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Oates said it benefits Ribeiro to play alongside Laich on a second line that could arguably be considered the Caps’ top offensive unit.

“You can see our lines right now are [how we pictured] in the game,” Ovechkin said. “It’s always nice to have all lines rolling.”

When Laich came back last week, Oates said his return was supposed to provide an emotional boost. After going 12-15-1 without him, the Caps have shown flashes of being a playoff contender since Laich returned from a groin injury.

Some of what he brings has nothing to do with on-the-ice play. In the locker room and elsewhere, “We missed Brooks Laich,” Brouwer said.

“Obviously he’s a big part of this team, and to have him back I think it’s just great,” Ribeiro said. “He’s a guy who brings emotion to the game and he’s a guy who gets ready and prepares himself well for games. I think it’s good. I think he brings other guys with him in the same boat and makes sure guys are ready for games.”