The Washington Times - January 15, 2012, 11:32AM

The big question Friday night when Jason Chimera skated on the Washington Capitals’ fourth line was: Why is Chimera on the fourth line?

It seemed strange given his 14 goals and that he scored one the previous game. The 32-year-old finished with 9:53 of ice time alongside Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle.


But on Saturday coach Dale Hunter explained that switch was made to get some more offense spread throughout the lineup.

“I balanced out the third and fourth line. That’s what I was trying to do before the game,” he said. “It just ended up that [the third line] line happened to play more than the other line, so it was trying to balance them out to roll four lines with all these games.”

Hunter reasoned that because the Tampa Bay Lightning fell behind early, Guy Boucher went heavy with his top players, reducing the amount of times the fourth line could get on the ice.

That was nothing against Chimera.

“It was nothing to do with his play or nothing. It was just the matchups where they got down early,” Hunter said. “They played a lot, their top guys, and they didn’t play their other line that was matched up against them.”

Saturday’s practice was life as normal, as Chimera was reunited with Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward on the third line. They’re expected to be together Sunday afternoon at 5 when the Caps host the Carolina Hurricanes.