The return for Nicklas Backstrom lasted exactly one day. The Washington Capitals center is unavailable for tonight’s game after being placed in the COVID protocol, just a few days after making his season debut. Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic tweets that Backstrom did not travel to Winnipeg; the Capitals made arrangements for him to return from Chicago to Washington.
That’s three centers the team will be missing tonight, as Backstrom joins Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway, and Trevor van Riemsdyk in the protocol. Dowd and van Riemsdyk were actually cleared and made their return to the lineup in Chicago, but have not cleared the 14-day period that is required to enter Canada. So back on the non-roster list they went, where they’re joined by several key forwards for the Capitals.
Backstrom played just over 18 minutes in his debut on Wednesday, recording a powerplay assist on Alex Ovechkin’s 21st goal of the season. The Capitals would eventually lose in overtime though, with Caleb Jones scoring the winner for Chicago. The 34-year-old forward will have to wait for a minimum of ten days if he has tested positive and is experiencing any symptoms, certainly not what he was hoping for after such a long recovery period.