Daniel Sprong was a healthy scratch Thursday for the Capitals’ 1-0 shootout win over the New York Islanders, a game that saw Alex Ovechkin sustain a lower-body injury and miss the overtime period. Yet when head coach Peter Laviolette found out he was going to be without Ovechkin again Saturday, he gave Sprong an opportunity by inserting him in Ovechkin’s spot on the first line.
Sprong responded by scoring two goals on three shots as the Capitals won their second of three straight games against New York, this time by a score of 6-3. Laviolette joined 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Monday and talked about how Sprong’s ability to slide in for Ovechkin kept the team on track.
“When we knew we were going to have to change the lineup, I didn’t wanna mess the lines up,” Laviolette said. “I wanted to leave Nick [Backstrom’s] line alone and Lars [Eller’s] line alone and Nic Dowd’s line alone. They were good and so Spronger for me is a type of person who probably belongs on a top-two line and not necessarily like a fourth line, the checking line. He’s got the ability to score goals and so one came out and one went in. It was really that simple.
“I thought the line was good, obviously he contributed with a couple goals but I thought the line was good as well…it accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was not disturb the whole lineup and let those guys continue to work on their lines and insert Spronger where Ovi was playing and have him do a job and I thought he did it.”