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Posted at 02:08 PM ET, 11/11/2011

Marcus Johansson expected to play on top line

Tarik El-Bashir assesses the top teams in the National Hockey League each week. Check out his latest Top 10 ranking to see who moved ahead of the Capitals.

Marcus Johansson was back on the ice Friday after taking the previous day off to rest. Skipping the on-ice session Thursday was something the second-year center needed a little convincing by Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau to do, but even Johansson admitted it was good for him.

“You don’t want to be the guy, who not practices or something like that,” Johansson said. “I’ve been sore, I definitely needed it. It feels better today so I think it was a good decision. It’s been sore for a while. I’ve decided to keep playing anyways and it’s not been helping it. So, I think I needed a day off.”

Johansson said the soreness preceded the Capitals’ grueling workout on Wednesday and denied that the problem stems from a slash on his left arm by the Oilers’ Ryan Smyth on Oct. 27.

Johansson is expected to play on the first line with Alex Ovechkin against the Devils here in New Jersey Friday night, a move that Boudreau makes in part to increase the speed of the star left wing’s line. He’s been give this opportunity before, and skated with Ovechkin much of training camp and the preseason, and is excited to get the chance again.

“I don’t know how [Boudreau] looks at it but it’s fun for me,” Johansson said. “It’s fun playing with the other guys too. It’s going to be a good challenge and a fun way to play hockey.”

By  |  02:08 PM ET, 11/11/2011

 
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