Capitals Lines See Major Shakeup; When Will Mantha Draw Back In?
The Washington Capitals switched up their lines and made some notable moves, while Anthony Mantha is still working his way back.
ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals got back to work on Tuesday, getting into a full practice before heading up to Philly to take on the Flyers. And with that work on the ice came a change to the lines.
Washington tweaked its lineup, moving pieces around following a 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, where the team saw a lack of chemistry and offense while managing just 19 shots on goal, the lowest output this season and the only time this year that the team has gotten under 20 shots in a game.
Evgeny Kuznetsov moved back up to the top line, working with Alex Ovechkin and Sonny Milano. Anthony Mantha remained an extra, but was taking reps on that top line, too, and interchanging with Milano. Nicolas Aube-Kubel was the other extra forward.
Nicklas Backstrom shifted to the second line to operate with T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller on the wing. Dylan Strome got back in the center position on the third line and will operate with Tom Wilson and Conor Sheary. The fourth line of Marcus Johansson, Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway stayed together.l
Head coach Peter Laviolette said that the lines were to get a new look at things by putting familiar pairs together (Kuznetsov back with Ovechkin, Backstrom reunited with Oshie, etc.), and also wanted to see a spark after the offense was "not as pressing" against the Jackets.
On defence, the pairings stayed the same, with Matt Irwin as the extra.
Here are the full combinations:
Mantha and Irwin extras.
— Sammi Silber (@sammisilber) January 10, 2023
If these lines stick for tomorrow, the Capitals will see Mantha be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. The 28-year-old spoke on sitting out last game, saying that he is determined to work and play his way back into the m
like today and practice tomorrow and I’ll be ready if there’s an injury or if I’m called upon. That’s all can do… [Confidence is] not as easy to switch on and off, you know? You need to work back, and it's going to take a lot of games to get confidence back, for sure."