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Capitals Notebook: Sheary Moves Up, Team Has One Of ‘Best Practices’ Of Season



Capitals forward Conor Sheary

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Good vibes and smiles filled MedStar Capitals Iceplex as the Washington Capitals took part in a short but productive Tuesday skate.

It kicked off with line rushes and mini scrimmages before the team worked on tips and deflections in front among other competition drills. Meanwhile, Washington also saw more line changes ahead of the team’s Wednesday tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

T.J. Oshie said the team has been productive over the last couple of days following a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday after almost a week off. Over the Capitals’ last two games, they have been outscored 11-2. Washington has also held a couple of players-only meetings to discuss getting back to their brand of hockey and identity down the stretch heading into the playoffs

“[These have been] maybe two of the best practices we’ve had this year I think as far as guys working and focused,” Oshie mentioned, adding, the meetings have been players’ meetings, so anytime you’re in a rut like this and this is in my opinion, we’re not playing our brand of hockey. We’re not playing to our identity. I don’t think any amount of coaching would get you out of that. That comes down to the guys on the ice the players playing a certain way being prepared a certain way.”

READ MORE ON WHN: A Closer Look At The Capitals’ Players-Only Meetings Amid Struggles

The Capitals also saw more tweaks to the forward lines as head coach Peter Laviolette continues to experiment with the combinations to spark the offense.

Conor Sheary moved up to the top trio to work with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. It’s not a brand new combination, as No. 73 spent some time there earlier on in the season as a “tenacious” puck retriever. Sheary has also been proving his worth and producing quite a bit for Washington this season with 16 goals and 18 assists through 59 games, which has him on pace to finish with 41 points.

Meanwhile, Oshie switched with Sheary, moving to work with Lars Eller and Marcus Johansson on the bottom-6. Tom Wilson is working with Nicklas Backstrom and Anthony Mantha. The fourth line stayed the same, with Johan Larsson, Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway still together. Connor McMichael and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby continue to rotate in. Washington’s defensive pairings stayed the same.

Here are what the lines looked like:

The Capitals will have an optional morning skate on Wednesday prior to their showdown with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. On Saturday, they have a key Metro Division showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Our next two games there’s probably no one else I’d rather play to get us going again,” Oshie added.