Brooks Laich’s wonky groin will keep him out for a third consecutive game on Tuesday when Washington hosts Carolina at Verizon — but his absence might not be as negative as first thought.
Since Laich’s injury, the Caps are 2-0-0 with wins over Montreal and the Islanders, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process. According to head coach Adam Oates, the Caps’ ability to keep within their system regardless of who’s in the lineup is the key to success.
“I keep reinforcing that there’s only a certain way to play,” Oates told the Washington Post. “You’ve got to give yourself those chances because it’s an 82-game schedule. A lot of different things can happen. We’re seeing that on a night-to-night basis. They all know that. They’ve just got to be reminded of that.”
Laich’s absence forced Oates to shuffle the deck, and it appears some chemistry came from it.
The new-look third line of Jay Beagle, Joel Ward and Jason Chimera was extremely aggressive in the wins over the Habs and Isles while Mikhail Grabovski and Eric Fehr — who connected on the second line prior to Laich getting hurt — have also looked good, combining for five points in last two games.