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Capitals Notebook: Forward Lines See Another Shakeup After Two Big Losses

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Capitals Ovechkin and Backstrom
Photo: Michael Giammetta

After two big losses that saw the Washington Capitals outscored 11-2 in the past week, the team saw some more changes at Monday’s practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.

On Sunday, head coach Peter Laviolette experimented with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom working with Marcus Johansson on the top line. Meanwhile, Evgeny Kuznetsov moved to 2C with Anthony Mantha and T.J. Oshie, with Tom Wilson going on the third line and Johan Larsson taking place beside Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. However, the four lines couldn’t get much going and get to those high-danger areas, as the Minnesota Wild kept them to the outside.

Laviolette tweaked those lines completely at Monday’s skate. Oshie moved to the top line with Ovechkin, which Kuznetsov and Backstrom switched again. Meanwhile, Wilson moved to the second line right-wing, while Johansson moved down to the third line to work with Conor Sheary and Lars Eller. The fourth line stayed the same.

Here were the combinations, per The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell:

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie

Anthony Mantha-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson

Conor Sheary-Lars Eller-Marcus Johansson

Johan Larsson-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary-John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen

Trevor van Riemsdyk-Justin Schultz

Connor McMichael and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby are still working as the extra forwards. Matt Irwin and Michal Kempny were the extra blueliners.

READ MORE ON WHN: Takeaways From The Capitals’ Lackluster Loss To Minnesota

Washington is back in action on Wednesday to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ovechkin said that when it comes to the last couple of matchups, the team needs to move forward and get back on track against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

“If we want to have success, we can’t play like that… The leadership group, all of us have to play better,” Ovechkin said. … I think we just have to forget this game. Our last two games, we didn’t play our best. We just have to move on.”

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