In what could be a response to ongoing injury concerns or a clever bit of gamesmanship, Caps Head Coach Barry Trotz is switching up his line combinations at practice before the Caps take on the New York Rangers.
Mike Vogel reports that Tom Wilson tried out Jay Beagle’s first-line wing spot at practice on Monday, while TJ Oshie is practicing with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller on the third line.
#Caps practice lines: 8-19-43, 90-92-14, 10-20-77, 26-83-82.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) February 27, 2017
The interesting line combos could signal that Oshie isn’t quite ready to return after an upper-body injury kept him out of the lineup on Friday and Saturday. Or it could mean Trotz is trying to spread talent around with Andre Burakovsky on injured reserve with a broken hand.
They could also signal Trotz is looking to reward Wilson, who has goals in both games Oshie has missed and has three goals in his last six games. Trotz may be hoping Wilson’s heat transfers to Ovechkin, who recorded his third shotless game of the month Saturday against Nashivlle.
The trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Wilson has played 305 minutes together in their careers with a 54.8 shot attempt percentage. Oshie, Eller and Connolly have never skated together, but in 75 minutes as a pair, Oshie and Eller have recorded a 63.4 shot attempt percentage.
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