The Washington Capitals are already facing an uphill battle in the first round series against the New York Islanders, but now they will have to attempt to begin that climb without one of their most important assets.
According to a breaking news report from Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman the Capitals will be without forward Nicklas Backstrom in Game 3, citing the fact that Backstrom was not out for warm ups with the rest of the Capitals. The news will come as a huge disappointment for the Capitals given that Backstrom appeared to be on track for a return on Saturday when he participated in practice with his teammates, unfortunately it seems he is still feeling the ill effects of a hit from Islanders forward Anders Lee that occurred in Game 1.
Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden took exception to the hit but the league has chosen not to act on it.
Losing Backstrom is obviously huge for the Capitals and with them already trying to climb out of a whole the impact of that loss is only magnified. Thus far former Capitals head coach Barry Trotz has had the better of his former squad but the Capitals will look to right the ship on Sunday without Backstrom in the lineup.