Nov 10, 2011, 2:33 PM EST
As Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider notes, Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau has been tight-lipped when discussing line combinations this season.
But today, he let something slip.
Marcus Johansson, the 21-year-old Swede that’s recorded eight points in 12 games, was given Thursday’s practice off to rest after Wednesday’s bag skate. With him out, there was a noticeable shift in center duties — Nicklas Backstrom skated with Brooks Laich and Alex Semin on the second line, Cody Eakin dropped down to Johansson’s usual spot on the third — leaving an open spot on the first line between Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer. (Fourth-liner Mathieu Perreault played there today.)
Could that spot be ultimately filled by Johansson, who was given practice off because Boudreau said he “needed him” this weekend in a home-and-home against the Devils?
“I think sometimes it makes the line a little quicker,” Boudreau said of playing Johansson with Ovechkin. “Sometimes you wait, in training camp Marcus wasn’t up to par — in his own words, I would think. But he’s started to play quite well now. Now, if we decided to make the change it would be a good time.”
The move fits with Boudreau’s newfound approach to attacking complacency. The Caps were brutal last game out (a 5-2 loss to Dallas; Ovechkin had zero points and a minus-2 rating), to which Boudreau responded by shuffling his lines. He seems determined to correct issues as soon as they occur, rather than letting them fester — taking care of business, if you will.
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 1
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 0
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 9
- Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins 42
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 19
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 23
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 63
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 31
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 45