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Marcus Johansson to return to Caps' lineup against Sabres

By Katie Carrera

Coach Bruce Boudreau said he intended to get rookie center Marcus Johansson back in the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday, but with Boyd Gordon expected to miss at least a week with a lower-body injury it's also a necessity.

"He's such a great skater, he's going to create things and hopefully he won't miss a beat," Boudreau said.

Johansson missed the past nine games after suffering a hip-flexor injury when he got his skate caught in a rut at TD Garden in a game against the Bruins on Oct. 21. After returning to the ice and playing in a pair of games with the Hershey Bears this past week he's ready to get back in the mix for Washington.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's not fun watching," Johansson said. "The game where I got injured I felt, for myself, it was a very good game. I got more confident as the game went on and hopefully I can keep going from there because that's the way you want to play; you want to be confident and playing good hockey all the time."

Johansson's best game, according to Boudreau, was that contest in Boston where he suffered the injury. On a line with Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin that night, Johansson's speed and passing ability led to highlight reel worthy set-ups for Semin on multiple occasions.

The line combinations have gone through some changes since that game obviously, but what is interesting about Johansson is that the Capitals haven't quite figured out which wingers he fits best with. He's played with Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr on the third and Laich and Semin (although it's now Laich and Mike Knuble) on the second, and done well with both.

"I don't know," Boudreau said when asked which line he's preferred Johansson playing on. "And I was having the same conversation with [General Manager] George [McPhee], and I haven't really figured out whether he would play with Knuble -- as it stands -- and Laich at this stage or Fehr and Chimera....I'm not worried about putting him on with either one."

By Katie Carrera  | November 12, 2010; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Buffalo Sabres, Marcus Johansson  
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Comments

I imagine Flash would have a horse in this race. How about these options

21-19-28
08-90-10
25-14-16

OR...
08-19-22
21-90-28

Posted by: RedLitYogi | November 12, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking more

8-19-28
14-90-22
16-21-25
10-39-26

Posted by: Walle | November 12, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

From what I've seen, Marcus is still in development. It's fine for him to start in the Sabres game, but you know as much as Boyd's been a good luck charm, Johansson's still got some time to go to find a clear place on this team and to really contribute on a game to game basis.

Posted by: Justafan | November 12, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Yogi, do you really think Ovie will move to the 2nd line? Really?

Posted by: chriscaps | November 12, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

What about this?

8-19-28
21-90-22
16-14-25
10-39-26

I think considering Johansson's passing abilities and speed, it could be really interesting to see him on the Laich and Knuble line. Move Flash back to center with Fehr and Chimera on the wings and then the standard Gordon-less 4th line. There's always subbing in DJ King on that 4th line too.

Posted by: gocaps99 | November 12, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

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