Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom skates, status unclear for Game 1


Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom skated Thursday for the first time since injuring his right hand during Game 5 of a second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Backstrom, who also worked on stick-handling drills during an optional practice, remains day to day, coach Barry Trotz said. It is not clear whether Backstrom will play Friday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“We are just trying to make sure,” Trotz said. “He’s still getting some maintenance work and we’re trying to keep him conditioned. We’re doing that off-ice stuff and on the ice as well. I don’t know if it makes it one way or the other that he’s [in the lineup]. He’s just got to do that. You can’t just ride the bike and not skate.”

Backstrom had 21 goals and 50 assists during the regular season, and three goals and 10 assists through 11 playoff games.

Forward Andre Burakovsky, who has been out since April 15 with an upper-body injury, practiced without a noncontact jersey Thursday. He is also day to day, Trotz said.

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