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Capitals' T.J. Oshie is 'ready to go' despite latest injury scare

Capitals' T.J. Oshie is 'ready to go' despite latest injury scare

T.J. Oshie will return to the Capitals’ lineup Wednesday night against the Penguins after sitting out Monday’s game because of an upper-body injury.

“I feel good,” the Caps’ third-leading goal scorer said. “I skated in Montreal [during the morning skate] and I felt like I could play. [But] they wanted me to sit out. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have missed anything except for that third period. I feel great. I’m ready to go.”

He added: “They wanted me to sit out and rest a little bit. But just being cautious; it’s a long year and we want to go deep here.”

RELATED: REPORT: CAPITALS COULD HOST OUTDOOR GAME AT NAVAL ACADEMY

Oshie, who has 13 goals and 20 points, said his latest injury was “not really” connected to the shoulder ailment that sidelined him for seven games earlier this season.

He also said acknowledged that he got dinged twice against the Senators—the first time on a hard, open ice Dion Phaneuf hit and the second time on a hit moments later. The Phaneuf cross check on his final shift of the night, Oshie said, was not connected to forcing him from the game.  

“The second [incident] was actually someone else got me on the way into the zone,” Oshie said. “I just kinda tweaked something. It was gone 10 minutes later but I looked at the clock and there was only a minute or so left, so I figured I'd go into the training room for the first one. Neither was a bad play.”

Asked if he felt he was targeted by Phaneuf, Oshie said he did not.

“He’s a left defenseman [and] I’m a right wing, so we were matched up,” Oshie said. “I don’t think there’s any beef. He hit me after the whistle on an offsides a while back that people keep bringing up. But it’s over and done with. So we’re all good.”

Oshie did not return for the third period of Saturday’s game and did not practice on Sunday. Coach Barry Trotz also said the decision to hold him out against the Canadiens was out of an abundance of caution.

“It was more precautionary,” Trotz said. “He was very close to [playing]. That was more of a coaches’ and trainers’ call. He wanted to play the other day. He wasn’t far off.”

Oshie is expected to skate on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, who is one point from 1,000 for his career.

MORE CAPITALS: 3 bold predictions: A big night for Ovechkin

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Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Regardless of what you thought of the officiating on Monday, the Caps’ nine-game win streak is over and now the team needs to move on. But for a team coming off a lengthy win streak, however, that can be easier said than done.

Teams that put together long streaks as the Caps have tend to struggle after the streak is finally broken. Take for example the Columbus Blue Jackets who came just one win shy of tying the NHL record for the longest streak with 16-straight wins. Since then, however, the Blue Jackets have lost four of their last six.

The fall has been even harder for Philadelphia who have managed a record of only 3-8-3 since winning 10 straight over the course of November and December.

That is a trend Washington will now look to avoid, though Barry Trotz doesn’t sound too concerned.

“There’s bounce back in our game,” Trotz said on Monday after the loss. “I have a lot of trust in this group. We’re a veteran group.”

That was evident on Monday. Washington had to battle back from a two-goal deficit twice just to force overtime and salvage a point against Pittsburgh and that was seeing a 3-0 lead evaporate in the wake of five-straight Penguins goals.

Now Trotz hopes the same resiliency and leadership he saw late against Pittsburgh will help the team avoid a letdown.

“I have a lot of faith in the group that they are good enough to respond after a little bit of adversity,” he said. “We’ve got lots of good leaders on the team.”

MORE CAPITALS: JUSTIN WILLIAMS CALLS THE CAPS' LOSS 'A REALITY CHECK'

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Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

The Capitals have re-assigned forward Chandler Stephenson to AHL Hershey after a brief call-up to the NHL, the team announced Tuesday.

Stephenson, 22, was recalled on Saturday as a precaution and was a healthy scratch for the team's games on Sunday and Monday.

Washington has been playing with the minimum of 12 forwards at home. With the Caps facing a quick turnaround with a game in Washington on Sunday and in Pittsburgh on Monday, the team needed a spare forward in case of an emergency to ensure the team had someone to plug into the lineup if there was an injury.

The Caps returned home after Monday's game in Pittsburgh and have Tuesday off making carrying Stephenson unnecessary. He may be back very soon, however, as the team will almost certainly call up another player prior to leaving for Thursday's game in St. Louis.

In Hershey, Stephenson has scored 23 points this season in 36 games. He played in nine games with the Caps in 2015-16.

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