Dan Boyle was a healthy scratch Tuesday night for the second time in nine games.
Boyle, who was signed to quarterback the power play and is in the second season of a two-year, $9-million contract, has only two assists in 10 games.
"I think overall, I'm expecting a little quicker decisions with the puck," said Alain Vigneault, who also scratched the 39-year-old defenseman against Winnipeg on Oct. 13. "His defensive play has been good. But with the puck I need a little more from Dan. That's why we brought him here. As you get older, it's normal that you might not be as quick as you were before. So you have to adjust parts of your game. I think he realizes that and he's trying to take the steps to make some of the adjustments."
Emerson Etem was also scratched in favor of Viktor Stalberg (1-3-4), who was sidelined for two games after a head injury from Radko Gudas' high hit in Philadelphia.
With the last change at home after stoppages in play, Vigneault wanted to take advantage. Captain Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, who as a defensive pair has been asked to control Alex Ovechkin's line in the past, were assigned to that task again. "Part of it is they love that challenge," Vigneault said. "It brings out the best in them in terms of competitiveness, reads, physicality. He's a tough, tough player to play against."
Henrik Lundqvist is now one game from tying the franchise record of career regular-season and playoff appearances, held by Mike Richter with 742. He will reach that mark on the upcoming road trip, with back-to-back games in Denver and Phoenix.