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In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

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In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

Madison Bowey’s second game went a lot better than his first and it’s not just because the Caps allowed only two goals as opposed to eight.

Despite being thrust into a significant role in his first taste of NHL experience, Bowey seemed to settle in a bit in his second contest even as it came against the NHL’s best offense in the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Just everything in the first game felt like it happened so quick, I think,” Bowey said Thursday after the team’s practice. “It was obviously nice to come back in Washington and play in the home in front of the home crowd, get a practice in on Monday before the game Tuesday with the team. Just all the little factors that went into it definitely helped and I think it definitely felt a lot smoother out there on the ice.”

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Playing at home definitely has its benefits for the coaching staff as they try to protect the rookie defensemen. Home teams get the chance to change after the visiting team allowing the coaches to pick the matchups they want for Bowey.

More favorable matchups certainly helped him, but Bowey also seemed to play with more confidence and a level of calm that was not there against Philadelphia. For Bowey, the difference was having time to settle in and practice with the team.

“Obviously this team is one of the veteran teams in the league so to be able to practice against top players in the league, it goes a long way,” Bowey said.

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Bowey was called up for a Saturday game in Philadelphia after Matt Niskanen suffered a hand injury Friday in New Jersey. That means he quickly had to join the team and jump into the lineup for his first ever NHL game without any practice with the Caps at all.

Bowey now has two practices and two games under his belt and even a team-building day at FBI training. The effect that has had on his game was noticeable on Tuesday. It should be even more clear on Friday as the team travels to face the Detroit Red Wings.

“I feel myself improving every day,” Bowey said. “It forces you to really work hard and be on your top every day you come to the rink so for me, just having those two practices already have been huge. I feel the development's getting a lot better early.”

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Calling an audible: Barry Trotz reunites Ovechkin, Backstrom as he shuffles lines for Senators game

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Calling an audible: Barry Trotz reunites Ovechkin, Backstrom as he shuffles lines for Senators game

Prior to the Capitals' game against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, Barry Trotz told the media he was not changing his lines. Perhaps he was being coy or maybe he changed his mind.

Based on warmups, it appears Trotz has reunited Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the top line. That's just one of a number of changes he made to the offensive lines

Forwards
Ovechkin - Backstrom - Wilson
Vrana - Kuznetsov - Oshie
Connolly - Eller - Smith-Pelly
Stephenson - Beagle -Chiasson

Defense
Orpik - Carlson
Orlov - Niskanen
Chorney - Bowey

Trotz tends to shuffle lines frequently throughout games so just how long we see these combos remains to be seen. These lines, however, are a stark departure from Trotz's thinking over the course of the season. He has seemingly been reluctant to put Ovechkin and Backstrom back together. But, given the scoring slumps the team's top offensive players are seeing now, a change needed to be made.

WATCH THE LIVE STREAM OF CAPS-OILERS HERE

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Game 23: Capitals vs. Senators Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 23: Capitals vs. Senators Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Senators will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Senators game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

 You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SENATORS GAME?

The Capitals (11-10-1) take on the Senators (8-5-6) Wednesday, November 22 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SENATORS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Senators game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Capitals GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington following the game for Caps Extra ,Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Senators
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SENATORS GAME?

The Capitals-Senators game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-SENATORS PROJECTED LINES

Here are the Caps' projected lines for the Caps-Senators game:

Offensive lines
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Defensive pairs
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Taylor Chorney - Madison Bowey

Goalies
Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches
Nathan Walker, Aaron Ness, Christian Djoos (upper-body injury), Tyler Graovac (conditioning in Hershey), Andre Burakovsky (LTIR)

CAPITALS-SENATORS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.