NHL Buzz: Carlson game-time decision for Capitals

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 

Washington Capitals

John Carlson will be a game-time decision against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, NBCSWA, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV) because of a lower-body injury.

Carlson did not participate in the morning skate. The defenseman hobbled off the ice and went to the locker room briefly after blocking a shot from New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene in the first period of a 1-0 victory Tuesday. He returned to finish the game and played a Capitals-high 22:50.

Carlson, who has not missed a game this season, is third among NHL defensemen with 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) in 49 games.

Alex Ovechkin will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury. The forward did not participate in the morning skate and has not skated with the Capitals since he was injured late in a 1-0 shootout win against the Islanders on April 22.

“That’s probably a sign he’s not ready for the ice at this point,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “But there’s progress going on and he continues to get better.”

This will be the first time since March 22-26, 2011 that Ovechkin will miss three straight games because of an injury. He leads Washington with 24 goals in 43 games this season and has scored 730 goals in 16 NHL seasons, one from tying Marcel Dionne for fifth in NHL history.

Defenseman Justin Schultz has been cleared to return after missing three games with a lower-body injury. 

Washington (32-13-4) is first in the MassMutual East Division, one point ahead of Pittsburgh. The top four teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. –Tom Gulitti

 

Chicago Blackhawks

Adam Boqvist is out for the season with a broken right wrist.

The defenseman was injured when he was hit by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak 5:03 into the second period of a 7-4 loss Tuesday. He scored 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 35 games this season.

“I don’t think he’s going to need surgery,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said Wednesday. “Obviously that’s a positive. At this point it’s going to put a bit of a crimp in his workout plans, but he’ll do everything he can to improve his conditioning so he can play at his highest level for longer. He’s improved a lot this year. I think it’s just the overall fitness that he can bring. That’s going to help him a lot.”

Boqvist missed 11 games from Jan. 26-Feb. 15 because of NHL COVID-19 protocol and three games from April 15-19 while in concussion protocol.

“I do think that he’s improved,” Colliton said after the game Tuesday. “Certainly it’s been unfortunate that his momentum has been stopped a few times by having him miss time when he’s been rolling and playing well. But that’s part of his development as well into a pro, finding a way to be a bit more durable and play more games. But he’s improved away from the puck, his confidence on the puck, and I like the direction he’s headed. Just unfortunate he’s going to miss some games here.”

The Blackhawks (22-22-5) are sixth in the eight-team Discover Central Division, seven points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators for the final Stanley Cup Playoff berth. The Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Lightning have qualified from the division.

Chicago hosts the Florida Panthers on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV). — Tracey Myers

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