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Another Shakeup: Capitals Change Lineup To Try & Ignite Spark

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Capitals forward Aliaksei Protas

The Washington Capitals have one more game to close out a three-game road trip that so far hasn’t gone their way, and it won’t be an easy one against the St. Louis Blues, who are heating up big time.

So, taking that, and three losses in their last four games, into account, the Capitals have shaken up the lines to try and ignite some kind of spark. Joe Snively, who got an assist on Tuesday, will draw out, while Dmitry Orlov will miss his sixth straight game. Meanwhile, Nicolas Aube-Kubel is serving the final game of a three-game suspension.

Here are the lines from morning skate, per The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell:

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Aliaksei Protas

Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-Conor Sheary

Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Anthony Mantha

Marcus Johansson-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson-John Carlson

Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen

Matt Irwin-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Charlie Lindgren will start between the pipes, getting a look against his former club.

The third line is the only line that will stay — somewhat — intact, with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha sticking together while another LW in Connor McMichael draws in. Meanwhile, Aliaksei Protas has gone from the fourth line up to the first, as head coach Peter Laviolette looks to spark 5-on-5 scoring and the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. This trio got some time together in 2021-22 and has some chemistry, as the three speak Russian on that unit and can also find some speed and chemistry and benefit from Protas’ size and reach.

Sonny Milano got a look on the top line last game. He’ll now go to work with Dylan Strome and Conor Sheary, who is second on the team in goals and has been a key piece of the puzzle at even strength this season.

READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals Lines, Tale Of The Tape, Names To Watch vs. St. Louis Blues

Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson will move down to work with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. The 31-year-old got off to a great start this season, and he’s been solid as a two-way player. His production’s slowed down a bit, but he’s showing he can still generate pressure and be defensive-minded. He will be a great fit on that fourth line, which can, at the end of the day, make offense happen.

Overall, Washington is hoping this can spark the team’s offense at even strength. While the power-play struggles remain an issue, the Capitals also desperately need even strength scoring. And that’s where the line changes come in.

Puck drop is at 8 p.m. in St. Louis.

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