Caps' Backstrom a game-time decision to return from injury

Washington Capitals' T.J. Oshie (77) celebrates his goal with Nicklas Backstrom (19) during the second period in Game 4 of an NHL second-round hockey

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom could return to the Capitals' lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against the Lightning.

Backstrom has missed Washington's past four games with a right hand injury. Coach Barry Trotz called him a game-time decision and said early Thursday that Backstrom had not yet been medically cleared.

The 30-year-old Swedish center took part in the Capitals' morning skate in Arlington, Virginia, mixed in on line rushes and participated in power-play drills.

Backstrom was injured May 5 when a slap shot from Pittsburgh's Justin Schultz struck him in the right hand. If Backstrom plays, it's possible he doesn't take faceoffs.

Before being injured, Backstrom was one of Washington's top players in the postseason with 13 points in 11 games.

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Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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