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Nicklas Backstrom returns to Caps lineup tonight

Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 20: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals celebrates after scoring a game against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Verizon Center on December 20, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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All the waiting and patience for Caps center Nicklas Backstrom is about to pay off tonight.

According to Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times, Backstrom went through line rushes at today’s morning skate paired up with Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson. Backstrom’s return comes with a side dish of drama as well.

The Capitals face off against the Montreal Canadiens tonight, a team that now employs the guy responsible for knocking Backstrom out of action in Rene Bourque. Bourque, then a member of the Calgary Flames, threw a cheap shot elbow to the head of Backstrom that put him out of action for 40 games.

With Backstrom coming back while the Caps’ playoff destiny is in their hands now, thanks to Buffalo losing to Pittsburgh last night, it’s a huge moment for the Caps as they look to lock down a postseason spot.