“It could be one shift,” Boudreau said. “We’re just trying to find a little bit of offense. When you’re not scoring, you’ve got to change things up and move things around. Hopefully this will work for tonight.”
That’s at least how things will start Saturday night: Backstrom centering Eakin and Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin playing with Marcus Johansson and Alexander Semin as the Caps try to snap out of some losing ways at the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“That’s what he does — he dishes the puck, and he’s pretty darn good at it,” Eakin said. “If there’s a chance, we’re going to try to find him and give him the puck and let him find us.”
Eakin, 20, was plastered to the bench for the third period of both games against the New Jersey Devils, Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. But since then, his play has been impressive enough to earn this turn, which could include power-play time.
“He has played well; he’s been one of our better players,” Boudreau said. “That’s unfortunate when a 20-year-old has been one of your better players the last couple games.”
Boudreau likes different combinations, but this trio could be particularly effective at both ends of the ice.
“I think [Eakin‘s] game is very simplistic, and me and Nicky like to kind to kind of dumb our game down as much as we can to make sure that we get puck possession and create some offensive chances,” Brouwer said.
Brouwer sees this as a chance for more balanced, two-way hockey.
“You look at some of our players and there’s no reason why a few of us should be in the minuses,” he said. “Maybe just making sure each line is defensively responsible and has those guys that you can look at to make sure that you’re winning D-zone draws, doing the right things along the wall to make sure the pucks get out and maybe paying the price if you have to take a hit along the wall to get the puck out.”