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Capitals GM Brian MacLellan: Matt Niskanen's injury is not serious

Capitals GM Brian MacLellan: Matt Niskanen's injury is not serious

Matt Niskanen is day-to-day with the lower body injury he suffered during Wednesday’s 4-1 win in Philadelphia, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said.

“It’s day-to-day; it’s not a serious injury,” MacLellan said. “He’ll be fine.”

Niskanen did not practice on Thursday and MacLellan said there's no timeline for the defenseman’s return.

“We’ll be cautious with it,” MacLellan said.

Niskanen was injured in the second period at Wells Fargo Center when he collided, leg-on-leg, with rugged Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas. The injury appeared to be to Niskanen’s left leg.

The Capitals play Edmonton and Nashville on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Assuming Brooks Orpik is okay—he took a maintenance day to rest a nagging lower body ailment—the Caps will not need to make a move since they’ve got six healthy defensemen on the roster.

Niskanen leads the Capitals defensemen with 32 points (4 goals, 28 assists). The 30-year-old also plays a major role on the power play and penalty kill.

That said, the NHL’s top team will be in no rush to get him back in the lineup.

“We’ll make sure he’s 100-percent before he comes back,” MacLellan said.

MORE CAPITALS: Prospect report: Samsonov leads team to the KHL playoffs

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T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

300 games. 108 goals. 108 assists.

Just so you're tracking, those are T.J. Oshie's stats through 300 games as a member of the Washington Capitals.

In an outstanding 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers, Oshie scored two power play goals. It was the second time in his career that Oshie recorded two such goals.

Another shot on goal — he had four in the game — would have put him at a nice-and-even 620 during his tenure with the Capitals, but hey, we can't all be perfect.

The statistical-evenness is certainly satisfying, but even if you're not a fan of quirky stats, the man has logged 216 points in 300 games. That's pretty darn good.

T.J. Oshie will seek to continue putting up great numbers as the Capitals embark on a two-week road trip. Their first stop will be Sunday in Chicago for a showdown against the Blackhawks.


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A return six months in the making for defenseman Michal Kempny

A return six months in the making for defenseman Michal Kempny

It took six months of toil and effort for Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny to make it back to an NHL game. 

He last played March 20 when a torn hamstring in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning ended his season just a few weeks before the Stanley Cup playoffs began. That was brutal. 

A spring to heal after surgery, a summer to rehab the injury and weeks getting back in hockey shape were the steep price paid. And then it took him all of 15 minutes to score his first goal on Friday in a game against the New York Rangers. Welcome back, Michal. 

“I felt pretty good, actually. My legs felt good,” Kempny said. “Obviously not an easy situation for me. But I got to say just thank you to all of the staff, whole organization, my teammates, my family, my friends who were supporting me all the way through here and help me. It means a lot to me.”

It was an organizational project. Kempny meant so much to Washington during its Stanley Cup run of 2018. The Capitals felt his absence on the top pair with John Carlson during the first-round series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Washington coach Todd Reirden credited team trainers Jason Servis and Mike Booi and strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish with putting Kempny in position to return early in the season.  

“Six months of investment of their time to get him back,” Reirden said. “I thought Michal looked really good.”

The goal came at 15:16 of the first period and gave Washington a 2-1 lead. Kempny jumped onto a loose pucked batted around by teammate Alex Ovechkin, quickly corralled it and beat Henrik Lundqvist for the goal. It was a pretty play and another indication that Capitals' defensemen are taking chances when they see them on the offensive end. 

In his first game back, Kempny had 14:24 of ice time. That’s about the goal the Capitals had in mind for him. He started on the third pair with fellow Czech Radko Gudas, but also played 3:42 with Carlson, who mobbed Kempny after his goal and gave him a celebratory facewash with his glove. They’re happy to have him back. 

“I just grab the puck and there was open net, so a little lucky for me,” Kempny said. “I was just excited.”