The Washington Capitals roster has depth, all the way down to their fourth line. As they look to make a deep run this postseason, every player is expected to step up. Right now, the Capitals are being led by two Swedish-born players. One is Nicklas Backstrom, and the other is a third-line winger who ended the season with 46 points. His name is Marcus Johansson.
Johansson has come a long way since being drafted 24th overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft. He has gone through his share of slumps, but with the Stanley Cup only 14 more wins away, Johansson has exploded offensively.
In just two games played so far, Johansson has four assists and has been one of the best playmakers thus far.
“Marcus is a very intelligent player,” head coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Times. “He’s got great speed. Right now, he’s feeling it, in terms of the apples, the assists that you get. He’s finding people open.”
Johansson currently skates alongside Jason Chimera and Mike Richards, and he will stay in that spot Monday, when the Capitals head to Wells Fargo Center for Game 3. However, it is not on the third line where he has really shined; it is when the Capitals are on the man advantage that Johansson goes into beast-mode. He is in part responsible for all of Washington’s power-play tallies this postseason, and continues to play a huge part.
One thing that is troublesome is acknowledging the fact that he has yet to register a shot on goal this postseason. despite the fact that he hasn’t registered a single shot on goal this entire postseason. In fact, the last time he recorded a shot was on April 7 against Pittsburgh.
Despite that fact, the Swedish winger understands that he needs to just play his role and step it up in order to help Washington close in on the Cup.
“You can’t really think about,” Johansson said to the Washington Post. “It’s playoffs. I mean, you have just go out and do your work and do what you can do, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) April 18, 2016
The Capitals will try to take a 3-0 series lead Monday in Philadelphia. Above are Washington’s line combinations from Monday’s morning skate. Braden Holtby will start in net.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.