Highlights: Capitals 5, Panthers 4
Just when the Capitals thought they had a healthy roster ready for the playoff stretch comes the news that second-line center Mikhail Grabovski could go back on the injured list with a left ankle injury.
Playing in his first game since suffering what was believed to be a high ankle sprain on Jan. 24 in New Jersey, Grabovski pulled himself from Thursday night’s 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers with pain in that same ankle.
Grabovski appeared to re-injure the ankle when Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad fell on it during Grabovski’s first shift of he game. He took two more shifts but pulled himself from the game and did not play the second or third periods.
This could be a major setback for the Caps, who climbed within one point of the Philadelphia Flyers for the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.
In 50 games for the Caps this season, Grabovski has 12 goals and 21 assists and is a team-best plus-4. His absence poses an interesting dilemma for the Capitals.
RELATED: [Should the Capitals trade for Ryan Miller?]
Without Grabovski, Adam Oates moved Marcus Johansson to second-line center for Friday’s practice at Saveology Iceplex in Coral Springs, Fla. Johansson was between wingers Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer.
Brooks Laich remained on a top line with center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Alex Ovechkin after the trio combined for three goals and nine points in Thursday nights win.
Rookie call-up Nicolas Deschamps practiced on a third line with center Eric Fehr and right wing Joel Ward, while Jay Beagle skated on a fourth line with Aaron Ward and Tom Wilson.
Veteran left wing Marty Erat was given a maintenance day and did not skate with the team.
With the Caps heading to Boston later today to face the Bruins on Saturday afternoon [1 p.m., CSN], the Caps might be forced to recall center Casey Wellman or Michael Latta from the Bears and have one of them join them in Boston.