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Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom Will Be On Separate Lines - Does It Matter?

It happens around this time every year. Bruce Boudreau is trying to find his best lineup before the stretch leading up to the NHL playoffs.

According to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, for tonight's game between the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Knuble will make up one line for the Capitals, and Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, and Alex Ovechkin will be on another.

How is this likely to affect Washington's chances? Neil Greenberg of Russian Machine Never Breaks did some statistical analysis on what it means to split Ovechkin and Backstrom onto seperate lines, and the results might surprise you. Because there isn't much statistical significance to it.

Greenberg may have found a tear in the Matrix though. A Backstrom-Ovechkin-Laich line has about 86% of scoring chances in their favor, and would score an average of over six goals per 60 minutes of ice time.

There is some good news about tonight's lineup. According to Greenberg, the Ovechkin-Laich-Johansson line has conceded only one scoring chance in 17 minutes of ice time this season. We'll see if they can keep that up tonight.