Dylan Strome Moves Up To Center Top Line, T.J. Oshie Moves Up To Second Line: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

The Capitals returned to MedStar Capitals Iceplex Saturday morning for their game day morning skate following a day off on Friday. They host the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7PM.


Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette made his first changes to the lines ahead of the third game of the season. Dylan Strome and Evgeny Kuznetsov flipped center positions.

Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Strome – Connor Brown
Anthony Mantha – Evgeny Kuznetsov – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Lars Eller – Aliaksei Protas
Conor Sheary- Nic Dowd- Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Additionally, Aliaksei Protas moved to the right side of the third line and Anthony Mantha moved to the left side of the second line. T.J. Oshie moved up to the second line. For comparison, here were the lines from the start of the last game:

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Connor Brown
Aliaksei Protas – Dylan Strome – Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson – Lars Eller – T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson – Trevor van Riemsdyk

The moves were likely made in an attempt to kickstart the top two lines, which has scored just one goal (Anthony Mantha) in the first two games. More on this and the struggling top six below.

There were also tweaks to the power play. Dylan Strome moved to the half wall and Marcus Johansson moved to the down low position.

The Capitals and Canadiens meet tonight for the first of three meetings this season. Washington is 77-74-17-6 all-time vs. Montreal and 10-4-1 in their last 15 games against the Canadiens dating back to the 2016-17 season.


We spoke at length about the “expected goals” advanced stat in our run-up to the start of the season (refresher here). The stat is helpful for gauging the effectiveness of a player’s ability to generate scoring compared to opposing players on the ice. (For more, check out our NHL Analytics Glossary). Here are the expected goals differentials for all Capitals skaters after two games: [Click to enlarge].

Data via Natural Stat Trick

A lot has been made of the Capitals power play starting the season 0 for 9, but possibly just as big of a concern in the early going is the ineffectiveness of the top six forwards generating even-strength (5-on-5) scoring chances. The top line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Connor Brown has yet to record a point. Something we’ll continue to monitor.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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12 Responses to Dylan Strome Moves Up To Center Top Line, T.J. Oshie Moves Up To Second Line: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see Lavi not waiting until Christmas to make line changes, address lack of productivity from top 6.

  3. Call me crazy, but maybe try inserting some youth and speed into the lineup (i.e. Snively, McMichael) for different looks. IMO whenever the Caps finally allow themselves to actually infuse more youth into their lineup, they may benefit from a younger/fresher voice behind the bench. It’s only 3 games in, yes, but thinking of Burakovsky-Trotz, Vrana-Laviolette, it doesn’t seem that promising young players and their veteran coaches gel all that well. Have nothing against Lavy, but think it might benefit the team.

  4. Jon Sorensen says:

    Disappointed Protas had to move down a line, as he has done well in the first two, but Lavi is trying to light a fire under a few other players, so I guess the move had to be done to light the fires.

    • Anonymous says:

      Protas has no finish, but Mantha/Strome aren’t great finishers either. Sheary or McMichael would be better than MoJo on the third line with Protas.

      Carlson is getting exposed, but he’s unmovable now IMO. Caps are fucked.

  5. novafyre says:

    Were these tweaks supposed to excite me?

    Who is in goal?

  6. Anonamouse says:

    I have been wanting to see what Strome and Brown would do together. I hope it works as I expect.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Yes, you have mentioned it, I remember, because I too am interested in seeing what the two can muster. And more than one game, please. They need a few to get in a groove.

  7. Darrell Gehrt says:

    Change is good. Not the ones I would have made. Glad Protas still in. Sad Eller is.

    Let’s get 2 points tonight. I’ll enjoy with lake view tonight on dock.

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