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Alex Ovechkin shifted to third line for Capitals heading into Game 5

Washington captain practiced with Lars Eller, Tom Wilson prior to playing Penguins

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin was moved from the top line to the third line at Washington Capitals practice Friday.

Washington is down 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round. Game 5 is at Verizon Center on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Ovechkin was critical of his performance in Game 4, which the Capitals lost 3-2 on Wednesday. He had two shots on goal and two attempts blocked in 19:37 of ice time.

The left wing has four points (one goal, three assists) in the series, and 10 shots on goal, fifth on the Capitals.

 

[RELATED: Complete Capitals-Penguins series coverage]

 

At practice Friday, he was wearing a white jersey, which the bottom-six forwards wear, instead of the red jersey worn by top-six forwards, and took line rushes with center Lars Eller and right wing Tom Wilson. Andre Burakovsky skated in Ovechkin's spot as the top-line left wing with center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing T.J. Oshie.

"I don't think we had success as a [line] in that game, so I hope [the line change] is going to work," Ovechkin said. "I hope it's going to work well and we're going to produce and we're going to score and we're going to win."

Ovechkin remained on the top power play based on drills and suggested that the move was to spread out the scoring rather than a demotion.

"It's playoffs, why do you have to send a message?" Ovechkin said. "It's not a good time to send a message. We're 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."

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