The Washington Times - December 1, 2011, 10:15AM

The early days of the Dale Hunter era have featured some changes, like more upbeat practices, longer morning skates and a different kind of neutral zone defense in game action.

But not a sweeping difference.


“It is a fine line. I changed a few things, but you can’t make drastic changes because you don’t have time to practice it,” Hunter said. “Just a few things and, other than three or four things, keep it basically the same.”

So Thursday’s morning skate in advance of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins had more of the same, including the same lines as Tuesday night:

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer

Cody Eakin – Marcus Johansson – Alexander Semin

Jason Chimera – Brooks Laich – Joel Ward

Matt Hendricks – Jeff Halpern – Mike Knuble

Mike Green again skated before practice, for the fifth time in six days.

Another segment of “The More Things Change, The More They Remain the Same” includes Mathieu Perreault as a healthy scratch. It’s uncertain which defenseman will be out of the lineup.