After only scoring eight even-strength goals through seven games and losing three of four during a season-long five-game homestand, coach Adam Oates, who had been patient despite his team's offensive struggles, rearranged his forward lines and defensive pairings.
"I know we talk a lot about chemistry and that's important," Oates said following practice Friday. "I just felt that a couple guys weren't playing good enough for the minutes they're getting, and they need to know that."
Martin Erat will see his first top-six action of the season after averaging less than nine minutes per game on the fourth line, joining the second line with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer. Mikhail Grabovski will center the third line and Eric Fehr will play in the middle on the fourth line.
"Maybe a little bit," Volpatti said when asked if playing for the first time since Sept. 28 will provide more of a challenge. "The [preseason's] long but it's been a couple weeks. You stay pretty sharp practicing every day and stuff. Obviously games are different, but it hasn't been a concern to me."
On defense, John Carlson and Karl Alzner will be reunited after being separated early last season. Rookie Nate Schmidt will skate alongside Mike Green, and Alexander Urbom and Steve Oleksy will be paired together.
John Erskine will miss his fourth straight game with what the Capitals are calling an upper-body injury, but Oates said he hopes the rugged defenseman will return at some point during the team's upcoming five-game road trip, which begins Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.
Here are the lineups the Capitals and visiting Blue Jackets likely will use Saturday:
Scratched: Jay Beagle