Nicklas Backstrom is playing for the Washington Capitals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Capital One Arena on Thursday.
The center missed the previous four games with a right-hand injury. He took line rushes centering Chandler Stephenson and Brett Connolly during warmups after working with the first power-play unit at the morning skate.
“It’s always nice to have Nick in the lineup,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. “He’s a one-of-a-kind player.”
Washington led the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Backstrom was injured when he blocked a shot in Game 5 of the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals won three games without him before losing 4-2 to the Lightning in Game 3 on Tuesday.
The morning skate was the first time he participated in line rushes or worked with either power-play unit since the injury. He took part in an optional practice Wednesday and appeared to be handling the puck better and shooting with more velocity.
Backstrom’s 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs were fourth on the Capitals behind Evgeny Kuznetsov (20), Alex Ovechkin (19) and John Carlson (14). Backstrom had five points (one goal, four assists) in five games in the second round.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final Coverage