The Washington Times - March 13, 2011, 10:13PM

The Capitals expect offensive production from Alex Ovechkin and his linemates. They expect the same out of guys like Jason Arnott and Alexander Semin.

What’s expected of the line of Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera is a much more all-around game. When there’s a goal thrown in, that’s gravy. The Caps got both Sunday afternoon.


Laich, Fehr and Chimera were a force in the 4-3 win over the Blackhawks and two of the three were responsible for Washington’s third goal on the day at Verizon Center.

“If you keep doing things well and doing things right, you’ll get rewarded,” Laich said.

It started in the defensive end, where the trio was responsible and on several shifts matched up against Chicago’s star-studded line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. Laich pointed to some good communication and plenty of speed as reasons he and his line were so good Sunday.

“We talked about it at practice that we wanna be out of our zone in 10 seconds or less defensively. So I try to go in and make a hit and then move the puck to one of those guys,” he said. “They do a great job coming low and in the zone defensively to support me.”

In the face-off circles, Laich was 7-for-8, including four wins against Toews. And while hits are an arbitrary stat, the line finished with five of them – though the physical play was much more pronounced than that.

They helped wear down Chicago, which was hurt by Brian Campbell’s inability to finish the game and an overall lack of depth that forced coach Joel Quenneville to roll only three lines. The Laich line doing so well kept Caps coach Bruce Boudreau from doing that.

“They were all good. That’s why I didn’t shorten the bench, because all four lines were going,” he said. “You’ll see me shorten the bench pretty easily if I deem that I don’t think certain players or certain lines aren’t going.”

Laich, Fehr and Matt Hendricks – replacing Chimera on that line while he was in the box for fighting – even made an impact on the scoreboard. Six minutes into the third, Hendricks got the puck in the neutral zone, and then played it along the end boards to Fehr. The winger sent a no-look pass that Hendricks tipped right to Laich in the slot, and he beat Corey Crawford.

“You hope if you keep doing things right you’re gonna get rewarded,” Laich said. “Hendy makes a good play in the neutral zone to force a turnover and we just get it in deep, and Eric wins a battle against a smaller defenseman in [Duncan] Keith and gets the puck out front and we get a goal.”