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Mantha Moved To Capitals Fourth Line, Laviolette Shares Thoughts

Anthony Mantha was moved to the fourth line on Thursday as the Washington Capitals prep for the Columbus Blue Jcakets. Here’s what head coach Peter Laviolette had to say.



With difficult roster decisions looming, Nic Dowd not making the trip to Columbus and the team looking to move on from sloppy mistakes in a 5-4 OT loss on Tuesday, the Washington Capitals made some changes to their line combinations, where Anthony Mantha found himself demoted.

Mantha was moved down to the fourth line to operate with Aliaksei Protas, who is playing center with Dowd out, and Garnet Hathaway. He had started Tuesday's game against Buffalo on the second line and had been playing top-6 minutes of late, working with the likes of Evgeny Kuznetsov, but head coach Peter Laviolette blew those lines up following a slow start against the red-hot Sabres. Mantha then went to work with Hathaway and Lars Eller.

Laviolette explained the move, saying that he wants to see No. 39 to be on his game and that when Mantha is on his game, he's a dynamic player and key asset for the Capitals.

"There's times Anthony's real noticeable on the ice," Laviolete said. "He can win battles."

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The Washington bench boss also said that Mantha did a good job of working with Milano last game and praised Mantha's play that got Milano the breakaway goal that opened the scoring against Buffalo. He echoed that he wants to see that type of effort from Mantha on a consistent basis.

"When he’s on his game, he’s moving his feet and he’s competing and winning battles," Laviolette said.

Through 40 games this season, Mantha has nine goals and 13 assists, including points in three of his last four outings overall. The 6-5 forward has not been immune to inconsistency, as he'll go on cold and hot streaks over different stretches. He came over in 2021 as part of the trade deadline blockbuster that sent Jakub Vrana to the Detroit Red Wings, expected to bring size and scoring and be a strong top-6 presence. He has 22 goals and 31 assists for 53 points in 91 games since joining D.C.

General manager Brian MacLellan had also said in early December that he wants to see more from the 28-year-old.

"He should be a big part of our offense," general manager Brian MacLellan said, adding, "He's a big, strong forward. You can see it. When his game's on, he dominates the game with size and skill," MacLellan explained. "There are periods where it hasn't been there… our team is different when he's on."

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