The Washington Capitals should have center Nicklas Backstrom when they take on the red-hot New Jersey Devils on Friday. Backstrom is expected to return to the lineup after missing 11 days with a fractured thumb. Mike Vogel of WashingtonCaps.com reports that he will play Friday.
Backstrom, for his part, said he thinks he will indeed play. Via Katie Carrera of the Washington Post:
Backstrom: "I think I'll play tonight. If I play, I know I'm 100 percent." #Caps
Backstrom would likely go back to the top line, forcing Brooks Laich back to the wing. Laich has been very good with Backstrom sidelined, allowing the Capitals to maintain their nine-game winning streak even without Backstrom. That streak was snapped with Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
While Backstrom is returning, winger Eric Fehr likely will not play, according to Vogel. Also, defensemen John Erskine still has the flu and is also likely to sit out.