The Washington Capitals’ lengthy road trip has left Canada and headed westward. Monday the Caps are in Colorado to take on the high-flying Avalanche.
During the morning skate, Peter Laviolette chose to shake up his top-six forward group after scoring eight goals against the Montreal Canadiens and giving up eight goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The main movers in the lineup were TJ Oshie and Conor Sheary as they’ll flip-flop right-wing places in the top-six. Oshie’s move to the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov reunites a trio that has had scoring success in the past and was once coined the “TKO Line”.
The rest of the Caps took the ice at their morning skate in the same way they did against the Habs in the 8-4 victory. Here is how that all looks via The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
The “TKO Line” was an incredibly successful unit when they were put together during mainly the 2015-16 through 2017-18 seasons. When on the ice at five-on-five, the Caps held a 57-percent shot attempt percentage, a 62.4-percent expected goals-for percentage, a 61.9-percent scoring chance-for percentage, and a 65.2-percent high danger chance-for percentage. They also held a plus-12 goal differential.
Nicklas Backstrom will center Marcus Johansson and Conor Sheary on a somewhat questionable second line due to the fact that Lars Eller will be joined by two bonafide top-six forwards on the third in Tom Wilson and Anthony Mantha who are both red hot.
Sitting as healthy scratches again will be Connor McMichael, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Matt Irwin, and Michal Kempny. McMichael had been gaining some traction in the lineup centering the third line, but Lars Eller’s seven points in his last four games look like they will keep the rookie forward on the sidelines for now.
According to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, Ilya Samsonov will lead the team onto the ice. Samsonov had won three starts in a row until he was peppered by the Maple Leafs for four goals against on just 19 shots, Thursday. He was pulled for Vitek Vanecek in that game and was the backup against the Canadiens.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) April 18, 2022
The Avalanche are the league’s top team with 116 points from 75 games played. They have won nine contests in a row coming into Monday night’s action. The Caps have scored 20 goals in their last three games and the Avs have scored 19 in their last three so we could see some fireworks inside of Ball Arena.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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