Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin sat out Thursday night’s 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders because of an upper-body injury, coach Peter Laviolette said.
Laviolette told reporters that Ovechkin, 36, moved well during Thursday’s practice but remains day to day. The coach wouldn’t say if Ovechkin would be able to return for Friday’s regular-season finale against the New York Rangers.
Thursday’s game marked only the 26th game that Ovechkin has missed to injury over his 17-year NHL career. He has never missed a playoff game, and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are scheduled to start next week.
The Capitals are involved in a heated race with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the No. 3 spot in the Metro Division. The Penguins hold a one-point and one-regulation win edge, but the Capitals have a game in hand. The winner between these two gets the Rangers in the playoffs, while the loser will face the Florida Panthers.
He suffered the injury Sunday after tripping over the stick of Toronto goaltender Erik Kallgren and slamming into the boards with his left shoulder.
The winger has missed only 44 games for any reason since making debut in 2005.
Ovechkin earlier this season passed Jaromir Jagr for third on the career goals list and now trails only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. He has 50 this season, the ninth time he has done that, tying Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the NHL record.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.