Johansson returns a different player

Johansson returns a different player
March 10, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals sort through Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers:

Finding his MoJo: Marcus Johansson returned to the lineup after missing 12 straight games with an apparent concussion. Johansson centered a third line with Joel Ward and Jason Chimera and in 15:12 of ice time he recorded one assist, one shot, one hit and two takeaways.

“I thought he was one of our best players,” Caps coach Adam Oates said. “It looked like maybe that hit in training camp really did affect him because he didn’t look like what I saw on tape [in his first nine games].”

Oates apparently was referring to the collision Johansson had with Alex Ovechkin during training camp drills. Johansson did not miss any action after the hit. He was ineffective in his first four games of the season, was a healthy scratch for two more games, and was ineffective again for five more games before being removed from the lineup.

Oates also decided to play Aaron Volpatti and made Wojtek Wolski and Mathieu Perreault healthy scratches.

More injury news: John Erskine [upper body] skated warmups but did not play. Jeff Schultz took his spot on a second defense pairing with John Carlson and logged 16:28 in ice time. Oates said Erskine saw the team doctor before the game but did not have a medical report on him after the game.

Killed on the kill: The Caps surrendered another power-play goal on Sunday on two attempts. They have now allowed a league-high 23 power-play goals and have surrendered at least one power-play goal in 14 of their first 24 games. They rank 29th in the NHL at 75.5 percent.

“I think some of the guys are tired and making bad reads,” Oates said. “And we need saves once in a while. It’s a lot of things.”

Biron on Ovi: Alex Ovechkin took a lot of heat for committing back-to-back penalties that led to goals, but Rangers goalie Martin Biron said he thought the Capitals captain was one of the most effective players on the ice Sunday.

“I personally think he was maybe their most dangerous player today,” Biron said. “He had some really good looks and one-timers. He came on our D a couple of times with a lot of speed, hung onto it and he had me beat one time with a pass [across the crease] and I got my pad on it. But he was dangerous out there.”

Day off: After playing three games in four days the Caps Oates decided to give his players the day off on Monday as they rest up for back-to-back games against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday and Thursday.