Washington Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom Set To Return to Caps Lineup

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Washington Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom Set To Return to Caps Lineup
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With the Washington Capitals locked in a tough playoff race, Caps Nation has been gripped by exciting behind-the-scenes news.

Star center Nicklas Bäckström, who has been out of the lineup since suffering a concussion on a hit to the head by Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque on Jan. 3, is nearing a return to the lineup.

Bäckström has, over the past few seasons, established himself as arguably the team's most important offensive catalyst. Since the team drafted him with the fourth-overall pick in 2006, the Swedish forward has appeared in 361 games, scoring 100 goals and 265 assists for 365 points, along with a plus-minus ratio of plus-88.

When Bäckström suffered his injury, the Caps were also locked in a playoff battle, but held a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games and were rapidly improving. Bäckström alone had two goals and eight assists in his last seven games.

Since then, the Caps have gone 19-16-6 and have noticeably gotten worse as a team.

When Bäckström began skating on March 11, there was sudden hope that he might be able to return for the playoffs.

It seems that might well happen, with a timetable being set for either Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens or Monday's against the Tampa Bay Lightning as possible return dates. 

There is no doubt Bäckström's return will give a huge boost to his team. With four games remaining in the season, the Capitals likely need to win all four if they want to guarantee a postseason berth.

While Bäckström won't be able to do it on his own, the Caps' playoff dreams look a whole lot brighter with Bäckström in the lineup than without him.

Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95.  

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