Dylan Strome placed on the wing of the fourth line as Peter Laviolette continues experimenting with forward combinations

The Washington Capitals held a brief observe on Friday morning at a jam-packed MedStar Capitals Iceplex. The workforce hosted a subject journey at the rink, 802 “juiced up” elementary youngsters from Arlington County Public Schools, to have a good time Alex Ovechkin hitting the 800 targets milestone and passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time targets record in December.

“I assumed we felt it on the market,” Laviolette mentioned. “We felt that engine (from the youngsters). I assumed observe was good. I thank them for that. It was a superb peppy observe for half-hour. The youngsters had quite a bit to do with that.”

The Capitals did have new line combinations, per NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Weyrichbut it surely’s unclear how a lot to make of them.

Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Sheary/NAK
Milano-Backstrom-Wilson
Oshie-Dowd-Mantha
Johansson/Strome-Eller-Hathaway

“It’s simply observe proper now,” Laviolette mentioned afterward. “We’re simply taking a look at various things. Slotting guys in.”

The most controversial adjustments got here in the backside six the place Nic Dowd was break up up from his longtime operating mate Garnet Hathaway. Dowd centered the third line with TJ Oshie and Anthony Mantha. Lars Eller dropped to the fourth and skated with Dylan Strome and Marcus Johansson on the left and Garnet Hathaway on the proper.

After shedding to the Nashville Predators 3-2, the Capitals welcomed again Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson on January 8 in opposition to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Caps’ first two video games with their stars again haven’t gone significantly effectively. Lacking cohesion and chemistry of their forward ranks, the Capitals scored solely two targets throughout the first 100 minutes of hockey in opposition to Columbus and Philadelphia mixed. Marcus Johansson and TJ Oshie lastly broke that dangerous stretch by scoring a five-on-five aim every late in the third interval in opposition to the Flyers.

Strome, who spent most of the season centering the high line, has felt Backstrom’s return the most. He went to the wing on the second line in Backstrom’s season debut after which dropped to third-line middle in opposition to the Flyers on Wednesday. If Dylan finally ends up on the fourth line in opposition to the Flyers Saturday, that might mark the lowest he is been in the lineup this season.

“We’ve acquired to maneuver some guys out of place,” Laviolette mentioned. “We’re making an attempt some issues. I feel that occurs whenever you’re beginning one thing. So there’s two guys again from harm — TJ’s been again from harm for half a dozen video games now — and Nick and Tom are again. We have to fit these guys in and see what’s working and what’s not working. It’s not a lot the line any individual’s on has to go rating a aim. It’s extra about the workforce and if we’re driving play.”

But once more, it is unclear how a lot inventory to place into these traces. Per the Washington Post’s Samantha PellAnthony Mantha, TJ Oshie, and Matt Irwin participated in the “scratches skate” earlier than observe.

Saturday’s morning skate ought to inform us far more about how the Capitals will line up later that night time. But no matter the lineup is, Laviolette will need extra out of his group.

“I feel we gotta play higher than our final three video games,” Laviolette mentioned. “We’ve acquired to dictate a little bit bit extra with what we’re doing on the ice. Defensively we have simply been okay. We’ve let up some odd man rushes, partial breakaways, and stuff like that. I simply suppose we might be higher.”

Headline picture: Alan Dobbins/RMNB

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