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Alex Ovechkin third line experiment does not go as plan early in Game 5


With their playoff lives on the line in Saturday’s Game 5 elimination game, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz shuffled the lineup. Trotz looking for a spark across the boards, placed the team’s captain Alex Ovechkin on the third line looking to shake things up.

The early results were not so pleasant for Washington. Ovechkin led-third line was gave up the game’s first goal. Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino found a streaking Carl Hagelin skating through the middle of the ice with a nice pass. Hagelin was able to gather the puck off his skates, slipping the puck through the crease past Capitals’ goalie Braden Holtby 10:24 into the first period.

It was a tough break for the new-look line. It certainly was not what Trotz envisioned when he made the adjustment.

The painful reality is the team that has scored the first goal of each game has went on to win every game thus far in the season. That’s not a wonderful sign for the Capitals. And it certainly gives more ammo to the Ovechkin playoffs critics.

Luckily, Trotz recognized things were not going as planned, and readjusted his lines later in the period. The result turned out much different than the game’s initial plan. Andre Burakovsky came in for Ovechkin with the third line and produced instant offense, scoring the game-tying goal with 30 seconds remaining in the first.

Hopefully, the readjustment to the adjustment is the signs of things to come for Washington as they try to stave off elimination at home in Game 5.



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