“Using the other side of your brain once in a while when you’re with someone different in the lineup,” Trotz said.
When he played with Kuznetsov to start the season, Ovechkin had 16 points in 12 games played. Oshie had eight points in that stretch. But the move is curious because Kuznetsov’s production has been down lately. He hasn’t scored a goal at even-strength since March 1, and in the playoffs, he has recorded two points and is a minus-four. Ovechkin has three points against the Penguins. With Washington having the last line change at home in Game 5, Trotz will have more control of matchups and could get a favorable one for this new top line.
“It’s not a big deal because they’ve played together all year, back and forth, I’ve done that numerous times,” Trotz said. “Sometimes, you do it just to shake things up. … We don’t have anything to lose right now.”
Said Kuznetsov: “It doesn’t really change something. You know, we have a plan how we’re going to play, and we practiced all year. … We know each other, and we know what we need to do on the ice. Maybe some small areas, we will correct a little bit, but it’s still same hockey. We just have to play our game. We have one more life.”
The Capitals have out-shot the Penguins, 144-136, in the series, and yet, they’ve scored two fewer goals, that being the margin that has Washington on the brink of elimination. Asked about what adjustments Washington needs to make, Williams quipped, “score more goals than they do.”
“Well, you’re obviously just trying to find something,” Beagle said. “We’ve obviously been not as good offensively as we want to be. It’s something where you shuffle the lines and you get some chemistry, some instant chemistry when you switch things up, people get different looks at people. I’ve played with Chimmer almost all year, so that’s an easy fit, and Stick, I played with him at the beginning of the year for a bit and he works so hard that it’s easy to just come into a line.”