The Norris Trophy winner last season as the NHL's top defenseman, Karlsson sustained a serious injury to his Achilles tendon Feb. 13 when Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke stepped on the back of his leg. Karlsson was expected to miss the rest of the season following surgery, but recently returned to practice and was back with regular defense partner Marc Methot for Wednesday's skate.
"I think he's closer," MacLean said when asked if Karlsson would play Thursday night against the Capitals. "But I don't know if -- there's always a chance, yes. But at this point he practiced in a regular turn today so that's another step in the process and we'll see where it goes tomorrow."