There were a few changes to the Capitals' line combinations at practice Tuesday morning. Chief among them was that Nicklas Backstrom was skating alongside Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin on the second line while Tomas Fleischmann centered Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble on the first.
As we know and have almost come to expect, Coach Bruce Boudreau likes to experiment and rotate his lines, particularly in the beginning of the season. That tendency led to the swap in practice, but Boudreau was unclear as to whether it might happen in a game. So don't rule it out just yet.
"Nicky and [Alex] are going to end up playing together for 10 years for the most part," Boudreau said. "Every now and again, you move them around. I don't know if I'll do it tomorrow, but it was looking okay today."
Here's what the forward lines looked like:
--The Capitals spent a decent chunk of practice working on the power play, rotating combinations of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Fleischmann, Knuble, Mike Green, John Carlson and Eric Fehr through the drills.
As discussed in the Morning Roundup, the Capitals' power play is 1-for-13 through three games this season, but it's not unusual for the unit to need time to find its footing early in the season.
"We have to get more shots. [Monday] some power plays, we didn't even get it in the zone and that's something we have to work on too; the breakouts," Backstrom said. "If we work a little bit harder and maybe get more focus on the passes, too, then it's going to work pretty good, I think."
Said Boudreau: "Everybody in October, with us, anyway, wants to be the trigger man. Nobody wants to do the dirty work. They want to be open, they want to get the pucks and there's a lot more individuality than there is cohesiveness, and we have to get back to the cohesiveness and five guys working as one."
--Boudreau said Michal Neuvirth will get his fourth consecutive start against the Islanders and added that Semyon Varlamov (groin) will not dress until he's 100 percent healthy.
--Goaltender Dany Sabourin was given the day off to rest and spend time with his daughter, who is sick and in the hospital, Boudreau said. Injured players Marcus Johansson (foot), Tom Poti (lower body) and Matt Bradley (lower body) were the only other players who did not take part in practice. If you missed it, check out Tuesday's injury update here.
--Better late than never, here are some photos from last night's overtime victory against the Senators.