For the start of Saturday's game against Florida, Coach Bruce Boudreau instituted some new line combinations among the forwards. Included among the new alignments was placing Alex Ovechkin on the right side and Alexander Semin on the left, the reverse of their usual spot in the lineup.
But by the midway point of the second period against the Panthers, Boudreau returned the forwards to their more familiar orientation. Ovechkin rejoined Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble on the top line with Semin shifting back to the right side with Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson.
"I was definitely thinking about it during the intermission," Boudreau said. "It was just a question of when I was going to do it. ...We went through one shift and got a penalty and then once we came out of the penalty, I decided that was the time."
Boudreau likes to experiment with his line combinations throughout the regular season -- this much is certain -- as he tries to find the right mix and spark as many players as possible simultaneously. But whether it was the lack of familiarity or something else, the groups that started the contest against Florida looked discombobulated.
"They weren't looking very good, so I had to do something," Boudreau said. "Maybe it's just that they're so used to playing the opposite positions that they were doing the wrong assignments. I thought I'd at least get them back to where they're comfortable and see where that goes."