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Capitals Notebook: Ovechkin, Backstrom Reunite, McMichael To Top-6, Sprong Sits Again



Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and left wing Alex Ovechkin

The Washington Capitals made some changes to their forward lines and will see Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin reunite for Monday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Backstrom and Ovechkin will both play on the top line along with Conor Sheary on Monday. Head coach Peter Laviolette experimented with that trio against Ottawa, and overall, it looked solid and generated quite a few changes, including the game-tying goal. Both Backstrom and Ovechkin were on the ice for Backstrom’s “sexy” (as Ovechkin calls it) overtime winner.

Since returning from the long-term injured reserve, Backstrom has been making major strides and is still working his way back to full strength. He has two goals and eight points through nine games so far. Four of his six assists have been on Ovechkin goals. Meanwhile, the Great 8 is still dominating and has a league-leading 29 goals and 59 points through 42 games this season.

“It was important for us to have him back,” Ovechkin said of No. 19. “Obviously he didn’t play lots of months. Right now, he try to find his shape and hope he’s gonna be much better in the future.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Carlson, Orlov Back For Tilt With Vegas

Meanwhile, Connor McMichael will also make his jump to the top-6 and start on the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson. McMichael skated just 5:50 minutes against Ottawa but has assists in two of his last three outings.

When it comes to the odd man out, Daniel Sprong will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game. He last played against Winnipeg on Tuesday and has gone scoreless through his last five games. He has a total of six goals and 11 points through 34 games this season.

Here were the Capitals lines from their morning skate prior to their Monday game against Vegas:

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Conor Sheary

Connor McMichael-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson

Aliaksei Protas-Lars Eller-Brett Leason

Carl Hagelin-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary-John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov-Justin Schultz

Michal Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Vitek Vanecek will also get the start in goal. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena.

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Larry Reagan

The question is…will McMichael get ice time? Good that he is being raised to top 6, but will he get the time?

Larry Reagan

McMichael gets almost 7 minutes…so they start him in top six, then move him immediately to the fourth line. What kind of strategy is that?

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