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Why Capitals Scratched Aube-Kubel, Put Snively In vs. Canadiens

Peter Laviolette offered some insight into the Washington Capitals’ decision to put Joe Snively in and scratch Nicolas Aube-Kubel in Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.



WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals saw a bit of a strange happening during warmups prior to Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens, as Nicolas Aube-Kubel started warmups and left the ice ahead of line rushes, where Joe Snively took his place on the third line with Lars Eller and Marcus Johansson.

Aube-Kubel, who has been strong of late for Washington, had been projected to be in the lineup and was part of the usual formation at Friday's practice. And while there was speculation of an underlying issue for the 26-year-old, the Capitals confirmed that he was a healthy scratch and that Snively would be playing in his first game since Nov. 15.

Head coach Peter Laviolette explained the decision and said that it was actually a testament to Snively rather than anything against Aube-Kubel. The decision actually came about after watching No. 91, who had played just five games prior to lacing 'em up against Montreal, in practice.

"I thought that Aube-Kubel had played really good and done a really good job, and we were winning games," Laviolette said. "Didn't really like seeing Joe out that long, but just watching him yesterday in practice and he was just working hard, and he's on point just trying to do the right things, and I don't think the game was perfect for us last game as a team. I'm not picking on anybody."

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Snively had a strong performance in the 9-2 win over the Canadiens and even recorded an assist on Johansson's second goal of the game that was ultimately waved off. He also hit the post from in tight and generated some high-danger scoring chances to boot.

"It was an opportunity to get him in there, and I thought he played very well. He was pushing offensively," Laviolette said, adding, "I thought it was good he came back in there. And he was a good, positive contributing factor for our team."