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“For the majority of us — myself and Mike Knuble are going to be around the net, [Nick Backstrom is] going to control the puck, [Alexander] Semin’s going to control the puck, Mike Green’s going to be moving and sort of a rover,” Laich said. “So maybe switch Al up a little bit, just to give different looks.”

Ovechkin likes the challenge after five years in one spot. And Boudreau likes the leadership that comes from his captain’s willingness to shift out of his comfort zone.

But most of all, Boudreau wants to see results.

“It’s one of these things that for the next 17 days we’ll experiment with probably a lot to see something that really clicks,” he said. “I’d like to be able to see something that clicks and stay with it for a long period of time.”

And in their perfect world, the Caps find the right mix to last through spring and into summer.