Keith Aucoin replacing Mike Knuble again?

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Mike Knuble skated Monday in a red practice jersey, indicative of the Washington Capitals’ top line. It should have felt familiar, as he spent much of the previous two seasons with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

But after two straight games as a healthy scratch, the 39-year-old right wing knew it was only temporary, given Keith Aucoin’s trip to the minors Sunday.

“I imagine Keith will be back tomorrow,” Knuble said Monday. “That’s what I assumed would happen that he’ll be back tomorrow. So I just got to fill in his spot for a day.”

That very well might be the case, and the respected alternate captain who was not traded at the deadline might be in line for his third straight game out of the lineup when the Caps host the New York Islanders.

Aucoin got the call back to the Caps from Hershey of the American Hockey League on Tuesday morning. He had to be with the Bears on Monday to be eligible for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Similarly, the team did a paper transaction of sending Dmitry Orlov down briefly and then recalling him so he could play for the Bears in the playoffs.

Aucoin has played eight NHL games this season and picked up his first points Saturday night in Toronto, scoring a goal and adding an assist.

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