The Capitals have activated forwards Nicklas Backtrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie off the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Wednesday’s game against Nashville, the team announced. Forward Tom Wilson was also activated off injured reserve.
It’s a bit of very welcome news for Washington, as the team placed forward Daniel Sprong, defenseman Martin Fehervary and goalie Vitek Vanecek on the COVID list within the last few days. The Capitals have had their past three scheduled games postponed. They host the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.
Washington has awaited the services of Backstrom all season. The veteran center missed the Capitals’ first two months of action with a hip issue before returning for one game — a 5-4 overtime loss to Chicago — on Dec. 15. Backstrom was placed on the COVID list after the game, where has remained since today. Wednesday night will be Backstrom’s second appearance of the season.
Kuznetsov was having one of the best seasons on the team before entering the COVID-19 protocol before the Chicago loss. Before landing on the list, Kuznetsov put up 30 points in 28 games to fuel Washington’s top line alongside star winger Alex Ovechkin.
Oshie missed time earlier this season with a lower-body injury before landing on the COVID list on Dec. 19. The forward has appeared in 14 games this year, putting up four goals and seven assists.
Adding to the reinforcements coming off the COVID list, Tom Wilson will return for the Capitals after the hard-hitting forward sustained an upper-body injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 10.
All told, Washington’s forward lines will be as close to full-strength as they’ve been all season thanks to the additions made Wednesday. Specifically, the power play unit will rejoice in the return of Backstrom and Kuznetsov, who usually pair with Ovechkin on the man-advantage.
So far this season, the Caps’ power play unit has woefully underperformed, perhaps in large part due to personnel issues.