Capitals Notebook: Shakeup For Lines & Defense, Dowd Update
The Washington Capitals are making some major shakeups, Nic Dowd is close to returning and more from practice on Monday.
Amid a four-game losing skid, the Washington Capitals are making some big changes.
Head coach Peter Laviolette tweaked the lineup quite a bit, as the forward lines changed with Nic Dowd drawing back into rushes while the team changed their longtime defensive pairings.
Dowd was taking rushes and centering the fourth line, with Nicolas Aube-Kubel an Aliaksei Protas interchanging on that left wing. Meanwhile, Lars Eller was cycling with Sonny Milano on the third line wing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson.
Per head coach Peter Laviolette, Dowd is "getting closer" be reevaluated on Tuesday to see if he will be available for the game against the Detroit Red Wings. He also said that the team hopes that Alex Ovechkin can return this week, though he remains away from the team indefinitely.
On the blue line, Dmitry Orlov and Nick Jensen, who have been together for the majority of the season and last, have been separated, with Orlov moving to the top pairing to operate with Trevor van Riemsdyk and Jensen playing with Martin Fehervary. Meanwhile, Erik Gustafsson is on the third-pairing left side and skating with Dylan McIlrath, who was called back up on Sunday. Alex Alexeyev and Matt Irwin skated as extras on their own pairing.
Here are what the lines looked like, per NHL.com's Tom Gulitti:
Conor Sheary-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie
Sonny Milano/Lars Eller-Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson
Nicolas Aube-Kubel/Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson-Dylan McIlrath
Alex Alexeyev-Matt Irwin
Alex Ovechkin remains away from the team indefinitely following the death of his father and is listed as non-roster. John Carlson skated on his own ahead of practice in full gear but remains on the long-term injured reserve and is still "a ways away" from returning.
Washington is currently at 23 skaters with Dowd still on injured reserve. If he is able to play on Tuesday, he will have to be activated, and a corresponding move will have to be made to remain at the skater limit.