(Though, as astutely pointed out in the comments section, Caps blueliner Jack Hillen did play 55 games for Nashville last year.)
Erat is still feeling the effects of an Erik Gudbranson hit on Saturday — though the club says it’s not a concussion — and Ward is out after blocking a Sami Salo shot in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Tampa Bay.
Ward and Erat were teammates in Nashville for four years before Ward signed with Washington as a free agent in 2011.
After a disappointing first season with the Caps, Ward’s rebounded nicely to post 8G-12A-20PTS in 39 games this year, sitting fifth on the team in scoring.
Erat, acquired at the NHL trade deadline in exchange for prospect Filip Forsberg, has only appeared in two games for the Caps, and one of those was cut short due to the aforementioned Gudbranson hit.
In other Caps-related news, the club will give Michal Neuvirth his second straight start on Tuesday. He stopped 28 of 30 shots in Sunday’s win over the Bolts and will start consecutive games for the first time since mid-March.
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day