From The Ice

Nicklas Backstrom out still for Capitals

Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire

The Washington Capitals certainly don’t want to finish out their 2015-16 season without top line centre Nicklas Backstrom, but that’s exactly what they’ve been having to do for the last two games – and with his absence from the lineup for a third straight game on Tuesday night, the team continues to be left short-staffed on offense as they gear up for the 2016 post-season.

The Capitals confirmed just ahead of their game against the New York Islanders that they’d be without Backstrom once again, reporting that he’d stayed on the ice ahead of the game for extra practice but wouldn’t be ready to play just yet with a lingering upper-body injury.

Drafted fourth overall by the Washington Capitals in 2006, Backstrom has been one of Washington’s best players for the last handful of seasons, and this year has been no different. He’s heading into the final week of the 2015-16 campaign with 20 goals and 67 points, which is good for second on the Capitals in points behind only fellow centre Evgeny Kuznetsov. He’s a huge loss to the team as they finish out the year, although a historically strong season for Washington has guaranteed them both the President’s Trophy for the regular season and home ice advantage.

The Capitals have not confirmed yet whether or not Backstrom will return to the lineup in their next game, which will take place against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. The Metropolitan Division club is coming off a 3-0 shutout loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

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