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CAPITALS: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom On Top Line Wednesday

By ZAC BOYER | | @ZacBoyer

ARLINGTON – Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom skated together on the top line Wednesday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex – a likely sign the Washington Capitals’ top two offensive players could be together for Game 3 against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Ovechkin and Backstrom have not been together on a line since the end of the regular season, when Backstrom played the last four games following a 40-game absence because of a concussion.

Capitals head coach Dale Hunter would not confirm the move, saying only that “we just threw them out there for practice.” Both players, however, acknowledged they’ll be together.

“I think we have chemistry, it’s not a secret,” Ovechkin said. “He can control the puck in the neutral zone and skate and find me in open spots. He’s a top center in the league, I’ve played with him and it’s nice.”

“We should know each other,” Backstrom said. “We’ve been playing with each other a long time. We’ve got to go out there and do our job out there and make sure we get our chances with the puck and work hard and do all those little things for our team.”

Brooks Laich had been the top-line center through the first nine games of the playoffs, with Backstrom on the second line, typically centering Jason Chimera and Alexander Semin.

Backstrom had the assist off a faceoff win on both of Ovechkin’s postseason game-winners – first in Game 2 against the Rangers on Monday, though it was on the power play, and in Game 6 of the first-round series against Boston, when Ovechkin stopped Backstrom’s pass with his left skate and put it into the net.

“I’ve just been lucky to take draws and two good shots by Ovi,” Backstrom said. “Other than that, we haven’t played together much, but we’re looking forward to it. It’s gonna be fun.”


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