On a few occasions this season, Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau’s line shuffling has included putting Brooks Laich on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
It’s not something that’s happened too often this year, or for too long — on Nov. 24 in Carolina the trio played an entire game together and they combined for 20 shots and six points — but with Mike Knuble out of the lineup, Boudreau opted to try that alignment again beginning in the middle of Game 4.
Based on the lines used during practice this morning, Laich will skate with Ovechkin and Backstrom in Game 5. Boudreau could use the new combination as an opportunity to put Ovechkin on the opposite side, as he did in the Hurricanes game.
“I like [Ovechkin on the right] for short periods of time because Alex is more used to playing left wing,” Boudreau said. “But Brooks is so responsible, you can play him anywhere and he’s going to make that line better. So I like that aspect of it. But right now, with Mike Knuble out, it makes for the better fit [to have Laich on the right]. Who knows, it might change.”
Added Ovechkin: “He’s a hard-working guy. He’s the same, probably like Knoobs, good in front of the net, good in the corners. And you know he plays well in the defensive zone so it help us a lot.”