New Jersey Devils. Coincidentally, that game was his first game back from a six-game layoff while he recovered from a twisted right ankle in a October 22 game against the Detroit Red Wings. Green has missed all but eight games this season.

Considering it has been almost two months since Green saw game action, he plans to take things easy Tuesday and slowly work his way back into game shape. Green said that he and the coaches have a rough idea of how many minutes he will play in his return.

"I think you've gotta ease yourself in," he said. "I don't think I'm going to be jumping up and all over the ice. I think that it's important for me to get my game back. it's better that I try to do that slowly rather than quickly. I don't intend on being up and down the ice tonight. Anytime you come back from an injury, especially this long, it's about being simple, I think that's going to be the most important thing tonight."

Tuesday's game will be Green's first game under Dale Hunter, who took over November 28, but Green has been learning the nuances of Hunter's system during his recovery.

"It's gonna be different, but I gotta start somewhere. I've been going over game tape with the coaches. I had a couple practices now where I could try to mold into the way they play, but it's going to be a learning experience for me. I hope nobody else expects me to be able to pick it up just like that. If I do, that's a bonus."

For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.


Flames Vs. Capitals: Caps Look To Start 2012 By Dousing Flames

The Washington Capitals ended 2011 with a bang. For the first time since mid-October, the Caps have won three straight games. a streak that they will look to extend to four in their first game of 2012 against the Calgary Flames Monday at Verizon Center.

Saturday, Washington defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 after scoring four unanswered goals in the third period. Alex Ovechkin had two, while Alexander Semin and Dennis Wideman added the others to give the Caps their first three-game winning streak since mid-October.

Tuesday, the Caps will play their second of four straight games against Western Conference opponents. The Flames have not played at Verizon Center since March 2010. Last season, the Caps defeated the Flames 7-1 in Calgary; Nicklas Backstrom had four points (one goal, three assists). Washington will try to stop Jarome Iginla from becoming the 42nd player in NHL history to score 500 goals; he is one goal away.


Flames Vs. Capitals: Alexander Semin Misses Practice, Given 'Maintenance Day'

The Caps returned to practice for the first time in 2012 without Alexander Semin, who was given a maintenance day, according to a team spokesman.

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