The Noon Number: Shuffling the Deck Up Top

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the Caps' new-look top-six

2 - Total number of five-on-five goals for Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson over the Caps' last nine games (the trio has added just two assists over that span). As a result, presumably, Adam Oates has shaken up his top two lines ahead of tonight's game against Carolina, bumping Troy Brouwer up to the top line and Ovechkin down to the second, leaving his top two lines looking like this (well, if they were 8-bit sprites):

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Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer16-84-8_medium
Eric Fehr - Mikhail Grabovski - Alex Ovechkin

It's worth noting that with Johansson, Backstrom and Ovechkin on the ice at five-on-five, the Caps are shooting just 7.7% on the season, down from 10.6% prior to the start of the campaign; over the 433 shots the Caps have taken in those situations, that's a difference of 12.6 goals. And given how relatively well the former top-six was doing in terms of puck possession (and how relatively poorly Ovechkin and Backstrom have performed when split and how well Brouwer has done with Grabovski and Fehr), you'd forgive us for thinking that this change may be a bit drastic (and unlikely to last). Then again, two goals in nine games...

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