After spending an entire month on separate lines, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been reunited on the Capitals’ top line. All it took was a three-game scoring drought by the Capitals’ goal-scoring machine.
With Ovechkin in the midst of his longest goal drought of the season, Caps coach Barry Trotz began practice on Monday with a top-line combination that has clicked 174 times in the past eight seasons. That’s how many times Backstrom has assisted on a goal by Ovechkin in their careers together.
T.J. Oshie remained on the right side as the Caps hit the ice for the first time since Friday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames.
Backstrom’s promotion means center Evgeny Kuznetsov will have a new home on the Caps’ second line with left wing Marcus Johansson and right wing Andre Burakovsky. Kuznetsov has no goals and four assists in his last six games.
The Caps’ third and fourth lines remained the same.
Defense Brooks Orpik, suffering from “multiple hurts,” according to Trotz, did not participate in Monday’s practice. Orpik has sat out the past two games with a lower body injury.
With their next game slated for Wednesday night in Detroit, here’s how the Caps looked at Monday’s practice:
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Andre Burakovsky
Jason Chimera – Jay Beagle – Justin Williams
Brooks Laich – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
Nate Schmidt – John Carlson
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Dmitry Orlov – Taylor Chorney
Braden Holtby – Philipp Grubauer
MORE CAPITALS: Long break gives Caps chance to address issues