Reports: Caps rule out Ovi vs. Isles, status vs. Rangers TBD

Alex Ovechkin

Head coach Peter Laviolette ruled out Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals’ game against the New York Islanders on Thursday but left open the possibility that he could play in Friday’s regular season finale against the New York Rangers, according to multiple reports including The Washington Post.

Ovechkin, 36, missed Washington’s first of two games against the Islanders on Tuesday after suffering an upper-body injury on a collision with the boards in the third period of Sunday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Capitals lost 4-1 in a critical game that could’ve allowed them to pass the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third seed in the Metropolitan Division had they emerged victorious.

However, the Capitals will be forced to face the Islanders once again without their veteran captain, who leads the team with 50 goals this season. Laviolette previously expressed pessimism that Ovechkin would be able to play in any of their games this week, so a return to the ice even in practice is an encouraging sign at the very least for his chances of being ready for Game 1 of the playoffs.

The Capitals enter play Thursday trailing Pittsburgh by one point in the standings. The Penguins have the day off before wrapping up their season against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, giving Washington another opportunity to jump past them with a win.