The Washington Times - April 20, 2011, 01:47PM

NEW YORK | Back on March 29, Jason Chimera was a healthy scratch for the Capitals and wasn’t too thrilled about it.

“I’d rather not talk about it,” he said. “If your boss came to you and said you were sitting out today, would you be happy?”


That seems like eons ago now, as Chimera was all smiles Wednesday because he’ll likely be on the top line for Game 4 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, skating with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in place of Mike Knuble.

“I just play my game and obviously finish my checks is the biggest thing I can bring to them,” Chimera said. “Speed-wise, I can get there and forecheck and stuff like that and ultimately that will help them out. If I play my game I think I can help them out quite a bit.”

It’s not the first time Chimera has been on the Caps’ first line. He spent some time there in January, and Ovechkin said his experience will help.

“We played with him before and hopefully it will be easier for us to know how he plays and stuff like that,” Backstrom said. “We have been playing a lot of different line combinations during the year so I don’t think that should be a problem.”

Chimera has been deceptively good in the series’ first three games, flashing a lot of that speed on the third line with Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich. Now Eric Fehr will probably be with those two trying to pick up where Chimera left off. His role will be different however.

But Chimera’s with Ovechkin and Backstrom will be similar – though he’ll try to spread the ice for those guys even more.

“Sometimes you get caught watching, just not skating where you need to and just watching them,” Chimera said. “I’ve done that before many times where you get caught doing their thing instead of your own thing so you’ve just got to go out and play the same kind of physical natured game I’ve been playing.”