Forward 'feeling better,' expects to play

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom returned to the ice after missing Tuesday's workout because of an illness and expects to be in their opening game of the playoffs Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

"I'm feeling better. Feel better than yesterday and I was able to practice. Felt OK," Backstrom told reporters after Wednesday's workout. "[Tuesday], I was sick, I was laying down in bed all day. I'm getting ready for [Wednesday]. I don't want to go into details, but I was sick. I'll be fine and I'm excited for it."

After Backstrom missed Tuesday's practice, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said the star was "questionable but probable" for Game 1. When asked if Backstrom was suffering from food poisoning, Boudreau said he didn't know.

Boudreau said Wednesday that Backstrom isn't quite feeling 100 percent, but he also expected him to be in Thursday's lineup.

"If he's fine, he's going to play," Boudreau said. "If he's sick, he's not going to play. As of today, I've got to believe he's going to play."

Backstrom had 33 goals and 68 assists in 82 games this season for the Capitals.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.