Marcus Johansson has been one of the Capitals’ better players since getting a seat in the press box opening night. And there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue that Friday night at the New Jersey Devils despite missing practice Thursday.
Johansson had a “maintenance day,” according to coach Bruce Boudreau. The center will make the trip with the Caps to Newark, N.J. Johansson has five goals and three assists this season.
“He’s fine,” Boudreau said. “Some of the young kids sometimes never want to take a day off, and he said he was sore. And I said, ‘Listen, I need you. So if you’re sore and if the day off is going to make you better on Friday, you take the day off.’ He reluctantly came to the trainer today and said, ‘I’m pretty sore in one area.’ ”
With Johansson out, the lines at practice were jumbled around, possibly indicating that if the Swede plays Friday, he might be on the top line. Mike Green skated in Thursday’s practice; Jay Beagle skated by himself before the rest of the team went on the ice.
Green skated a regular shift with Roman Hamrlik, possibly a good sign that he could play Friday - his first appearance since Oct. 22. The rest of the defensemen rotated.
Here are the lines:
Alex Ovechkin – Mathieu Perreault – Troy Brouwer
Brooks Laich – Nicklas Backstrom – Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera – Cody Eakin – Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks – Jeff Halpern – Mike Knuble