Two weeks ago, many were clamoring for the Caps to go back to their old top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. With the team scuffling and the top stars struggling to put points on the board, it seemed like putting back together a line with a history of success made a lot of sense.
Barry Trotz did not do that. Instead, he put Ovechkin back with Backstrom, but added Tom Wilson on the right wing. Oshie moved down to the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana. The results speak for themselves.
In the five games since Trotz changed the lines, Ovechkin has six goals, Backstrom has five assists, Kuznetsov has four goals and Oshie has six assists. More importantly, the Caps won four of those five games.
The problem with putting Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie back together is that it would make the team too top-heavy. They do not have the depth they have had in recent years so putting all three players on the top line is a major risk. Two scoring lines are better than one and clearly the Caps have two at the moment and it has propelled them to their recent success.
Washington will still need contributions from the bottom six as well, but they got that on Saturday in a win over Columbus with goals from Brett Connolly and Alex Chiasson.
No team can be successful if their top players don't produce. The team's new lines have fixed that problem for now and it is why the Caps are rising in this week's NHL Power Rankings.