Marcus Johansson missed morning skate due to an illness, but head coach Barry Trotz called him "probable" for Monday's game against the Arizona Coyotes.
"We expect him to show up tonight and be ready to go," Trotz said. "Just that he felt a little under the weather this morning."
Mike Richards took Johansson's place on the third line at the morning skate while Andre Burakovsky practiced on the team's first power play unit. In the event that Johansson is not able to play, Trotz said that Richards would be the most likely to move to the third line.
Johansson has cemented himself this season at the third-line center position between Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson. That was especially evident when Johansson was forced to miss four games with an upper-body injury and the third line, centered by Richards, did not register a point in his absence. Johansson had three points in his return on Feb. 9 against Nashville, but has hit a dry spell recently with only one point in his last five games.
For his part, Richards said that if called upon, he hopes to build upon the chemistry he developed with Chimera and Wilson when he was first moved to the third line and that he would be ready to play in whatever position the team needs come game time.
"You just play your best whatever position you're put in," Richards said. "Doesn't matter which line you get put in, it's just how you play."
-There is still no timetable for Jay Beagle's return. When asked, Trotz said, "He's got to see the doctor. That'll be him and the doctor. I do know this that he will not play tonight."
-Trotz has not yet determined how he will use Michael Latta once Beagle does return to the lineup saying it "depends on the team, situation." With Beagle, Richards, Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Latta will likely be used sparingly as a center down the stretch. Trotz metnioned that Latta was trying to adjust to playing wing on a more regular basis.
Lines at morning skate:
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jason Chimera - Mike Richards - Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich - Michael Latta - Stanislav Galiev
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov
Extra: Taylor Chorney
Braden Holtby first off the ice
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