Capitals Daily Report: Ovechkin is Moved to Third Line, Crosby Could Return for Game 5

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After an off day to regroup from a tough Game 4 loss, the Capitals returned to the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to prepare for Game 5 tomorrow night. With their backs to the wall, some topsy turvy lineup changes are taking place, and stars on the enemy side are getting better, it’s time to push all of the poker chips to the center of the table. 

PRACTICE
For those that have attended practices at Kettler, you’d know that the guys in the red jerseys indicate the top-six forwards, while the ones in white indicate the bottom-six. We’re all used to seeing Alex Ovechkin sporting a red jersey at practice, but today he was on the ice in a white jersey before the rest of the team began practicing.

Andre Burakovksy was wearing a red jersey. It would later become clear that Ovechkin has been moved to the third line, while Burakovsky is now on the top line.  That means Ovechkin was skating with Lars Eller and Tom Wilson while Burakovsky was with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

The Caps could once again be going with seven defensemen for Game 5. Everything else was the same. We’ll see if this is what they’ll go with tomorrow.

Caps lines:
Forwards:
Burakovsky-Backstrom-Oshie
Johansson-Kuznetsov-Williams
Ovechkin-Eller-Wilson
Winnik-Beagle-Carey (extra)

Defensemen:
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Carlson
Schmidt-Shattenkirk
Alzner-Chorney

When the Caps started doing special teams drills, Ovechkin was still in his usual spot on the top power play unit. Following the practice Ovechkin told reporters that this lineup move is intended to create three lines that can score and spread the offensive firepower.

“It’s just a situation where you want to switch up the lines and get better. I hope it’s going to work,” said Ovechkin.

When Eller was asked about his new linemate he responded: “It could be good or it could be great.” Tom Wilson added, “The chance to play with Ovi is pretty cool.

Head coach Barry Trotz said that moving Ovechkin to the third line had nothing to do with his play in Game 4. He continued by saying that he had Ovechkin on the third line to get him some reps there. With the team having 11 forwards, Ovechkin could be doing some double shifting.

On his team down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, Trotz added, “We’re very capable of winning three games. We’ve done that many times in the last three years, but it is a challenge.”

SCENES FROM KETTLER

For more photos of today’s practice, click here.

SHAVINGS

  • The Capitals have overcome a 3-1 series deficit twice in franchise history, most recently in the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Rangers.
  • In 18 career games when the Capitals have faced elimination, Ovechkin has registered 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) and Nicklas Backstrom has recorded 13 points (three goals, 10 assists)

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Matt Murray was on the ice prior to the Penguins’ practice over at their facility in Cranberry, PA. Murray was in full equipment, but there is still no timetable for his return yet.

Sidney Crosby took the ice for practice as well. Today is the third day in a row that Crosby has skated. Connor Sheary was practicing as well. Each player was wearing full pads. Crosby was back on the top line, while Sheary returned to to the third line.

Pens lines:
Forwards
Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist
Kunitz-Malkin-Kessel
Rust-Bonino-Sheary
Hagelin-Cullen-Kuhnhackl

Defense (rotating)

Crosby was taking full contact and there’s a big possibility he could be playing tomorrow night.

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan, not trying to spill the beans perhaps, added, “He’s day-to-day… He was in full contact practice today. I wouldn’t rule it out.” However, Sullivan pointed out that they aren’t handling this differently just because it’s the playoffs and that health comes first.

DAILY LINKS
A Capitals’ Comeback Would Put them in Elite Sports Company
Nova Caps Radio Interview on Saturday, May 6 at 11 AM
History Behind A Number: No. 9
POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Pens 3, Caps 2 (Mike Vogel)
‘It’s the time for us’: Ovechkin, Backstrom well aware window is closing on Stanley Cup dream (Isabelle Khurshudyan/Washington Post)
Sidney Crosby participates in full-contact practice, status unclear for Game 5 (Jesse Dougherty/Washington Post)
Don Cherry Goes on Rant About Nick Bonino’s Embellishment in Game 4 (J.J. Regan/CSN)

INTERVIEWS
Alex Ovechkin

T.J. Oshie

Nicklas Backstrom

Rinkside Update: Nate Schmidt

By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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3 Responses to Capitals Daily Report: Ovechkin is Moved to Third Line, Crosby Could Return for Game 5

  1. Pingback: Andre Burakovsky Makes his Return | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Andre Burakovsky Practices on Top Line with Backstrom and Oshie | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: After Two Games, the Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom Line Reunion Might Be Spark Capitals Needed | NoVa Caps

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