BALLSTON, Va. - For the last two seasons, the Washington Capitals' first line has been their most consistent. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble have had much success as a unit, but throughout this summer's training camp, those three were rarely together. Whether it be Marcus Johansson replacing Backstrom or Troy Brouwer replacing Knuble, the Caps' most recognizable line was no longer together.
Yet, in recent days, Ovechkin, Backstrom and Knuble have all donned their typical red jerseys during practice. Even with Ovechkin's absence due to the loss of a family member, Backstrom and Knuble skated together Tuesday at Wednesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. After practice, head coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that his top three skaters are really meant to be.
"I always think that Nicky and Alex in the end are meant for each other, so to speak." Boudreau said. "So that's a fit and who knows, Mike has been on that line for two years and I think he's the best early fit."
Johansson skated on the wing with Backstrom and Knuble Wednesday, while Brouwer skated with Mathieu Perreault and Alexander Semin on the second line. Meanwhile, the third line of Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward and the fourth line of Matt Hendricks, Jeff Halpern and Jay Beagle have continued to work together and should stay intact.