NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: John Carlson #74 of the Washington Capitals celebrates after Marcus Johansson #90 scored a goal in the third period to tie the game 3-3 againsnt the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

John Carlson Injury Probably Won't Keep Capitals' Defensemen Out Of Game 2 Vs. Lightning

John Carlson suffered an injury in Game 1 of the Capitals' first-round series against the Lightning, but it looks like he will be able to play in Game 2.

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John Carlson Injury Not Serious, Capitals' Defensemen Likely To Play In Game 2 Vs. Lightning

John Carlson, the star Washington Capitals defensemen, looks to be a go for Game 2 of the team's second-round 2011 NHL Playoffs series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carlson suffered an injury late in the second period of Friday's 4-2 Game 1 loss, and barely played in the third period. But at the team's morning skate on Sunday, Carlson said he would have been able to play then if needed.

Via 106.7 The Fan's Sky Kerstein:

#Caps Carlson says he feels "great", says it was a coach's decision he didn't play in the 3rd last game    

This is really good news for the Capitals, who desperately need a win in Game 2 and would have been in big trouble if Carlson wasn't there to provide it. Carlson has emerged as a Calder Trophy candidate in his first full season in the NHL, anchoring the Capitals' blue line and keying their defensive improvement. Not having him against Tampa Bay's offensive firepower would have been bad.

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John Carlson Injury Probably Won't Keep Capitals' Defensemen Out Of Game 2 Vs. Lightning

The Washington Capitals suffered a key blow in their 2011 NHL Playofs Game 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday when defenseman John Carlson suffered an injury with five minutes left to go in the second period. He only returned for a short spell and otherwise did not play.

Still, on Saturday, coach Bruce Boudreau said he will probably play in Game 2 on Sunday. Via Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner:

Bruce Boudreau says "pretty good chance" D John Carlson plays in Game 2 but not 100 percent sure    

The Capitals already are dealing with injuries to Dennis Wideman and Tom Poti along the blue line, so it's possible that Hershey callup Sean Collins ends up getting game action in a crucial spot if Carlson cannot play. Losing Carlson would be a huge blow, as Carlson has emerged as the team's top defensemen and is a huge part of their offense as well.

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