Typically a morning skate gives a good indication of what’s going to happen in a game. Not Tuesday morning for the Washington Capitals.
The line rushes were a mess of different combinations, including Alex Ovechkin with Jeff Halpern and Troy Brouwer and Mike Knuble with Joel Ward and Jason Chimera. Brooks Laich also took turns with Ovechkin and Brouwer.
But Halpern said he wasn’t playing with Ovechkin.
“It’s just a morning skate. I’m not going to read too much into it,” Laich said. “We’ll see what the lineups are tonight.”
Had enough madness yet?
Tomas Vokoun appeared to come off the ice first, but Michal Neuvirth will be in net, making his third straight start. Also, all seven healthy defensemen came off the ice in similar order, so it’s not certain which one will be scratched.
Coach Dale Hunter said this wasn’t just change for the sake of it.
“Just shaking them up and see what falls out of it – trying to get the right matchups more than I worry about than shaking them up for no reason,” Hunter said. “It’s more the matchup against Nashville.”
Ovechkin, if he plays on left wing with Laich and Brouwer as expected, would be matched up against Shea Weber. But there are two big punishing guys with him to wear down Weber and Ryan Suter.
Here’s one possible combination of lines:
Alex Ovechkin – Brooks Laich – Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera – Jeff Halpern – Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks – Mathieu Perreault – Mike Knuble