With a comfortable five-goal advantage over the Florida Panthers heading into the third period Thursday night at Verizon Center, Coach Adam Oates took advantage of the rare opportunity to manage the ice time of the entire lineup.
In this compressed season, there’s precious little time for rest and recovery, especially for those players who carry heavy workloads with upwards of 20 minutes of ice time each night. So when the Capitals jumped out to the comfortable lead in the first of three games in four days this weekend, Oates wasn’t going to let the chance slip by.
He rolled four lines and gave extra minutes to role players. No player saw fewer than 12 minutes and only two – Steve Oleksy and Tomas Kundratek – played more than 20 minutes.
“That was probably the best thing about the game,” Oates said, “Is that in the big picture, hopefully those minutes matter down the road.”