After losing two in a row in kind of stunning fashion, Adam Oates has changed up his lines for Saturday’s big game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Martin Erat is expected to be a healthy scratch, and Eric Fehr will make his first appearance since November 2nd.
Those lines, based on reports from Mike Vogel and the assumption that the 4th line will be unchanged:
Johansson – Backstrom – Ovechkin
Fehr – Grabovski – Brouwer
Chimera – Laich – Ward
Volpatti – Latta – Wilson
Martin Erat is the third-strongest forward when measured by both possession and on-ice goal percentage. This will be his first healthy scratch of the season. For the record, Troy Brouwer is the team’s weakest forward in possession– kind of stunning for a second-line player– but his goal percentage is even (7 goals for, 7 goals against) thanks to the team-high save percentage his goalies offer when he’s on the ice: .956.
The incredibly productive third line of Chimera-Grabo-Ward has been broken up, promoting Grabo to 2C in time for a game against the team that bought him out over the summer. Brooks Laich takes his place at 3c.
Returning Eric Fehr to the lineup is a welcome change, but at the cost of Martin Erat is …odd.