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Capitals Insider: April 13, 2008 - April 19, 2008

Knuble Out For Series

Mike Knuble, the Flyers' hero in Game 4, is out for the remainder of the series with a torn hamstring. He has two goals and three assists (but nothing today). Read my story about his injury and what it might mean for Philly's lineup here....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2008; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Caps 3, Flyers 2

Despite being out-shot 21-6 in the third period, the Caps hang on and force a Game 6. More later....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2008; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (210)
 
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Saved by the Horn

After getting an early goal from Sergei Fedorov, it appeared the Caps might cruise to a pretty easy win. Yet after watching the final 10 minutes of the second period, it's obvious that the final 20 are going to be anything but easy for the Caps. They missed a few...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2008; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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First Period Domination

If the Caps play like that for the next 40 minutes, this series is going back to Philly for a Game 6. I thought that was, by far, the Caps' best period of the playoffs -- and they've got Cristobal Huet to thank for it. If he doesn't stop Daniel...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2008; 1:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Boudreau: 'I'm not ready to go home yet'

Defenseman Jeff Schultz won't play today, so the Caps' lineup will remain the same, Coach Bruce Boudreau just confirmed. Seems like the right decision to me considering they played their best game of the playoffs Thursday in Philadelphia (despite suffering a crushing 4-3 double-OT loss). If you can't remember the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2008; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Paging Mr. Dale Hunter (Updated)

Just in case you have forgotten, missed it or were not born yet, the Caps have rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit before. And, as it just so happens, that memorable comeback came against the Flyers 20 years ago. The team sent all the media types a reminder this morning. I...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 18, 2008; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (328)
 
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So Now What?

After a spirited, well-played game, the Capitals fall in Philadelphia, 4-3, in double overtime and trail the Flyers, 3-1, in the series. So what do the Capitals have left in the tank for Game 5 back at Verizon Center? Will they fight on and unleash the fury or will this...

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  April 17, 2008; 11:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (191)
 
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Caps PK, Huet Bail Out Kozlov

That goaltender interference call on Viktor Kozlov was sketchy at best. Fortunately for him, it's now a non-factor. What about Cristobal Huet? Lots of folks were questioning him after the series' first three games -- and perhaps rightfully so. But I bet they don't have much to say now. His...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2008; 9:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (189)
 
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Eminger Strikes

I don't have much time, so I have to be (really) brief. That might have been the Caps' best period since the third period of Game 1. And how about Steve Eminger? All season long, he's been the odd man out. Now he's got a huge goal and has been...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2008; 8:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Too Much Carter

Well, the Caps still haven't been able to take a lead into an intermission. They fought back after surrendering a goal only 42 seconds in, but Jeff Carter scored his second of the night (and third of the series) with 1:27 left in the first to tie the game 2-2....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2008; 7:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (84)
 
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Tonight's Lineup for Game 4

The lineup hasn't changed from this morning's pre-game skate. Or has it? As of 5 p.m., Coach Bruce Boudreau still wouldn't say whether Sergei Fedorov or Nicklas Backstrom will center Alex Ovechkin's line tonight at Wachovia Center. Oh well, we'll know soon enough. Also, Flyers defenseman Jaroslav Modry will play...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2008; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Boudreau Sticks With Changes (Updated)

Based on the morning skate, it looks like Coach Bruce Boudreau will stick with the changes he made during yesterday's practice. That means veteran Sergei Fedorov will center the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Viktor Kozlov tonight in Game 4, and rookie Nicklas Backstrom will skate between Brooks Laich...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2008; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (275)
 
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Fedorov On Top Line (Updated)

Just got to Wachovia Center and and there's been another round of line scrambling. The biggest change involves Sergei Fedorov, who has been moved to the top line, where he's centering Alex Ovechkin and Viktor Kozlov. Fedorov has stepped in for rookie Nicklas Backstrom, who has struggled and at times...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2008; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Injury Update

Defenseman Jeff Schultz aggravated whatever injury he suffered in the regular season finale, the same undisclosed ailment that caused him to miss Game 1. Coach Bruce Boudreau called it an upper body injury, though he was seen favoring a leg as he walked gingerly out of the dressing room. The...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2008; 11:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Caps Struggle In Second, Trail 4-2

I don't have much time for analysis (I've got a game story to write, you know). But before I turn it over to you, I'll leave you with this thought: It's often said that goals allowed in the final minute of the period hurt more than the others. I think...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2008; 8:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Four Minutes to Forget

The Caps were out-played for long stretches in the first period, but they managed to hang in there. Until the final four minutes, that is. I don't remember a worse stretch since Bruce Boudreau took over. Goals by Briere, Hartnell and Kapanen will send the Flyers into the second up...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2008; 7:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Hatcher Expected to Play in Game 3

Bruce Boudreau just addressed the media--for the second time in six hours--and nothing has changed from this morning's pre-game skate. There are, however, a couple of lineup changes to report regarding the Flyers: Defenseman Derian Hatcher will play after missing a month with a broken leg, and left wing Patrick...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2008; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Boudreau Makes Changes

The Caps just hit the ice here at Wachovia Center for the morning skate and Coach Bruce Boudreau has scrambled his forward lines in an effort to spark his club after Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Flyers. You knew it was coming. Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov Laich-Fedorov-Semin Cooke-Steckel-Bradley Brashear-Gordon-Fehr That means Fleischmann, Clark,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2008; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Tarik on Washington Post Live

Here's video of Tarik's Monday night appearance on Washington Post Live -- which airs weeknights at 5 pm on Comcast SportsNet:...

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  April 14, 2008; 11:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green Cash In

Earning a spot in the playoffs wasn't the only reward for three Caps. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green also cashed in with their impressive regular season performances. Here is a rundown of Ovechkin's bonuses: He gets $984,200 in base salary and $2,850,000 in bonuses from the team. From...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2008; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Caps Audio, Video, Photos ...

Hello, Caps Insiders readers. Jon DeNunzio, sports editor at washingtonpost.com here. I wanted to make sure you saw some of the things we have online after the weekend's split vs. the Flyers: - Mike Wise video column from Sunday - Tarik El-Bashir audio analysis, looking ahead to Game 3 as...

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  April 14, 2008; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Day of Rest for Caps

Coach Bruce Boudreau called off practice today. Only the scratches and injured players skated. Chris Clark told me he's traveling and is still hoping to play at some point, but it probably won't be this week. Anyway, the players were available for interviews and I spoke to a half dozen...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2008; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (158)
 
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Milbury Apologies to Leonsis

I was covering yesterday's game, so I didn't see the NBC broadcast. But apparently Mike Milbury made some controversial comments. From majority owner Ted Leonsis's blog, Ted's Take: Evidently, Mike called the team the Washington "Crapitals" twice in his broadcast. This has upset our fans, our blogging community, our employees...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2008; 10:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Too Much Alex?

A lot of the talk after the Caps' 2-0 loss to the Flyers tonight was about Alex Ovechkin's 26:45 of ice time and whether the long shifts, especially on the power play, slowed him down later in the game. His total included 10:03 in the first period (which was more...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2008; 8:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (137)
 
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Not Much Better in the Second

As we witnessed Friday, a two-goal deficit isn't too large for the Caps to overcome. But the momentum clearly belongs to Philly after 40 minutes. The physical Flyers out-shot the Caps 14-6 in the second period and could easily be up 4-0. They also ran over Huet -- again. Do...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2008; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (120)
 
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Breakdowns Everywhere in First Period

The Caps should consider themselves fortunate to be down 2-0. They played with energy. But they didn't play smart. The defense got burned badly on the first goal. It was a nice pass by Braydon Coburn, but no one was even close to R.J. Umberger, who split John Erskine and...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2008; 2:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Schultz Will Play

The lineups were just announced and defenseman Jeff Schultz is in. That bumps Steve Eminger out. I thought Eminger played a strong game on Friday, but I'm guessing Coach Bruce Boudreau felt he needed John Erskine's toughness more....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2008; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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No Decision On Schultz -- Yet

Coach Bruce Boudreau said defenseman Jeff Schultz will take the pre-game warmup before deciding whether to play or not. So stay tuned on that one. If he does suit up, there will be a lineup change, obviously. Also, Flyers Coach John Stevens said that Patrick Thoresen won't be ready. Thoresen's...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2008; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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