Backstrom 'questionable but probable'

Updated: April 14, 2010, 6:54 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

Nicklas Backstrom is "questionable but probable" for Game 1 of the Washington Capitals' first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens, coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters after Tuesday's practice.

Boudreau said Backstrom, who did not take part in the morning skate, was injured during Sunday's regular-season finale against the Boston Bruins, but would not specifically say what was ailing the star forward.

"He's not feeling well and is questionable for Thursday," Boudreau said.

When asked if Backstrom was suffering from food poisoning, Boudreau said he didn't know.

"He's questionable. He's sick," the coach said.

Backstrom, who had 33 goals and 68 assists in 82 games this season for the Capitals, was not available for comment. He played 22 minutes, 38 seconds against Boston.

Boudreau later told reporters that goalie Jose Theodore will be the starter for the playoffs. Since Jan. 13, Theodore has gone 20-0-3 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Overall, he is 30-7-7.

Unlike last year, Boudreau said, Theodore will not be on a short leash. Theodore was benched after one game of last year's playoffs and replaced by Semyon Varlamov.

"He knows he's playing. He knows he's going to be in the net," Boudreau said. "It's all out there so there's no need to ask the question any more."

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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