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Familiarity — even though the three haven’t spent a lot of time together — helps the Russian wingers.

“Me and Sasha know each other well,” Ovechkin said. “It’s not new line. It’s new line right now.”

And if Backstrom’s new line does its job, the Caps could find their way out of this rough stretch.

The key might be Eakin and what he can add with a bigger role.

“He’s a good, young player with a lot of energy and a lot to prove right now,” Brouwer said. “Hopefully he fits in well with us. The type of player he is, I think he will.”