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Alex Ovechkin practiced Monday, but it is unclear if the forward will play in the Capitals regular-season finale against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, NESNplus, NHL.TV).
Ovechkin has missed seven of the past eight games with a lower-body injury. Coach Peter Laviolette said Ovechkin remains day-to-day along with defenseman John Carlson and forwards Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Carlson and Backstrom each practiced Monday after not playing in a 2-1 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday because of lower-body injuries.
Oshie did not practice after sustaining a lower-body injury late in the second period Saturday.
“Tomorrow (morning) I think it will probably be more clear as to the direction of our lineup tomorrow night,” Laviolette said.
Ovechkin missed four games before returning to play one shift in a 6-3 win against the New York Rangers on May 3 and has missed three more game since then. The Capitals captain had no restrictions in practice Monday and Laviolette said he wouldn’t hold him, or any player, out of the game Tuesday if cleared to play.
Laviolette said he remains optimistic Ovechkin and the other injured players will be ready for their opening game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Capitals have clinched the second seed in the MassMutual East Division and will face either the Bruins or the New York Islanders in the first round.
The playoff schedule has yet to be announced.
“I’m hopeful we’ll have the players back, but I can’t comment with certainty because there’s things that are out of my control,” Laviolette said.
Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goalie Ilya Samsonov remain in NHL COVID-19 protocol and did not practice Monday.
Their status for the start of the playoffs remains unclear. — Tom Gulitti
Ondrej Kase will play against the New York Islanders on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NESNPlus, MSG+, SNE, SNO, NHL.TV) after missing 52 games with an upper-body injury.
Kase took part in line rushes on the fourth line with Jake DeBrusk and Curtis Lazar. The forward has not played since being injured against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 16. He has no points in two games.
“I’m ready,” Kase said. “I’m already 100 percent. I skated almost one and a half months, maybe two months. So I think my conditioning, everything will be like pretty good. So I hope I can help the team and I can’t wait.”
The Bruins (32-15-7) have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are third in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, one point ahead of the fourth-place Islanders. The Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have secured the other berths from the division.