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Ovechkin returns, will play on Caps’ top line with Erat

Nov 5, 2013, 2:48 PM EDT

OviErat Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin will play for the first time in two games on Tuesday night, and he’ll be doing it with a new linemate.

The Caps have replaced Marcus Johansson with Martin Erat as Ovechkin’s usual right winger, meaning Erat will skate alongside Ovechkin as the Washington captain returns from an upper-body ailment to take on the Isles at Verizon.

“He’s a skilled guy, experienced guy and I’m sure he’s going to help our line to create more opportunities to score goals,” Ovechkin said of Erat, as per NHL.com. “He’s a great player.”

Injured last Monday in Vancouver, Ovechkin sat out a pair of wins last week — Friday’s 7-0 drubbing of Philly, Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over Florida — and watched a number of Washington’s secondary scorers light it up.

Joel Ward scored his first career hat trick against Philly, while Jason Chimera recorded the first four-point game of his career. Against Florida, John Carlson scored his first goal of the season and Michael Latta recorded his first NHL point.

All that’s left now is for Erat to bump his slump. The Czech forward has no goals and five assists in 14 games this year, with all five of those assists coming in two games (two against Philly on Saturday, three against the Jackets on Oct. 19.)

“I have to take advantage of it,” Erat said of the opportunity to play with Ovechkin. “I have to prove I belong in the top-six forwards.”

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