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Capitals Insider: April 5, 2009 - April 11, 2009

Erskine: 'We Weren't All Into It'

Before tonight's game, Bruce Boudreau spoke about the importance of the Caps putting together a crisp, convincing win over the Panthers and catapulting themselves into the playoffs with momentum. Instead, Jose Theodore and his teammates will enter next week's Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Rangers coming off one of their...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 11, 2009; 11:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (114)
 
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Panthers 7, Capitals 4

Update: The Penguins beat the Canadiens, 3-1, which means the Caps' first-round playoff opponent is officially the New York Rangers. Jose Theodore and the Caps could have used an adrenaline-boosting victory tonight in their final game of the regular season, but the out-of-contention Florida Panthers wouldn't hear of it, highlighting...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 11, 2009; 9:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Panthers

Jose Theodore will start the Caps' final game of the regular season tonight at BankAtlantic Center. Tomas Vokoun, meantime, will start for the postseason-less Panthers. For additional info on tonight's matchup -- stuff like milestones and injury updates -- read my earlier post here. Here's the rest of Washington's lineup:...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 11, 2009; 5:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (191)
 
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Frozen Four: Miami Extras and Championship Saturday

The Caps visit the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m., and Tarik will post tonight's lineup a bit later. Until then, here's some more on the NCAA Championship, which is here in D.C. tonight at Verizon Center: If you haven't already, check out today's story on Miami's quest to win the...

By Katie Carrera  | April 11, 2009; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Caps 'Business as Usual' in Regular-Season Finale

Although it can't affect their playoff status, Coach Bruce Boudreau said the Caps are approaching tonight's regular-season finale against the Panthers with a "business as usual" attitude for four reasons: They want to play well in front of Jose Theodore so he has a solid performance and has confidence entering...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 11, 2009; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Caps Look to End Regular Season on a High Note

While the Caps' players were awarded a day off to unwind in Florida, the team's coaches (and the Washington Post's hockey writer) turned their focus to prepping for the playoffs. Here's an early look at Tarik's story for tomorrow's Post: The Capitals, who on Thursday night clinched the second seed...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 10, 2009; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (78)
 
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Frozen Four Extras: The Big Bad Terriers

While the Caps take the day to recharge their batteries, here's some more on the Frozen Four: With all the attention that has been paid to the three teams people may not have picked in their Frozen Four bracket to reach Verizon Center, Boston University seems to have been made...

By Katie Carrera  | April 10, 2009; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Caps Take the Day Off in Florida

Just heard from Tarik in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, where it's a pretty low-key day for the Caps. Coach Bruce Boudreau held a five-minute team meeting to tell his players to rest up for tomorrow night's game (and the playoffs, which will most likely start on either Wednesday or Thursday at...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 10, 2009; 12:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
 
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Poll: Rangers or Canadiens?

With a 4-2 victory over the Lightning last night, the Caps clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and hit a few other milestones as well. Now comes the tough part: waiting to find out who'll get the No. 7 seed and visit Verizon Center to kick off...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 10, 2009; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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Morning Reading List: Caps Clinch No. 2 Seed

(Steve Nesius - The Associated Press) The Capitals set a franchise record with 108 points and tied another with their 50th win of the season. But most importantly, they clinched the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference and must now wait to see if they play Montreal or...

By Katie Carrera  | April 10, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Up Next For Caps: Montreal or New York

Tonight's game couldn't have gotten off to worse start. But it couldn't have had a sweeter ending for the Caps. Brooks Laich (two goals) and Co. bounced back from surrendering a goal just 36 seconds in and clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference with an historic 4-2 victory...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 10, 2009; 12:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Capitals 4, Lightning 2

Brooks Laich scored twice, hitting a career-high 22 goals on the season, and Washington sewed up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum. With their 11th straight victory over the lowly Lightning, the Caps...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 9, 2009; 9:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Lightning

Jose Theodore will start in goal tonight as the Caps aim to set a franchise record for points in a season, tie the mark for most wins and clinch second overall in the Eastern Conference. A win would give them 108 points and 50 wins.The banged-up Lightning, meantime, are expected...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 9, 2009; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (247)
 
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Update: Caps Interested in Winter Classic

I'm told the Caps have indeed expressed interest in participating in The Winter Classic. But as of this afternoon, according to team sources, the league had not communicated to the Caps whether they are, in fact, a finalist or even being considered for next year's game. A league official told...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 9, 2009; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Caps to Play in Winter Classic?

The Boston Globe is reporting that the Bruins will play in this year's Winter Classic at Fenway Park, and their opponent could be the Caps: According to a source familiar with the negotiations on the players' side, the NHL has given the Bruins the go-ahead to play this year's Winter...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 9, 2009; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Poti, Brashear Sidelined Tonight

Tom Poti (groin) and Donald Brashear (knee) will be out again tonight as the Caps attempt to clinch the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. All they need is a point against the injury-depleted Lightning (or a point lost by New Jersey in Ottawa). "With the playoffs coming next...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 9, 2009; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Morning Reading List: Caps Confident in Varlamov's Progress

(Mike Carlson - The Associated Press) With another win under his belt, Simeon Varlamov appears to be on -- maybe even ahead -- of the schedule the Capitals saw when they drafted him in 2006. Even with his biggest strengths -- willingness to challenge shooters and a "you have...

By Katie Carrera  | April 9, 2009; 7:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Brashear, Poti Questionable

I haven't posted a practice updated because, well, there was no practice today. With the playoffs about a week away, Coach Bruce Boudreau opted to give his players the day off to rest and relax. (There was a mandatory team meeting at St. Pete Times Forum, but it lasted only...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 8, 2009; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
 
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Frozen Four: Bemidji Extras

In the past few days, I had the chance to talk to several members of the Bemidji State hockey team, which arrived in D.C. yesterday and practices this morning at Verizon Center. But there were also plenty of things I had to leave out of the hard-copy edition, so here's...

By Katie Carrera  | April 8, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Morning Reading List: Varlamov as Backup?

(Gregory Smith - The Associated Press) Simeon Varlamov made another strong case to be named Jose Theodore's backup in the playoffs with his 29-save performance against the Thrashers. The rookie netminder improved to 4-0-1 with a strong showing in the second and third periods to ensure the Capitals would...

By Katie Carrera  | April 8, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Fleischmann Feeling 'The Mojo'

Simeon Varlamov needed a big performance to show the coaching staff that he's ready to be the Caps' backup in the playoffs. Well, he certainly delivered one. Varlamov was arguably the best player on the ice tonight as the Caps edged the Thrashers, 4-2, at Philips Arena. The 20-year-old stopped...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 7, 2009; 11:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Kovalchuk: 'Ovie, Next Time, Call Me'

The Atlanta Thrashers may be one of the worst teams in the NHL, but they definitely schooled Alex Ovechkin on the big screen tonight at Philips Arena with the following "PSA" about hockey players doing bad commercials: Tarik reports that everyone in the building was laughing, the Eastern Motors superstar...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 7, 2009; 10:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
 
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Capitals 4, Thrashers 2

Rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov continued to impress in only his fifth NHL game, making 29 saves to lift the Caps over the Thrashers in Atlanta, 4-2. The 20-year-old is now 4-0-1. Alex Ovechkin had two assists to make his points total for the season 108, but Evgeni Malkin also added...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 7, 2009; 9:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Live Game Chat: Caps at Thrashers

Join Katie Carrera as she watches along on Comcast SportsNet: Live Game Chat: Caps at Thrashers...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 7, 2009; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Thrashers

Simeon Varlamov will start in net tonight for the Caps and is expected to oppose Ondrej Pavelec. As I mentioned earlier, defenseman Tom Poti (precautionary, groin) and will sit this one out, as will left wing Donald Brashear (sprained left knee). Coach Bruce Boudreau, meantime, has also stirred up his...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 7, 2009; 5:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Live Chat Tonight: Capitals at Thrashers (Again)

Join The Post's Katie Carrera here on the Insider for our second-ever live game chat tonight when the Caps take on the Thrashers at Philips Arena. If you missed Katie's first chat (coincidentally, also during a Thrashers game), check out the transcript here. In other Katie-related news, here's an early...

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 7, 2009; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Poti Out Tonight

Defenseman Tom Poti won't suit up tonight in Atlanta and will instead rest the groin muscle that's dogged him most of the season. Poti said the injury, which has forced him to the sideline three times for a total of 26 games, started to bother him again about two weeks...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 7, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Alzner Unlikely to Join Caps for Playoffs

Barring an injury, it doesn't appear that defenseman Karl Alzner will be returning to Washington for the start of the playoffs, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau. "With seven [defensemen] here, I don't think it would be prudent to take [the Bears] and decimate them like that," Boudreau said. "I would...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 7, 2009; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Brashear 'Very Doubtful'

It doesn't look like Donald Brashear (sprained left knee) will return to the lineup tonight as previously thought/hoped, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau, who called the enforcer "very doubtful" to face the Thrashers. If he doesn't return, that means Boudreau will get another look at call-up Keith Aucoin. I'll have...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 7, 2009; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Morning Reading List: Aucoin's Big Chance

(Bruce Bennett - Getty Images) Keith Aucoin is making the most of his time with the Capitals, whether by bringing energy or making sure he's on Alex Ovechkin's good side by knocking the puck in the net the first time he received a pass from the reigning MVP....

By Katie Carrera  | April 7, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Varlamov to Start in Atlanta

Simeon Varlamov will start in Atlanta tomorrow night -- and it could be an important one for 20-year-old. The question of which goaltender -- Varlamov or Brent Johnson -- will be Jose Theodore's backup in the playoffs still has not been answered. Yet, that is. Johnson, once again, faced shots...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 6, 2009; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (155)
 
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McPhee on Aucoin: 'Next Year, We Hope He Sticks'

Because Donald Brashear is still hobbled by a sprained left knee, Keith Aucoin is going to travel with the Caps on their upcoming road trip, which begins tomorrow night in Atlanta, Coach Bruce Boudreau said this morning after a very optional practice at KCI. With five points in his past...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 6, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Morning Reading List: Secondary Scorers Emerge

(John McDonnell - The Washington Post) Five out of the Capitals' six goals in yesterday's 6-4 win over the Thrashers came from players not named Alex, as Washington received a timely secondary-scoring surge to take sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. Of those goal-scorers though, it...

By Katie Carrera  | April 6, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Aucoin a Keeper?

Keith Aucoin has not guaranteed himself a spot on the Caps' roster for the playoffs yet. But if he keeps playing like he did today, it's only a matter of time before that happens. Aucoin, all 5 feet 8, 165 pounds of him, was arguably the Caps' best player on...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 5, 2009; 8:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Capitals 6, Thrashers 4

Eric Fehr scored 5:04 into the third period to help lift the Caps to a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers in their final home game of the regular season. Alexander Semin sealed the win on a nice pass from Tomas Fleischmann, and the Caps cruised from that point on....

By Lindsay Applebaum  | April 5, 2009; 5:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (78)
 
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Today's Lineup: Thrashers at Caps (Updated)

Jose Theodore is expected to start in goal as the Caps close out the home portion of their regular season schedule this afternoon against the surging (but still in 13th place) Thrashers. Johan Hedberg, meantime, is expected to start for Atlanta. Sergei Fedorov is still expected to play, but Coach...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | April 5, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (232)
 
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