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Sport NHL playoffs 2018: Nicklas Backstrom's return biggest Game 4 question facing Capitals, Lightning

21:15  17 may  2018
21:15  17 may  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

NHL Playoffs 2018: Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom 'game-time decision' for Game 6

  NHL Playoffs 2018: Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom 'game-time decision' for Game 6 Nicklas Backstrom's status remains up in the air ahead of Game Six against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. Backstrom missed the Capitals morning skate ahead of the pivital matchup. and Caps coach Barry Trotz deemed him a 'game-time' decision.Backstrom left midway through the third period during the Capitals 6-3 Game 5 victory on Saturday and did not return. It was later announced that the 30-year-old sustained an upper-body injury and that no further updates were available.Alex Ovechkin fully expects his teammate to be on the ice Monday night despite Backstrom's absence from the morning skate.

The Lightning woke up from their two- game slumber against the Capitals and looked more like the team favored in the East finals. That could change when, or if, Nicklas Backstrom returns .

2018 : Nicklas Backstrom ' s return biggest Game 4 question facing Capitals , Lightning . — Their power play paid off again. The Capitals did make it easy for them, to be sure, by committing so many

ARLINGTON, Va. — Barry Trotz began his press conference following the Capitals’ Thursday morning skate with: “Day-to-day, game-time decision, hasn’t been medically cleared.” As has been the case since late in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the coach was talking about Nicklas Backstrom’s game status.

Unlike the previous updates, though, was the reference to the Capitals’ center’s status for that night’s Game 4 of the East finals as being up to the medical staff. There had been no indications before the other four games he’d missed that he was close enough to return, but with that pronouncement, “game-time decision” took on an all-new meaning.

NHL playoffs 2018: Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky upgraded to day to day

  NHL playoffs 2018: Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky upgraded to day to day Andre Burakovsy has been out since Game 2 of Round 1 while Nicklas Backstrom missed Game 6 Monday against the Penguins.Coach Barry Trotz told reporters Wednesday that both have been upgraded to day-to-day after sustaining injuries during the postseason.

NHL Playoffs 2018 : Capitals ’ Nicklas Backstrom , Andre Burakovsky game -time decisions for Game 1 against Lightning . Burakovsky has been out since April 15 while Backstrom missed Washington' s Game 6 victory Monday over the Penguins.Trotz says Burakovsky and Backstrom are both

Nicklas Backstrom ' s return wasn't enough to help the Capitals keep their edge in the Eastern Conference finals. The Lightning tied the series with a 4-2 win in Thursday's Game 4

a hockey player on the field © (Getty Images)

Backstrom might be looking at an extra precautionary day off for his injured right hand, had the Capitals won Tuesday night in Washington and taken a 3-0 series lead over the Lightning. But the Lightning’s dominant 4-2 win made Game 4 at Capital One Arena far more urgent.

MORE: Lazy Alex Ovechkin narratives can be laid to rest — finally

Tampa Bay has a chance to even the series at two games each, and Thursday night will determine whether the Lightning have wrenched momentum back from a Capitals team that returned from Tampa brimming with confidence.

The potential return of Backstrom would improve the Capitals’ chances of regaining momentum.

Meanwhile, a handful of factors favor the Lightning continuing the reversal of fortune they engineered in Game 3:

NHL playoffs 2018: Predators' Mike Fisher ruled out Game 7

  NHL playoffs 2018: Predators' Mike Fisher ruled out Game 7 Mike Fisher returned from retirement to earn another shot at a Stanley Cup, but he will be unable to help the Predators advance Thursday.Mike Fisher (lower body) will not play tonight and is day-to-day.

Nicklas Backstrom ' s return wasn't enough to help the Capitals keep their edge in the Eastern Conference finals. The Lightning tied the series with a 4-2 win in Thursday's Game 4

NHL playoffs 2018 : Nicklas Backstrom ' s return biggest Game 4 question facing Capitals , Lightning . The Lightning woke up from their two-game slumber against the Capitals and looked more like the team favored in the East finals. That could change when, or if, Nicklas Backstrom returns .

— Anton Stralman avoided discipline for Tuesday’s hit on the Capitals’ Tom Wilson. The Caps complained long and loudly about a double standard, that the Stralman play deserved a fine or suspension at least as much as what Wilson had done to earn his three-game suspension against the Penguins. More critically, Wilson hinted (and their play bore out) that the Capitals were somewhat “tentative” after that first-period hit, their early aggressiveness gradually draining away until the Lightning scored. “I don’t really think I was myself” after the play, Wilson said Thursday, adding that he expected he would be for Game 4.

MORE: On Tom Wilson and becoming an NHL villain

— The Lightning’s stars finally shone. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman were the dominant players in Tuesday’s win, and the team followed their lead at both ends. They combined for three goals and four assists. It was just the second time Stamkos and Kucherov both scored in the same game this postseason, and the first time all three had (it was Hedman’s first goal of the playoffs).

NHL Playoffs 2018: Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky game-time decisions for Game 1 against Lightning

  NHL Playoffs 2018: Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky game-time decisions for Game 1 against Lightning Burakovsky has been out since April 15 while Backstrom missed Washington's Game 6 victory Monday over the Penguins.Trotz says Burakovsky and Backstrom are both game-time decisions. Backstrom did not participate in the morning skate.

Nicklas Backstrom scores the overtime game -winning goal in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs 1st Round Series between the Washington Capitals and

Nicklas Backstrom will make his first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals after missing the first three games with a hand injury.

— Their power play paid off again. The Capitals did make it easy for them, to be sure, by committing so many avoidable penalties, but the Lightning punished them for it for the third straight game. Trotz didn’t think the solution for his team was very complex: “Don’t take any penalties, move your feet, be on the right side of the puck, make good decisions.’’

— They had the sharper goalie. Andrei Vasilevskiy raised his game under desperate circumstances for the Lightning. Since regaining the starting job in Game 3 of the first round, the Capitals’ Braden Holtby had his first game that could arguably be classified as a dud. He had been 10-2 this postseason going into Tuesday. Seeing either of them play sub-par Thursday would be a surprise.

NHL playoffs 2018: Evgeny Kuznetsov sets Capitals' playoff points record .
Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored 11 goals and added 11 assists this postseason.In fact, Kuznetsov has performed better this postseason than any Wahington player in history. On the stat sheet that is.

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