Capitals notes: Michal Neuvirth to make first start since Feb. 7

Poti was uncertain if he’d be able to play Thursday at Carolina. Judging by the defensive pairings at Wednesday’s practice, the Caps could have the same blue line: Karl Alzner with Tomas Kundratek, Jeff Schultz with John Carlson, and Cameron Schilling with Steve Oleksy.

Kundratek, Schilling and Oleksy were with the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League when the Caps’ season began.

“I think the three guys that got called up, they’ve been playing really well,” Poti said. “Schill had a good game [Tuesday] night and those guys played well. We kind of threw them into the fire a little bit and they’ve been playing pretty good.”

Changes up front

Oates shuffled his forward lines after the shutout loss, reuniting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom with Matt Hendricks at left wing.

“With Backy, I play almost all my career in NHL,” Ovechkin said. “It’s not gonna be [a] question, like we have chemistry or not.”

Marcus Johansson will get a chance to center the second line between Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer, while Mike Ribeiro goes back to a spot he was in earlier in the season, between Jason Chimera and Joel Ward.

“Just trying to find a little chemistry,” Oates said. “Sometimes you get a little flat. Looking for a spark. Throw a different wrinkle at them.”

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