NEW YORK – While the Capitals practiced with different top lines Saturday, the trios of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble and then Marco Sturm, Jason Arnott and Alexander Semin will stick together at least to start Game 3.
The same will happen for the third line - Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera - which has arguably the Caps’ best line so far this series.
The trio even managed to score a goal in Game 2, as Laich outworked Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy behind the net to get it to Johansson, who put the puck on Chimera’s tape. … He didn’t miss.
“We play simple and we play with speed and get the puck deep and try to work hard,” Johansson said. “That’s why you get goals.”
Speed is the word when it comes to that line. Chimera can fly – but he wants more than that from his line.
“We’re pretty quick guys, all three of us, so we have to use it to our advantage and get in there and create some havoc and get some hits and actually produce, too,” he said. “We can’t just be out there and just exist. We’ve gotta produce and it was good [Friday night]. We produced and helped the team win, which was awesome.”
Even if Chimera, Johansson and Laich don’t score, their contribution is to wear down a New York team that isn’t deep on defense beyond Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.
“They can all skate,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They put pressure on.”
There’s already plenty of pressure on the Rangers – so anything the Caps’ third line can do going forward just makes it an even bigger challenge for New York.
Caps lines for G3:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Mike Knuble
Marco Sturm - Jason Arnott - Alexander Semin
Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson - Jason Chimera
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Matt Bradley
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Scott Hannan - Jeff Schultz
John Erskine - Mike Green