Coach Adam Oates made a comment Sunday about how changing the lines significantly after the loss to the Avalanche might send the wrong message to the players, how he doesn’t want to express any notion of panic.
So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that when the Capitals took the ice for their morning skate Monday ahead of their game against the Edmonton Oilers, there were no alterations to the forward lines.
“It’s not panic….The second line had three Grade A chances in one shift,” Oates said Sunday. “If one of those goes in, those three guys feel so much better. You’ve got to keep that in the back of your head, but at the same time I’m thinking about [changing lines]. There’s no perfect formula.”
John Erskine, who sat out the game against Colorado and missed the two previous practices with an upper-body injury, was on the ice for the morning skate but will not play against the Oilers. The veteran defenseman said he hopes to be ready to play in Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. It appears that the defensive pairings will be the same as they were against the Avalanche.
Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Oilers. Nail Yakupov will sit out as a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game tonight. (More on that from the Edmonton Journal.)
Taylor Hall-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth-Mark Arcobello-Jordan Eberle
Jesse Joensuu-Boyd Gordon-David Perron
Luke Gazdic-Will Acton-Mike Brown
Ladislav Smid-Jeff Petry
Justin Schultz-Anton Belov
Andrew Ference-Nick Schultz
Jason LaBarbera is expected to start with Devan Dubnyk as backup.