It hasn’t been the easiest transition to a new team for veteran left wing Marco Sturm. When he joined the Capitals near the trade deadline he had only just returned to game action from a lengthy lay-off following knee surgery and was still working to find his rhythm once again.
Sturm played alongside several different groups of players before sort of settling on to the third line before injuries sidelined Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott, forcing Coach Bruce Boudreau to re-shuffle the deck and determine the best way to create balanced lines with multiple scoring threats in their absence.
From early on against Montreal on Saturday night, Sturm appeared rejuvenated from his placement alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin on the top line. Sturm drove to the net on the group’s first shift of the game and was able to score on a rebound from Backstrom’s shot that goaltender Carey Price had allowed to jump out in front. That goal gave Washington a one-goal lead that it would protect for the next 50 some minutes until finally Semin scored to add a little breathing room with under four minutes remaining in regulation.
The tally also took some pressure off of Sturm as it was his first goal and only third point as a Capital.
“It’s always kind of bugged me a little bit that I didn’t score early on,”’ Sturm said. “It happened [Saturday] so I’m very glad…. When you come to a new team you want to show what you’ve got but I was hurting a lot too before I came here so it’s becoming more comfortable for me I got to know all the guys better and better even on and off the ice and that helps for sure.”
Sturm played 16:41 in the 2-0 win against Montreal, the most game time he’s seen since joining Washington and finished a plus-2 with two points and three shots. While Sturm understandably wants to add as much offense as he can to the Capitals, Boudreau said the veteran savvy he provides is equally important as any points on the board.
“He hasn’t scored and he’s probably struggled a bit but positionally he’s been great,” Boudreau said. “I thought he was very good tonight as far as chances. He put one in but positionally you can count on him and you have a reliable player to count on come April, May and June. Those are the guys you want.”