The second place Pittsburgh Penguins come to town tonight to play the seventh place Washington Capitals. The good news is, while there are four teams between these two in the Metro standings, the Caps aren’t far behind. The Caps trail the Penguins by only three points and have a game in hand.
NBCW has your coverage for the 7 PM game. Christopher who hails from the comments will have your recap.
|Shot Attempt %||47.7%||47.8%|
Per Isabelle, Bowey returns and it looks like we’ll have a shakeup in the forward ranks tonight:
Stephenson – Backstrom – Oshie
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – DSP
Vrana – Eller – Wilson
O’Brien – Beagle – Chiasson
Djoos – Carlson
Orpik – Bowey
Orlov – Chorney
I think the lines above are worth a shot. In fact, I kind of like them. Are Chandler Stephenson and Devante Smith-Pelly legitimate top-six players? No. But given the Caps current lack of depth, due to both injuries and roster construction, playing them in the top-six isn’t the worst idea.
Some research has shown hockey is a strong link game. What this means is it’s better to have a few elite players on your roster than a roster with more depth but less elite talent. Further, it’s better to spread out your top talent throughout the lineup as much as possible. In other words, rather than stacking one or two lines, Alex Novet’s findings tell us that “it is best to have as strong a player as possible on the ice at all times.”
It seems to me that Barry Trotz has his four best forwards paired off on the top two lines (Backstrom, Oshie, Kuznetsov, Ovechkin). After that, he has what he probably feels are his next three best forwards all together on the third line. At the very least, he has his two next best forwards (Vrana and Eller) paired off on the third line. There may be better lines to try, but switching Vrana and Stephenson is a step toward a strong link lineup.
It may not work, but it’s worth a shot.
It was drone vs toilet paper and the drone didn’t stand a chance
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Headline image: Cara Bahniuk
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