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Ovechkin back on line with Crabb and Beagle

Jan 28, 2013, 1:31 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin AP

Capitals head coach Adam Oates must see something the Washington hockey media doesn’t.

Reporters were left scratching their heads today at practice as Oates had Alex Ovechkin back on a line with center Jay Beagle and winger Joey Crabb.

The Caps got their first win of the young season Sunday, finishing off a 3-2 victory over Buffalo after Ovechkin — whose third-period game-winner was his first goal of the season — had moved onto a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer.

But Ovechkin, Beagle and Crabb have started the last two games on the same line, and apparently they’ll be together again tomorrow in Ottawa.

With all due respect to Beagle and Crabb, the thought of Ovechkin skating on a line with players of their caliber would’ve seemed unthinkable a short time ago.

Per the Washington Time’s Stephen Whyno, Oates is citing “balance” as the reason to put Ovechkin with two forwards that have combined for 26 goals in 235 career NHL games.

Oates added: “I like having north-south guys with him. Maybe sometimes other [linemates] might try to get too creative … as opposed to being more relentless going north. I think playing with Joey and Beags, they’re going to go north more.”

Backstrom and Brouwer, by the way, were skating with Wojtek Wolski on the left wing today.

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