Adam Oates wasn’t displeased with the Washington Capitals’ effort or performance in Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. But that didn’t stop him from changing up the lines for Wednesday’s practice.
And this wasn’t just a tweak. The Caps will likely feature wholesale changes for Thursday night’s game in Raleigh, N.C.
That includes Matt Hendricks back on the top line with Alex Ovechkin, but with Nicklas Backstrom in the middle. It includes Marcus Johansson centering the second line with Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer and Mike Ribeiro bumped down to the third line.
Brooks Laich (groin) skated with teammates for the second straight practice but said Tuesday he’s “a ways away” from making his season debut.
The defensive pairings remained the same, even as defenseman Tom Poti (upper-body injury) returned to the ice after missing Tuesday night’s game. Defenseman John Erskine (apparently left hand or wrist) was not on the ice and is not eligible to play until Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.
It remains to be seen whether Braden Holtby or Michal Neuvirth will get the start in goal Thursday.
Here’s a look at the lines and pairings:
Matt Hendricks – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr – Marcus Johansson – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera / Mathieu Perreault – Mike Ribeiro – Joel Ward
Wojtek Wolski / Aaron Vopatti – Jay Beagle – Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner - Tomas Kundratek
Jeff Schultz - John Carlson
Cameron Schilling - Steve Oleksy