Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will not play in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series against the New York Islanders on Friday in Toronto.
Capitals coach Todd Reirden said Backstrom resides in the league’s concussion protocol. Backstrom, 32, was injured following a hit from Islanders captain Anders Lee early in the first period of New York’s 4-2 victory in the series opener.
Reirden characterized the hit as “predatory” by Lee, who received an interference penalty on the play.
“Obviously, Nick is a tremendous leader for us,” Reirden said. “His body of work as a player speaks for itself. But that’s next man up. Who’s going to take advantage of that opportunity? That’s playoff hockey. Winning hockey during the regular season is having guys that are in a depth position take advantage of it.”
Third-line center Lars Eller will move up to replace Backstrom, who collected 54 points (12 goals, 42 assists) in 61 games during the regular season. Backstrom had one assist in Washington’s three games during the round-robin tournament.
Eller sat out the series opener after returning to Washington following the birth of his son on Aug. 4.
–Field Level Media