The already short-handed Caps may have more injury worries


When Justin Schultz scored in the final minute of Tuesday's game to give the Capitals an improbable 3-2 win over the New York Islanders, Lars Eller and Nicklas Backstrom were not on the bench. Both players left for the locker room and were not able to finish the game thus giving an already short-handed Capitals team perhaps even more injury troubles.

Washington coach Peter Laviolette did not have an update on either player saying, "I haven't talked to the trainers yet. They're taking care of business right now."

The team has an off day on Wednesday so the next update most likely will not come until Thursday.

Eller left the game after taking a brutal hit from behind into the boards from Islanders forward Leo Komarov. Komarov was assessed a five-minute major for boarding on the play. Eller required attention from trainer Jason Serbus and had to be helped off the ice, though he was able to walk down the tunnel on his own.

Backstrom took a puck off to the left side of the head in the second period. He left in the second period, returned, and then left again late in the third.

Years of injury luck seems to be catching up with Washington quite suddenly and the status of both Eller and Backstrom will be critical for Washington as the roster is growing extremely thin.

Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov remain on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol related absence list for at least one more game. Tom Wilson left last Friday's game vs. Buffalo due to a lower-body injury. He did not play Sunday in the rematch with the Sabres and was considered a game-time decision for Tuesday, but ultimately missed a second straight game.


Losing Backstrom and Eller would leave Washington without its top three centers, including Kuznetsov, and Nic Dowd as the team's only center from the opening night lineup still able to play.