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Capitals to keep new lines intact vs. Devils

Ovechkin, Burakovsky switch places in lineup

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

DEVILS (29-23-7) at CAPITALS (42-10-4) 

TV: 7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-DC, NHL.TV 

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals will stick with their changes to the top six for a second consecutive game when they play the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center on Saturday.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz flipped left wingers Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky on the top two lines Thursday, a 3-2 overtime win at the New York Islanders.

 

Forward Justin Williams and center Evgeny Kuznetsov are now playing with Ovechkin, and Burakovsky with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

"There's no top line, absolutely not," Williams said. "I don't think it matters who anybody plays with, to be honest with you. Everything is interchangeable, is what it feels like. I know we can play with anybody and when you believe that, that's good for the team."

Trotz said he shuffled the top two lines Thursday because he felt the Capitals were lacking creativity, and agreed that part of their success this season is the ability for each player to adapt to playing with different linemates. Though the lines have remained fairly constant, Trotz thinks it builds chemistry when that does happen.

"I think it allows players to grow and understand each other better and all those things," Trotz said. "When you go through the dog days it's important that you move people around a little bit and we've done that. I think guys appreciate what other guys bring to the table and they know they can make it work."

The Devils didn't hold a morning skate Saturday but could go with goaltender Cory Schneider for the second game of their back-to-back. Schneider made 23 saves in a 1-0 loss to the Islanders Friday, and the Devils are desperate for points, already 0-2-0 to start their stretch of five straight games against the Metropolitan Division.

Schneider is tied with Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford for the most starts in the NHL (49).

Here are the projected lineups:

DEVILS

Joseph Blandisi - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak
 
Reid Boucher - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Sergey Kalinin - Jacob Josefson - Tyler Kennedy

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - David Schlemko

Seth Helgeson - Jon Merrill

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Michael Cammalleri (right hand), Stefan Matteau (facial fracture), Patrik Elias (right knee), Jiri Tlusty (right wrist)

Scratched: Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Gelinas, Damon Severson
  
CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson

Brooks Laich - Mike Richards - Michael Latta

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Jay Beagle (upper body)

Scratched: Stanislav Galiev, Taylor Chorney

Status update: For the first time since he was injured December 30, Beagle skated with the team on Saturday. He's not taking contact yet, but Trotz said Beagle could return to the lineup in the next seven to 10 days. 
Who's hot: Williams has four points in his past three games. … Zajac has seven points in his past 10 games against the Capitals.

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