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Mike Knuble is back in action for the Washington Capitals

May 1, 2011, 7:36 PM EDT

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Tomas Vokoun, Mike Knuble AP

While the Tampa Bay Lightning’s lineup is lighter with Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina on the shelf, the Washington Capitals received a pleasant surprise tonight. After missing three games (Games 4 and 5 against the New York Rangers plus Game 1 against the Lightning), Mike Knuble is back in the Caps lineup tonight. He was dealing with what many thought was a hand injury.

He’s playing on his familiar place alongside Alex Ovechkin‘s top line so far. Neither team scored a goal yet (at the time of this story’s completion), but Knuble already made an impact on the game. The two-way forward took exception to a Mattias Ohlund hit on Ovechkin, landing an off-the-puck check that earned him an interference penalty.

Knuble’s greatest offensive asset is his ability to score goals in front of goalies, which upgrades his already-considerable value during the playoffs. The Capitals cannot afford to go down 2-0 on their own ice tonight, so getting a player like Knuble back in the fold would be very helpful in tying the series.

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