Capitals C Backstrom returns from concussion

By the Associated Press | March 31, 2012 | 10:37 PM EDT

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom looks on during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom is back for the Washington Capitals.

The top-line center returned to the lineup Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens, his first game since suffering a concussion nearly three months ago.

Backstrom was injured when he was elbowed in the head by Rene Bourque in a win over Calgary on Jan. 4.

Even though he missed 40 games, Backstrom came back in fifth place on the team with 42 points.

Without him, the four-time defending Southeast Division champions have flirted with missing the playoffs. They were tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference entering Saturday's play.

Coach Dale Hunter said he would keep an eye on Backstrom's minutes, but there was no set limit as to how much the 24-year-old forward would play.