Photo: Amanda Bowen
With the final preseason game in the books for the Capitals, the team’s opening night line-up is shaping up: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Eric Fehr will be on the top line. Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer will man the second. Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and Joel Ward will be on the third. The fourth line looks set, though scrappy free-agree invitee Liam O’Brien looks to have earned his way into a contract with Hershey or a two-way deal. Michael Latta, though, appears ready to play alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line. That might change when Jay Beagle comes back from injury.
“That would be a question for Mac[Lellan],” Trotz said of O’Brien. “He’s been as good as anybody especially in that role.”
“He’s a player that demanded to be noticed,” the coach added.
19-year-old rookie Andre Burakovsky appears to have also made the team, beating top prospect Kuznetsov to center the team’s second line. At least initially.
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 5, 2014
Meanwhile, the defense seems set once Mike Green returns. He looks to be on track for Thursday.
“It’s pretty close,” said Trotz of Green’s return. ”I’ll have a real clear picture in the next two days. I let you guys know probably the night before.”
The current pairs are Brooks Orpik and John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen, and Jack Hillen and Nate Schmidt. The only question is who the Capitals keep up here to be their seventh defenseman. It could be Steve Oleksy, who would have to clear waivers to be sent down, or Schmidt, who played tonight. Eventually, the team will need to make room for Dmitry Orlov in the lineup.
“It’s probably the way we’ll start,” said Trotz. “I think that’s pretty close to the lineup, maybe one or two tweaks.”
“You saw the lines today,” he added.
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