The Capitals will be without Nicklas Backstrom for Friday’s Game 2 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) of their First Round series with the Islanders. Backstrom took a hit from Anders Lee early on during Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat and did not return after the first period.
Head coach Todd Reirden said Thursday Backstrom is “in [concussion] protocol.”
Backstrom had just put the puck deep into the Islanders’ zone when Lee lined him up. Along with a fighting major for scrapping with John Carlson, Lee was whistled for interference.
“I tried to throw the brakes on a little bit there, but I caught him,” said Lee, who later also fought Tom Wilson. “The end result after that was a penalty, a couple of fights. It was settled and then the game continued on.”
The NHL Department of Player Safety did not feel the hit warranted supplemental discipline.
The Capitals weren’t pleased afterward. Reirden call the hit “late” and “predatory.” T.J. Oshie and Carlson described it as “dirty.”
“It looked real dirty to me,” Carlson said. “I think when a guy is kind of coming up and kind of looking back at the pass, I’ve heard it a lot over the years that they’re trying to take that out of the game. More than anything, as a player that’s been around, you kind of sense the impact. Nicky doesn’t get hit very often, so that should tell you all you need to know. He’s probably one of the most aware players in the league. That was my reaction to what happened.”
Game 1 was a feisty affair, and even with Carlson and Wilson scrapping with Lee, Backstrom’s absence will only up the temperature Friday.
“It’s definitely fuel for the fire, in a way,” Wilson said Friday. “Obviously we didn’t like the hit … we are going to do our best to play for him.”
No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Islanders (NYI lead 1-0)
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Islanders 4, Capitals 2 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: NY Islanders at Washington, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: Washington at NY Islanders, 12 p.m. ET – USA Network
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Washington at NY Islanders, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Thursday, Aug. 20: NY Islanders at Washington – TBD
*Saturday, Aug. 22: Washington at NY Islanders – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: NY Islanders at Washington – TBD