Everyone took note of the Capitals’ latest set of line combinations Tuesday morning when Mathieu Perreault, who survived the final round of cuts and earned a spot on the opening-night roster for the first time in his career, was centering the second line between Alexander Semin and Troy Brouwer.
But asked about the significance of the lines, Coach Bruce Boudreau warned not to read too much into the groups.
“I don’t know how much you want to read into that or whether I’m sending a message to other people,” Boudreau said in a pointed manner. “I don’t want to expound on that right now.”
While Boudreau wouldn’t name names, it could easily be a message intended for second-year center Marcus Johansson, who finished the preseason having recorded no points and taking just four shots on goal in five exhibition-game appearances.
On Sunday against the Blackhawks, Boudreau swapped Perreault and Johansson midway through the contest so that the former was on the top line skating with Alex Ovechkin and Brouwer while the latter skated between D.J. King and Jay Beagle.
“He was creating things and Marcus hadn’t to that point,” Boudreau said following the preseason finale. “So I wanted to see if Matty could handle playing with those guys, sometimes it’s intimidating.”
Perhaps by putting Perreault among the top six forwards again during Tuesday’s practice, Boudreau is warning the sophomore center that no one is guaranteed any particular position.