It could last one shift, one period or the remainder of the Capitals playoff run.
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been together many times in their NHL career but very seldom under Capitals coach Dale Hunter, who is expected to reunite the dynamic duo tonight in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Capitals and New York Rangers.
Ovechkin, Backstrom and Marcus Johansson practiced together at Wednesdays morning skate and will try to create some offensive chemistry tonight at the Verizon Center.
Yeah, I think we have good chemistry, but when I played with Brooks Laich it was a good time for me and for him, I think, Ovechkin said. Right now Ill start playing with Backy, I dont know how long it will go.
Ovechkin has spent most of the playoffs on a line with Laich and either Troy Brouwer or Jason Chimera. Chimera is expected to play on a second line with Laich and Alex Semin, while Brouwer is slated to play on the right side of center Jay Beagle and left wing Matt Hendricks, aptly named the Wolf Pack.
I think we have chemistry, its not a secret, Ovechkin said of Backstrom. He can control the puck in the neutral zone and skate and find me in open spots. Hes a top center in the league.
In 42 games this season Backstrom recorded 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points and was a minus-4. In 78 games Ovechkin led the Caps with 38 goals and 65 points and was a minus-8.
Im just going to try to get the puck to him, Backstrom said. Me and Marcus are passers on that line. We know he has a good shot and weve just got to make sure hes open and then well try to find him. Well all three go hard to the net and try to get goals.
Dead issue: Ovechkin had no interest in re-hashing the issue of his ice time in Game 2, saying he wants to look ahead to Game 3. He received a playoff career low of 13:36 but scored the game-winning goal and generated seven shots in the 3-2 win in New York.
Well, were winning and thats the most important thing right now, he said. But again, lets talk about the game, lets talk about how were going to play tonight and not talk about what happened last game or two games ago.
Ovechkin acknowledged he would like to be on the ice in different situations but clearly has no interest in making it an issue.
I dont think its time right now to talk about it, he said. Were not concerned about
giving me 30-40 minutes of ice time. Were here to make suggestions on how to make a win. If it takes giving me 13 minutes of ice time and we win the game, Ill take it.