Alex Ovechkin back to left wing for Capitals at Devils

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NEWARK, N.J. — The Alex Ovechkin on right wing experiment for the Washington Capitals lasted just eight periods to start the 2013 NHL season. Ovechkin said he will play left wing Friday at the New Jersey Devils.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Ovechkin said. “I think it’s just a moment where we’re struggling with our games. It doesn’t matter what I’m gonna play: left side, center or right side, we just have to play the system what Adam tell us. We just have to be mentally ready. It’s not about one player or two players. It’s everybody.”

Ovechkin is joined on the first line by new center Jay Beagle and new right wing Joey Crabb. That stunning turn of events was revealed during line rushes in warmups.

Ovechkin on the right wing is something coach Adam Oates made clear he wanted to continue, even after sliding him back to the left side in the third period of Thursday night’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

“I know it’s what he’s used to. I still think he should be a right winger,” Oates said Thursday night. “But I also want him to be happy and get something out of his game.”

Ovechkin has just one assist in three games. But he said he was happy at right wing.

“I think I was not happy how we play like a team. … I feel responsible for opportunities what we have,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t know I have to find space [in] offensive zone and you know, my linemates have to play better. Me have to play lot better. … It starts for me personally and it goes to everybody.”

Ovechkin said he talked to Oates about going back to left wing.

“We talk to him a little bit and it’s still a process when we try to figure out where everybody have to be,” he said.

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