#Caps lines:— JJ Regan (@JJReganCSN) May 5, 2017
Yes, that's Ovechkin on the 3rd.
On D: Orpik with Carlson. Schmidt with Shattenkirk. Orlov with Niskanen.— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 5, 2017
So, yeah, that’s Alex Ovechkin on the third line which, on its face, may seem crazy (unless you’re Tyler Dellow). But ask yourself where Ovechkin ranks among the team’s forwards in five-on-five play right now, couple it with a desire to create more offense overall (the bottom-six doesn’t have a single goal in the second round, and only Tom Wilson has potted one so far in the playoffs) while presenting some match-up difficulties and, well... guess we’ll see.
On Ovi, per @CorsicaHockey in this series: 30 5v5 CF. But 1/2 have been blocked, 2/3 haven't gotten on net, one has been a scoring chance.— Japers' Brink (@JapersRink) May 5, 2017
Ovechkin said Trotz told him he wants to spread out offense. Ovechkin said he hoped it works. Seemed to have no problem with it.— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 5, 2017
And how do the new lineys feel?
Ovechkin on changes: "It’s a just a situation where u want to switch up the lines and get better, I hope. I hope it’s going work." #CapsPens— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) May 5, 2017
More Ovi: "We here to [do] whatever it takes to get the win and move forward. I don’t think it’s to send a message or something." #CapsPens— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) May 5, 2017
Lars Eller, what do you make of playing with Ovechkin?— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 5, 2017
"It could be good. Or it could be great."
Tom Wilson on playing with Ovechkin: "The chance to play with Ovi is pretty cool."— Tommy Chalk (@Tommy_Chalk) May 5, 2017
I know Ovechkin hasn't played well, but if you're going to go down, go down with your top players. #Caps— JJ Regan (@JJReganCSN) May 5, 2017
But wait! Maybe this isn’t a demotion after all...
Trotz said putting Ovechkin on the third line was more about double shifting Ovechkin than a full blown change.— Tommy Chalk (@Tommy_Chalk) May 5, 2017
With 11 forwards, guys get double shifted. Trotz said Ovechkin is a candidate for that double shifting within the bottom six.— Tommy Chalk (@Tommy_Chalk) May 5, 2017
On the back-end, pairing Nate Schmidt and Kevin Shattenkirk is long overdue, and something Alan May suggested in the latest episode of Japers’ Rink Radio.
2. In what was perhaps a bit of a surprise this morning, Sidney Crosby (and Conor Sheary) were full participants in practice:
#Pens lines:— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 5, 2017
The D are rotating.
Crosby's absolutely taking contact. Pretty intense battle drill in the corner right in front of me.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) May 5, 2017
And if for some reason you’re wondering about it...
Rest and treatment key elements to Crosby's return to practice. Obviously, he wouldn't be out there if he was experiencing any symptoms. https://t.co/RTyL4TuZVo— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 5, 2017
So will he or won’t he?
Crosby on if he could play tomorrow: "We'll see. ... it's not really up to me." #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) May 5, 2017
Sullivan says Crosby remains "day to day."— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) May 5, 2017
Oh, one last thing - any thoughts on the hit(s), Sid?
Crosby said Ovechkin was just trying to prevent a goal with his slash. "That's pretty common." On Niskanen, "hard to say." -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 5, 2017
3. The Caps will look to avoid a third home loss in this series, something that’s actually happened to them more often than you’d think, most recently against Montreal in 2010. Prior to that, they dropped three on home ice against Tampa in 2003, Pittsburgh in 1996, New Jersey in 1988 and the Islanders in 1987.
In the Ovechkin Era, the Caps have gone 286-132-57 (a .602 win percentage) at home during the regular season (fifth-best in the League), but just 27-22 (.551) in the playoffs (15th in the NHL). Start that first sample in the first year of the span in which they made the playoffs and the Caps have gone 253-97-43 at home (.644) in the regular season, second-best in the League (behind only Pittsburgh).
No team has won more games on home ice over the last two regular seasons than the Caps (61), and yet they only have a 6-5 playoff record to show for it. This year, the Caps posted a League-best 32 wins at home... and are 2-3 on that sheet in the playoffs.
The Caps need a win on home ice to keep their season alive and send the series back to the building in which their season started. Easier said than done... but it should be easier done than it has been.