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Laviolette On Scratching Mantha 3rd Time, Why He Shook Up Capitals Lines Again

Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette explained the major shakeup to the lines and his decision to scratch Anthony Mantha following the 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.



WASHINGTON — Just 24 hours after a crazy comeback win, the Washinton Capitals returned home to D.C. to take on the Minnesota Wild and saw head coach Peter Laviolette make major tweaks to the lineup again with Nic Dowd out "for a bit" with injury.

Laviolette shook up the lines, moving Evgeny Kuznetsov down to the fourth line while putting Lars Eller and Nicolas Aube-Kubel back in the mix, with Eller taking on a third-line center role and Aube-Kubel skating on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Dylan Strome. 

"We wanted to make sure playing last night that we came back and we had speed on every line, we had physicality," Laviolette explained. "Minnesota is a heavier team in the league. They have some guys that have a heavy game, so it kind of set up Kubel to come in for me. I just thought that was his game — he's fast, he's physical, he got in a scrap, his line scored a goal. I thought he came in and had a positive impact on the game."

The Capitals got goals from Martin Fehervary and Strome but ultimately fell 4-2 after surrendering three goals — all from the point with screens in front — in the second period.

When it came to Kuznetsov's role on the fourth line, Laviolette didn't want to call it a downgrade, as he stressed the need to spread everything out following the first half of a back-to-back.

"You look at Kuzy's minutes, it's kind of the wording that you want to use, but you got four balanced lines just to roll them, because we played last night and wanted to make sure we had fresh bodies," Laviolette said. "We were playing a team that didn't play last night nd was going to be ready, and we wanted to make sure all lines [were] able to compete."

READ MORE ON WHN: Martin Fehervary Goes 1-on-1 About Hand Injury, Recovery & Return For Washington Capitals

Mantha drew back in for two games after sitting out for back-to-back games last week, and he had four shots in each game while logging a lot of ice time at even strength. However, he couldn't find the scoresheet, and there were still some defensive struggles and other areas of his game where he had to improve, as he also was a bit quieter against the New York Islanders.

With regard to that scratch, Laviolette stayed tight-lipped.

"It was a coach's decision," he said with regard to No. 39.

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