Alex Ovechkin misses morning skate, game-time decision vs. Islanders

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Ovechkin misses morning skate, game-time decision vs. Islanders originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Alex Ovechkin’s status remains unknown for the Capitals' home finale on Tuesday against the New York Islanders as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury that took him out of Sunday’s game against Toronto.

Washington listed its captain as day-to-day prior to practice and he was not on the ice at the team’s Tuesday morning skate. He is officially a game-time decision for the game against the Islanders, but either way will be honored with a pregame ceremony for his many milestones during the 2021-22 season.

Ovechkin was injured Sunday on a breakaway when he fumbled the puck on a breakaway on goal and got tripped by the Toronto netminder. He crashed hard into the boards and immediately reached for his left side in pain. After a few moments on the ice, he skated on his own power back to the bench, exercising his left arm and shoulder.

"Alex is day to day, and I think we're going to evaluate it and do the best thing for Alex," Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. "It'll be a game-time decision, but there will be nothing that we jump into if we don't need to, or if it's not right."

In his career, Ovechkin has been remarkably healthy and has missed just 44 games — only 24 due to injury — and has never missed a Stanley Cup playoff game. With just three regular games and less than a week left until the start of the postseason, there is obvious concern about Ovechkin's status entering the playoffs.

This season, Ovechkin has scored 18.45% of Washington's goals. That would be difficult to replace no matter who they face in the postseason. As the Eastern Conference's second wild card, that team is for now the likely Presidents' Trophy-winning Florida Panthers.

"It's different, obviously," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "He's always around and he's always playing. It's different. We'll see what happens tonight if he's in or out. He's a big part of our team, so I think it's a tough loss if he's not playing. At the same time, it gives opportunities to others to step up."

When asked if Ovechkin would be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs next week, Laviolette did not commit to that one way or the other.

"I want to say I hope so, but again, I don't know," Laviolette said. "It depends on how things progress with him, so it's day-to-day right now."

Absent Ovechkin, the Capitals’ forward lines were a bit juggled. Connor McMichael, who has not played since April 10, filled in at top line left wing at practice on Tuesday. Laviolette said the move was made in part to keep the rest of the lineup the same as what's worked for the Capitals in recent weeks.

Here’s what the forward lines looked like:

McMichael — Kuznetsov — Wilson

Johansson — Backstrom — Sheary

Mantha — Eller — Oshie

Larsson — Dowd — Hathaway