- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

TORONTO — Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz tinkered with his lineup in preparation for Wednesday’s pivotal Game 4 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At the Capitals’ morning skate, forward Tom Wilson was moved up to the third line with Andre Burakovsky and Lars Eller, while Brett Connolly was moved down to Wilson’s old spot with Daniel Winnik and Jay Beagle.

Trotz said he’d like to get a little more production out of his third line.

“You’d like a little more production out of it, no question,” Trotz said. “They’ve had some shifts and some zone time, and now they just need to get on the board a little bit.”

Burakovsky, Eller and Connolly all have yet to score in this playoffs. Wilson scored the game-winner in overtime in Game 1.

Alzner still out

Defenseman Karl Alzner did not skate with the group that will be playing later Wednesday, instead taking the ice afterward for a short skate with the rest of the scratches.

It was the first time Alzner, out with an upper-body injury, has been seen on the ice since Game 2. Alzner will not play in Game 4, but even if he is ready to go before the end of the Capitals playoffs, Trotz did not guarantee he would get his spot back.

“We’ll just have to see,” Trotz said. “When Karl’s ready and the trainers tell me he’s ready, then we’ll have to make that decision. That’s a what-if question. What if someone gets hurt tonight too?”

Nate Schmidt, who has replaced Alzner in Washington’s top defensive pair with John Carlson, was on the ice for all three Capitals goals Monday. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s played well enough to make that what-if question a fairly difficult one.

Just a scare for Holtby

Goaltender Braden Holtby went down on the ice for about 10 seconds in the team’s morning skate after a collision with Marcus Johansson.

Holtby was fine, but gave Trotz a little scare.

“I’m like, ‘OK, let’s go check this out.’ Obviously, I think they just laughed it off. I didn’t even see it. I was looking down at the other end, and all of a sudden, it got quiet, and it was like, OK,” Trotz said. “I had to sort of catch myself for a second, see if he needed a second or two, and he said, ‘I’m fine.’ He was just skating it off, and we resumed. Just like anybody, when you’re goaltender gets bumped over, your heart stops for a second.”

“I’m fine,” Holtby said. “It was just a practice play. It happens.”

Johansson said that Holtby came out a little further than he anticipated while he was trying to get out of the way of a shot by T.J. Oshie.

“You never want to see anyone get hurt out there,” Johansson said. “That was unfortunate, but it happens. But he’s all right.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide