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Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 01/15/2011

Marcus Johansson's steady improvement and Capitals' latest practice lines

By Katie Carrera

Friday night in the Capitals' 4-2 loss to Vancouver, rookie center Marcus Johansson recorded his fifth point in six games while playing a season high 17 minutes and 30 seconds against team atop the NHL standings.

Johansson played more than six minutes in the third period and was out as the Capitals pulled Semyon Varlamov to gain an extra attacker in an effort to complete a comeback, responsibility that represents how well he has been playing over the last few weeks and the coaching staff's growing trust in the young Swede.

"I feel a lot more confident," Johansson said. "You get a little more confident, you do things with the puck that you don't do if you're not confident and it gets you going even more. It's been going a lot better now the last 10 games."

As the Capitals struggled to create offensive opportunities against the Canuck, a few players, including Johansson, were able to spark chances and helped Washington mount a comeback. He finished the contest with three shots -- all on net.

"We got the puck deep and we worked harder," Johansson said of the late-game success. "When we got the puck deep, we got it back and we got it to the net; that was the difference. We got them tired and that's a good way to play from the beginning."

From the Capitals' Saturday practice at KCI:
--All except the injured Eric Fehr, Tom Poti and Alexander Semin are skating. The lines and defensive pairings are as follows:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Johansson-Hendricks
Chimera-Perreault-Beagle
King-Steckel-Gordon

Schultz-Green
Alzner-Carlson
Erskine-Hannan

By Katie Carrera  | January 15, 2011; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Marcus Johansson  
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Next: Eric Fehr out 3-4 weeks with shoulder injury

Comments

It really appears we have seen the last of Semin.

Get A. Gordon up here.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 15, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble... let's stick with that, Bruce... its been working so well hasn't it?

This is getting ridiculous that BB will change every other freakin line but he keeps going back to 8-19-22 when they've shown NOTHING for months now! He changes stuff up from time to time but if the new lines dont score within the 1st 20 min he goes back to the same old crap.

Why not Ovi with MarJo? MarJo plays more of a speed game and could probably keep up with Ovi on the rush better. Let Backstrom play with some other wings and see if it helps him get going.

Posted by: chombie13 | January 15, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

and Semin was our top goal scorer, it's frustrating he misses so many games.

Posted by: Hattrik | January 15, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

They should be doing sprints for 5-6 continuous hours for wasting everyone's time last night.

Posted by: pdo3 | January 15, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Johansson has really improved this season. If GMGM trades for a 2C this year make sure it's a UFA because 90 will be ready for 2C next year. I really enjoy watching MoJo play.
Terrible time for Fehr to get hurt, he seems to be playing better & much more physical.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 15, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Glad I didn't waste my money buying tickets for last night's game. Was going to get tix for Sunday, but forget that. If the Caps aren't going to show up, why should I? Maybe fans should send a message by ending this ridiculous consecutive game sellout streak, until they demonstrate their respect for the fans. It sure wasn't there for two periods last night.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | January 15, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Cindy Crysby will miss her 5th game with concussion symptoms. If they consider whining like a baby a concussion symptom, her career is over.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 15, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

fehr is out for 4 weeks.

Posted by: samb99 | January 15, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@Hattrik: Semin's missed 6 games, playing 39. Regulars Green, Schultz, and Poti have missed more. Johansson has played 32 missing some due to injury, others as healthy scratch. Boyd Gordon has only played 24 mostly due to injury, some due to healthy scratch. Same for Matt Bradley.

Even missing 6 games, Semin still has the highest shooting percentage of a Cap regular (not a call-up or sometimes healthy scratch). He still has the most goals on the team, is 3rd in points, tied for 4th on +/- at 8, 2nd in SOG on the team, has one of our 5 SHG, and leads with 6 PPG. He is 3rd in PIMS, though (oops!). We need him back not mired in the team slump.

Posted by: Steakum | January 15, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Even reading the names on the first line bothers me.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | January 15, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

fehr is out for 4 weeks.

Posted by: samb99

Did they say what the injury was?

Posted by: sgm3 | January 15, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

sgm3....I was at the game last night and I would say he has a badly injured shoulder. After he hit Steckel (I think) his shoulder was hanging very low.

I unfortunately had surgery on both of my shoulders too and it looked to me that it came out of the socket.

Also, the sound of the collision was pretty damn loud.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 15, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

That's a lineup that will drive fear into the hearts of opponents. Maybe we'll get "lucky" and DJK will turn into an offensive juggernaut and light the lamp like Gretzky. Also let's suit up the Bench Buddha BB as a player/coach and roll to a Southeast title!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 15, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

So DJ King is skating on the fourth line.

Sadly that won't most likely happen for the rest of the season during an actual game.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | January 15, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

vermontcaps doesn't need to post anymore, DJK & Erskine are skating. If those are the actual lines Sunday, I can't wait to see his postings after the game.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 15, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the attempts at humor at the expense of the Capitals is about as weak as the Capitals PP numbers lately.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 15, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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