BALLSTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals held their last full practice before Christmas Thursday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The personnel on the forward lines remained the same as they were Tuesday in the Caps' 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators, but there was one noticeable difference.
Alex Ovechkin, who normally wears a red jersey -which denotes the first line - during practice, wore a gray jersey on the second line with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer. Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin, Tuesday's second line, was the first line in practice:
Johnasson - Backstrom - Semin
Ovechkin - Laich - Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Mathieu Perreault - Mike Knuble - Jay Beagle
While it's odd to see Ovechkin on any line but the top one, head coach Dale Hunter didn't think much of it.
"I don't read that much into it," he said. "Alex played well on that line and [Backstrom] played well, so both lines were going and that's what we need."
Hunter, however, did confirm that Michal Neuvirth will earn his fourth consecutive start Friday against the New Jersey Devils. Tomas Vokoun has not played in four straight games, making it the first time since late March/early April 2009 that he will sit out of four straight while healthy.
Meanwhile, Mike Green skated for about 35 minutes before and during the beginning of Thursday's practice, even taking part in some line rushes. Green has yet to play since injuring his right groin against the Devils November 11, but has skated for four consecutive days.
"It's just a matter of time now," Hunter said of Green's return. "I see him out here. It's a good feeling for the team."