The three-games-from-the-mid-season mark is probably about acceptable to make some non-binding statistical conclusions about the Caps performance so far. The never-lying numbers tell us that there seems to be a clear correlation between the starting lineups and the final results. Or better to say, it does make a difference whether or not the three Young Guns play on the same line.
Right now the Caps are 21-12-5. Here's the split for the most frequent starting combinations of the first two lines (sorry, bottom six--you're out of this comparison):
There is certainly some correlation here as well: in all seven games with 14-21-22 in the starting lineup, 8-19-28 were playing together. However, it seems rather obvious that the Ovi-Backstrom-Semin combination is the most successful line so far. In fact, 19 and 28 starting together (there were two 19-21-28 cases) have even a better output of 11-1-2. On a different note, it looks kind of worrisome that putting Knuble on the first line does not work well. At least it hasn't so far.
We all have heard the endless talks about how fancy 8-19-28 become after a while and so on. I just don't buy it. What looks fancy for someone may be quite natural for somebody else. Was Semin's behind-the-back pass to MP too fancy? Should he have not tried it? And even if sometimes a fancy-shmancy thing does not work, I think the advantage of building even better understanding between the top three players heavily outweighs occasional mishaps.
..and the question is: