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Capitals’ Chara returns to practice

NEWARK, NJ – FEBRUARY 27: Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) skates during the first period of the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals on February 27, 2021 at the PrudentialCenterin Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara returned to practice Tuesday after he missed his first game of the season, a 6-3 loss at the Boston Bruins on Sunday because of an undisclosed injury.

“That’s a real positive sign,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I just got off the ice, but you saw him in a regular jersey and he looked good through the entire day, so I thought that was a real positive sign.”

The defenseman blocked two shots off his right ankle while on the penalty kill late in the second period of a 6-3 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday but was able to finish the game.

Chara has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) and is plus-8, averaging 18:24 of ice time in 45 games this season.

Washington (29-13-4) is first in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, two points ahead of the second-place New York Islanders. Its next game is at the Islanders on Thursday.

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