Nicklas Backstrom out vs. Oilers

Updated: March 9, 2011, 1:02 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will miss Wednesday night's home game against the Edmonton Oilers with a nagging thumb injury.

Backstrom, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, has never missed a regular-season or playoff game for the Capitals.

Backstrom has his left hand in a cast but team officials said Wednesday it was to help him "rest" his injury and can be taken off any time he needs.

Backstrom was slashed by Penguins defenseman Kris Letang Feb. 21, and is listed as day to day by the team.

Backstrom, the team's top pivot, is expected to practice Thursday and play either Friday or Sunday.

In other Capitals injury news, rookie goalie Braden Holtby will start against the Oilers ahead of Michal Neuvirth, who was struck in the face in Monday's game against Tampa Bay and a piece of his mask got into his eye.

Neuvirth wasn't seriously injured and is expected to back up Holtby Wednesday.

The Capitals' other goalie, Semyon Varlamov, remains out with a knee injury.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.