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Capitals Insider: April 11, 2010 - April 17, 2010

Backstrom, Ovechkin combine for eight points

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom helped bail out the Capitals on Saturday night, combining for eight points highlighted by Backstrom's winner in overtime that completed a hat trick for the first-line center. They also had enough energy after the victory that while waiting for Coach Bruce Boudreau to finish his...

By Gene Wang  |  April 17, 2010; 11:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Poti the pugilist

Tom Poti isn't exactly known around the league as a fighter, but the defenseman's exchange of blows with Montreal center Scott Gomez helped to energize the team and the crowd during a 6-5 overtime victory that tied the series at one game apiece. "I think maybe after the fight a...

By Gene Wang  |  April 17, 2010; 11:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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John Carlson helps save the day

Three months removed from his game-winning overtime goal in the world junior championships, defenseman John Carlson played the hero Saturday night, scoring with 1 minute 21 seconds to play to force overtime in a 6-5 victory. "It's unbelievable," said Carlson, whose goal erased a 4-1 deficit and helped Washington even...

By Gene Wang  |  April 17, 2010; 11:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Caps pull one out of their hat in 6-5 OT win

Nicklas Backstrom completed a hat trick 31 seconds into overtime to give the Caps a crucial Game 2 victory over the Habs before the series heads to Montreal. Read more in Tarik's gamer. Much more to come soon, but in the meantime, check out some photos of the scene at...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 17, 2010; 10:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Capitals behind, 4-2, after two periods

The Capitals did not have the same energy level in the second period, and Montreal capitalized on a goal by Andrei Kostitsyn at 11 minutes 6 seconds. Forward Michael Cammelleri set up the goal by controlling the puck behind the Capitals net, then delivering a backhanded pass to Kostitsyn, who...

By Gene Wang  |  April 17, 2010; 8:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (329)
 
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Capitals trail Canadiens, 2-1, after first period

Despite an aggressive start by the Capitals to open Game 2 against Montreal, , they found themselves down 2-0 on just two shots. The first goal came off the stick of Brian Gionta, who beat starting goalie Jose Theodore from just above the left faceoff circle one minute into the...

By Gene Wang  |  April 17, 2010; 7:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (221)
 
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Tonight's lineup: Canadiens at Caps

Based on warmups, it looks like Coach Bruce Boudreau, who was unusually uptight pregame, is going to use the same lineup that took the ice this morning at KCI. Jose Theodore will start in goal and oppose Jaroslav Halak in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The rest of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2010; 6:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (130)
 
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Knuble: 'This isn't the regular season'

A few more notes and quotes from the morning skate: *Brendan Morrison, by all appearances, will return to the lineup. Based on the morning skate, he'll be the second line center between Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin - neither of whom recorded a point with Tomas Fleischmann centering them in...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Ovechkin aims to bounce back

Alex Ovechkin took full responsibility for his shot-less effort in Game 1 on Friday morning, then the two-time MVP spent the rest of the day trying to decompress and think about anything but hockey. Ovechkin said he walked around Georgetown with some buddies who are in town visiting. He had...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2010; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Caps' potential lineup for Game 2

Based on the morning skate, Coach Bruce Boudreau appears to have made some changes to his lineup after Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1. The one constant appears to be in goal: Jose Theodore is set to return to the net and will be backed up by Semyon Varlamov....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 17, 2010; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Boudreau discusses possible lineup changes

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau would not reveal if he would be tinkering with his lineup for tonight's Game 2 against Montreal, but he did offer some clues during his media session before the team's morning skate at KCI. Among the players Boudreau discussed were forwards Scott Walker and Brendan Morrison,...

By Gene Wang  |  April 17, 2010; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Boudreau on power play: 'We're just off'

Alex Ovechkin's struggles weren't all Coach Bruce Boudreau sounded a tad bit concerned about this morning. He was also expressed some worry about his team's power play, which took 10 shots but finished 0-for-4 on Thursday, extending its stretch of futility. Including the final two games of the regular season,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2010; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (135)
 
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Ovechkin on loss: 'It's all about me'

As expected, Alex Ovechkin and his shot-less, point-less effort Thursday night was the center of attention this morning at KCI. Ovechkin, like many of his top-minute teammates, did not go on the ice at all today. But he was available to reporters and predictably shouldered the blame for his performance...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2010; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
 
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Many Caps take their option after Game 1 loss

Today's practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex was lightly attended -- no Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom or Jose Theodore. Tarik just talked to players and will have an update soon. In the meantime, it's time for a quick, unscientific poll. The Caps did a lot right in Game 1....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 16, 2010; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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A stunning beginning: Caps drop opener

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post) Canadiens 3, Caps 2 (OT): Montreal's Tomas Plekanec slips one past Jose Theodore at 13:19 in overtime to steal Game 1 of the first-round series from the Capitals. Just another playoff-opening upset. Story by Tarik El-Bashir » *Mike Wise: For the Capitals, Game 1 of...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 16, 2010; 5:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
 
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Ovechkin struggles, Caps drop playoff opener

Coach Bruce Boudreau summed up tonight's events perfectly with the following statement: "Our best players weren't our best players tonight and their best players were." Indeed, Michael Cammalleri, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec were great. Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Green and Tomas Fleischmann (nine total shots, combined...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2010; 1:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Jose Theodore on Montreal's winning goal

Washington Capitals goalie Jose Theodore played well enough to win tonight, but Montreals Jaroslav Halak was just a bit better, and that coupled with Tomas Plekanec's goal allowed the Canadiens to pull out a 3-2 overtime victory at Verizon Center. "Tomas was skating across, and I kind of lost him...

By Gene Wang  |  April 15, 2010; 11:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Live: Chat about the Caps' Game 1 loss

Post reporter Gene Wang is chatting NOW about the Caps' playoff-opening overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center. Go here to join the conversation. Also, here are some photos from the game. Check back soon for more....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2010; 10:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
 
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Caps, Canadiens remain tied after regulation

The Capitals went ahead 2-1 on Nicklas Backstrom's goal 47 seconds into the third period. Backstrom collected a back pass from Mike Knuble and beat Jaroslav Halak, and it seemed Washington was on its way to winning Game 1. But Montreal came back at 7:34 on a goal by Scott...

By Gene Wang  |  April 15, 2010; 9:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
 
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Caps, Canadiens still tied after two periods

Neither team scored in the second period, but the Canadiens forced the issue much more than Washington. Montreal spent virtually the entire second half of the period in the Capitals zone and tested goalie Jose Theodore repeatedly. Theodore was up to the task, including back-to-back saves roughly 11 minutes into...

By Gene Wang  |  April 15, 2010; 8:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (116)
 
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Capitals, Canadiens tied at 1 after first period

The Washington Capitals opened the Stanley Cup playoffs much in the same fashion as they started many regular-season games: by allowing the opponent to score first. The Canadiens converted a power-play opportunity to take a 1-0 lead after Michael Cammalleri's slap shot beat goalie Jose Theodore short side over his...

By Gene Wang  |  April 15, 2010; 7:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (165)
 
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Tonight's lineup: Canadiens at Caps

Welcome to the 2010 playoffs. The Caps' quest for the Cup begins tonight, and here's how we expect them to lineup against the Habs: As you no doubt know by now, Jose Theodore will start in goal and face Jaroslav Halak. There rest of the lines and pairs will look...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2010; 6:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (149)
 
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Where to watch Caps games in D.C.

(Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post) (If you're not at Verizon Center, that is...) Washington Post bar expert (and luckiest person alive) Fritz Hahn has compiled a list of the best bars for Caps fans, categorized by home and away games. Check out the list here and view an interactive map...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2010; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Boudreau wary of Caps-Canadiens opener after Wednesday's upsets

A few more items of interest from Coach Bruce Boudreau's media session this morning: Asked for his thoughts on Wednesday's upsets, which included top-seeded San Jose falling to eighth-seeded Colorado in their Western Conference first-round opener, Boudreau did his best Lou Holtz impression: "I watched them all, or I tried...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2010; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Boudreau chastises media: 'Just get it right'

We're only one day into the playoffs and Coach Bruce Boudreau is already riled up after a pair of media reports stirred controversy ahead of tonight's Game 1. I'm not sure where this report originated, but several outlets reported Alex Ovechkin took the slap shot that stung goalie Jose Theodore...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2010; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Ovechkin on motivation, Game 1

Alex Ovechkin talked about being the favorite and if the Capitals are a bit more focused considering three of four road teams won to open the playoffs last night. He also discussed if he has more motivation after failing to win the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies. "It's the...

By Gene Wang  |  April 15, 2010; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Caps' lines stay the same

Unless Coach Bruce Boudreau's got something up his sleeve - and there's always reason to suspect some gamesmanship this time of year - the lines tonight will look like this (based on the morning skate): Jose Theodore, as expected, came off first and looked fine while taking shots, despite suffering...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2010; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Video: Gretzky talks Caps playoffs

Wayne Gretzky went one-on-one with Ivan Carter to talk about the Caps' season, how teams can grow from losing and Ovechkin vs. Crosby. Don't get too excited; he was disappointingly diplomatic. Here's what The Great One had to say: Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2010; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Today's the day: Caps open playoffs against Habs

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)   Game 1 Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals Verizon Center, 7 p.m. TV: Versus, Comcast SportsNet Radio: 1500 AM Post playoff madness, condensed: *We like to chat about the Caps: Tracee Hamilton, 9:30 a.m. | Tarik El-Bashir, 2 p.m. | Gene Wang, postgame. *The beautiful...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 15, 2010; 6:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Capitals-Canadiens Q&A with Tracee Hamilton, Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Join Post columnist Tracee Hamilton at 9:30 this morning for the latest edition of her daily "First Things First" chat, when she'll discuss the start of the Caps-Canadiens series. See what's on her mind, and submit your questions....

By David Larimer  |  April 15, 2010; 12:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Backstrom talks illness, playoffs

Much to the relief of Capitals fans, first-line center Nicklas Backstrom was back at practice this morning at KCI. Afterward, he talked about missing practice yesterday and what he expects when the playoffs begin on Thursday. Here's Backstrom in the locker room:...

By Gene Wang  |  April 14, 2010; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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Tomorrow's probable lineups

Coach Bruce Boudreau didn't give up much information regarding his lineup for tomorrow's playoff opener. But here's how the forward combos and D-pairs looked today at KCI: Forwards Ovechkin-Backstrom/Morrison-Knuble Laich-Fleischmann-Semin Chimera/Walker-Belanger-Fehr Laing/Bradley-Steckel-Gordon Defense Schultz-Green Morrisonn-Corvo Poti-Carlson Erskine-Sloan If you read between the lines -- and that's pretty much what you've...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2010; 4:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Caps open playoffs as favorites, but it doesn't mean much

The top-seeded Caps enter hockey's second season as a favorite to win it all, but it's no surprise that they've tried to stray from that label. Barry Svrluga writes: Since hockey came up with its current postseason format, the National Football League has staged 16 Super Bowls, and 14 times...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 14, 2010; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Alex Ovechkin says he's healthy

One day after causing a small stir at Kettler Capitals Iceplex when he left practice early, Alex Ovechkin returned to the ice Wednesday, stayed for the entire session and afterward confirmed that he's ready to go. "Yeah," he said when asked if he's 100 percent before explaining his early departure...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2010; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Carey Price, NHL, National Hockey League, Washington Capitals  
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Theodore suffers 'stinger,' expected to play

Goaltender Jose Theodore was struck by a shot on the inside of his left knee earlier in practice and suffered a "stinger," according to Coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau said Theodore was in some discomfort, but that he fully expects his No. 1 to start tomorrow's playoff opener against Montreal. "If...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2010; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Nicklas Backstrom: 'I felt okay'

Star center Nicklas Backstrom was one of the first players off the ice this morning, but assured reporters that he will be able to suit for tomorrow's playoff opener against Montreal. Backstrom confirmed that an illness, not an injury, caused him to miss yesterday's practice. "I'm feeling better," Backstrom said....

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2010; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Tags: Montreal, National Hockey League, Nicklas Backstrom, Nicklas Bäckström, Washington Capitals  
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Metro delays this weekend could impact game travel

Going to Game 2 and taking Metro? Might want to leave a little bit early. From a Metro news release: Customers can expect lengthy delays of up to 40 minutes this weekend (April 16-18) as old track components are replaced on the Red, Blue, Orange and Green lines, causing inbound...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 14, 2010; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Theodore leaves practice early

A day after he was named the Capitals' starting goalie for the playoffs, Jose Theodore left practice after apparently getting struck on the arm by a shot from David Steckel. Theodore went to the bench for a short time, then went back on the ice before finally leaving the ice...

By Gene Wang  |  April 14, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Nicklas Backstrom practicing

Center Nicklas Backstrom is back on the ice practicing this morning at KCI, one day after sitting out because of what the team said was an illness. I'll have an update on the first-line center's status later today, along with video, so check back soon. UPDATE: Here's a quick look...

By Gene Wang  |  April 14, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Tags: National Hockey League, Nicklas Backstrom, Nicklas Bäckström, Washington Capitals  
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Caps have their man in net as playoffs open

A quick collection of morning links to get the day started (late start means short roundup, but it'll be super sized tomorrow): *Some predictions/outlook from Tarik as the NHL playoffs open tonight. *Jose Theodore will start in goal for the Caps' playoff opener against Montreal, but it's different this...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 14, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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WPL video: Caps playoffs edition

Here are a few clips from Washington Post Live's playoff extravaganza, starting with Bruce Boudreau on high expectations for the Caps: Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 13, 2010; 8:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Tags: Bruce Boudreau, Montreal Canadiens, Semyon Varlamov, Washington Capitals  
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Video: Caps on playoff memories

With the 2010 NHL postseason set to begin, Capitals players talk about their favorite playoff moments. Perhaps the best response came from Alexander Semin, who said in Russian, "I don't remember." (He eventually came up with an answer.) Check out the video below: Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames. Video, translation...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 13, 2010; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Let the trash talk begin: Plekanec vs. Theodore

Well, that didn't take long. Canadiens leading scorer Tomas Plekanec was quoted in today's editions of La Presse as saying: "It's not as though we were up against Brodeur or Miller. They don't have a dominant goalie. And when you look at the season, you realize that this matchup of...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (121)
 
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Jose Theodore named playoff starter

(AP) Jose Theodore has been named the Caps' starter by Coach Bruce Boudreau, who added that his No. 1 netminder will have a longer leash than he had last spring when he was replaced after one game. "I told Jose last week, and he knew he was gonna be...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2010; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Backstrom is missing from practice

First line center Nicklas Backstrom is not practicing this morning at KCI, 24 hours after getting a day off. The team has not provided an update on his status, but he's been replaced by Brendan Morrison while Tomas Fleischmann has shifted to center on the second line. As of right...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2010; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Tags: Alexander Ovechkin, Brendan Morrison, Games, Nicklas Backstrom, Nicklas Bäckström, Tomas Fleischmann, Tomáš Fleischmann, Washington Capitals  
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The Caps have a lot to fear in these No. 8 Canadiens

(Graham Hughes/CP) Some of the Capitals' main concerns entering their first-round series against the Canadiens, which begins Thursday at Verizon Center: The dangerous power play: Montreal doesn't score a lot at even strength, but led by Brian Gionta its power play ranked second in the league. And the Capitals...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 13, 2010; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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WPL video: Can the Caps make a playoff run?

Tarik El-Bashir and John Feinstein were in studio on Washington Post Live today to talk about the elements the Caps need to make a run deep into the postseason, including the goaltending situation and how the team stacks up against the Eastern Conference. Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames....

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 12, 2010; 10:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Boudreau on Habs: 'They're gonna lift their game up'

Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau talked this morning about facing the Montreal Canadiens, a team that has "been very competitive against us all year": Here's the first-round schedule. Also, if you haven't gotten a chance to read Dan Steinberg's profile of Alex Ovechkin, make sure to go do that. And then...

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 12, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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For Green, playoff wait finally over

Mike Green fell one goal short of becoming the first defenseman in 17 years to post consecutive 20-goals seasons, but that didn't seem to matter much in light of more important team pursuits, namely winning the Stanley Cup. Green did have one assist in Sunday's 4-3 shootout loss to Boston...

By Gene Wang  |  April 12, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Caps' first round schedule set (updated)

Here's the Caps' first round schedule: Thursday, April 15, 7 p.m., Washington, Versus Saturday, April 17, 7 p.m., Washington, Versus Monday, April 19, 7 p.m., Montreal, Comcast SportsNet Wednesday, April 21, 7 p.m., Montreal, Comcast SportsNet If necessary: *Friday, April 23, 7 p.m., Washington, Versus *Monday, April 26, 7 p.m.,...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 11, 2010; 10:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Ovechkin misses out on Art Ross, Rocket Richard

Well, the final game of the regular season didn't go the way the Caps or Alex Ovechkin had hoped. But none of that matters now. The second season is upon the NHL, and the Caps are set to host Montreal for the first time starting later this week (the schedule...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 11, 2010; 7:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Caps draw Montreal

The Capitals will host the Canadiens in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Flyers beat the New York Rangers, 2-1, in a shootout -- in a shootout! -- Sunday afternoon to clinch the seventh seed and drop Canadiens into the eighth spot. It will mark the...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 11, 2010; 5:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
Tags: Hockey, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Season structure of the NHL, Sports, Stanley Cup, Washington Capitals  
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Boudreau: 'We're glad it's over'

Soon after the Washington Capitals wrapped up of their franchise-best regular season with a 4-3 loss to Boston at Verizon Center, Coach Bruce Boudreau began looking ahead to the playoffs, although the opponent won't be decided until after this afternoon's game between the Rangers and Flyers at Wachovia Center in...

By Gene Wang  |  April 11, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Ovechkin ready for the playoffs

As much as Alex Ovechkin would have enjoyed winning the Art Ross Trophy and perhaps having the Rocket Richard Trophy all to himself, those personal accomplishments were not to be this afternoon in a 4-3 shootout loss to Boston at Verizon Center to close the regular season. Ovechkin did not...

By Gene Wang  |  April 11, 2010; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Boudreau still won't name playoff starter

Semyon Varlamov will start in goal today against Boston in a game that means a whole lot less after the Bruins clinched a playoff berth yesterday. The biggest game for the Caps will, in fact, take place 120 miles up I-95 in Philly, where the Flyers host the Rangers in...

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 11, 2010; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Tags: Alexander Ovechkin, Bell Centre, Eric Fehr, Henrik Sedin, Quintin Laing, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Verizon Center  
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In-game chat: Caps vs. Bruins

Washington Post reporter Gene Wang will be your master of ceremonies for the final in-game chat of the regular season beginning at noon, when the Capitals play the Boston Bruins at Verizon Center. Join the discussion below: Caps vs. Bruins...

By Gene Wang  |  April 11, 2010; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Boston Bruins, Capitals chat, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom  
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