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Capitals Insider: January 30, 2011 - February 5, 2011

Boudreau says Capitals must carry effort from win in Tampa forward

The Capitals had a brief, light-spirited practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Saturday afternoon and there was definitely a more up-beat tone to the session. Players were joking around on and off the ice and while the 5-2 win over the Lightning was an important victory, the Capitals understand that if...

By Katie Carrera  | February 5, 2011; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Boudreau expects Semin to return next week

Coach Bruce Boudreau said Alexander Semin, who skated in a yellow no-contact jersey at KCI this morning, should return next week. He didn't specifically address the winger's availability for tomorrow's game against the Penguins, but it doesn't sound like Semin will be back in the mix. "He should be ready...

By Katie Carrera  | February 5, 2011; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Injuries  
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Capitals show a killer instinct against Tampa Bay

Throughout the season, as the Capitals have let games slip away for one reason or another, the idea of a 'killer instinct' has come up. Friday night against Tampa Bay the Capitals had that unwaivering ability to wrap a game up. When the Lightning pressed in an attempt to take...

By Katie Carrera  | February 5, 2011; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Open thread: Capitals at Lightning

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum; TV: CSN; Radio: 1500 AM.shsMiniCopyright {display: none; } .shsMiniCopyrightText { display: none;} var now = new Date(); var nowSecs = now.getTime(); document.write( ' ' ); The Capitals try to shrink Tampa Bay's lead on the top spot in the Southeast Division. Lineups...

By Katie Carrera  | February 4, 2011; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (259)
Categories:  Lineups, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Limiting Lightning's transition game a key for Capitals

If there is one thing the Capitals know about tonight's game against Tampa Bay it's that they have to take care of the puck. They can't afford to be lackadaisical with their passes in the neutral zone or non-committal when they try to dump the puck in the offensive zone,...

By Katie Carrera  | February 4, 2011; 1:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Capitals frustrate Lightning's system in 5-2 win

For two days the Capitals focused on nothing but how to foil the Lightning and its smothering neutral zone system. The plan Coach Bruce Boudreau and the rest of the staff came up with centered on forcing Tampa Bay to make the first move, even if it meant the defensemen...

By Katie Carrera  | February 4, 2011; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Varlamov to start against Lightning, Semin out

Alexander Semin did not make the trip to Tampa with the team and will be out for tonight's game against the Lightning. Semin hasn't played since Jan. 8 against Florida because of a groin muscle injury. --Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was the first off the ice for the Capitals at the...

By Katie Carrera  | February 4, 2011; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Semyon Varlamov, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Line Change: Are there must-win games in February?

In Katie Carrera's newspaper story Friday and blog post Thursday, several Capitals acknowledged the importance of tonight's game in Tampa, some suggesting it was a "must-win" game. Certainly it will be important in the Southeast Division race, which obviously is essential to playoff seeding. But if the playoffs have taught...

By Washington Post sports editors  | February 4, 2011; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Backstrom feels that he, other top players should set the tone

For the number of ups and downs the Capitals have experienced throughout the season, and for dealing with the frustration of playing well one period and letting up on the gas the next, the players know that if they can find a way to put it all together none of...

By Katie Carrera  | February 4, 2011; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Nicklas Backstrom  
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Capitals' game in Tampa Friday a must-win

While there will still be 29 games remaining in the Capitals' regular season after Friday's tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, that game against the Southeast Division leaders is as close to a must-win contest as there may be at this stage of the year. A win in regulation at...

By Katie Carrera  | February 3, 2011; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (215)
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Alexander Semin's status uncertain against Tampa Bay

Coach Bruce Boudreau said after practice that he wasn't sure whether Alexander Semin, who has been out with a groin muscle injury since early January, would make the trip to Tampa with the team this afternoon. Semin took full part in the last two days of practice. Semin was involved...

By Katie Carrera  | February 3, 2011; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  Alexander Semin  
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Line change: Who should lead the attitude change?

On Wednesday, we asked readers whether they thought the Capitals needed to make a significant personnel move before the trade deadline in order to snap out of their doldrums. Opinions varied, but one prevailing sentiment seemed to be that the Caps' main issue is less with personnel and more with...

By Washington Post sports editors  | February 3, 2011; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau  
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Capitals leaning on penalty kill

Even as the Washington Capitals try to shake free of a goal-scoring rut that's been especially glaring on the power play, they have been able to compensate for that deficiency thanks in part to one of the most potent penalty kills in the league. The Capitals rank second in the...

By Gene Wang  | February 3, 2011; 8:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Karl Alzner  
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Matt Bradley on Tampa Bay: 'Biggest game of the year'

The Washington Capitals are a little more than halfway through the regular season, yet the magnitude of Friday's game against Tampa Bay is such that veteran forward Matt Bradley is calling it the most significant of the season. The Lightning not only is second in the Eastern Conference but also...

By Gene Wang  | February 2, 2011; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (115)
Categories:  Matt Bradley  
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Line change: Time for a move?

Tuesday night's shootout loss seemed to hit many of the same frustrating notes that Capitals fans experienced in the first half of the season. John Feinstein attended last night's game and suggests that perhaps it's time for the Capitals to consider making a significant move before the trade deadline. Some...

By Washington Post sports editors  | February 2, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (124)
 
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Alex Ovechkin, Semyon Varlamov absent from practice

UPDATED Left wing Alex Ovechkin and goalie Semyon Varlamov were not on the ice for the Washington Capitals' practice this morning, but Alexander Semin, who has been day to day with a lower body injury, skated following the team's 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal last night. With Ovechkin absent to...

By Gene Wang  | February 2, 2011; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin  
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Overtime continues to plague Capitals

That the Washington Capitals stumbled against Montreal, 3-2, last night was disheartening enough. Then consider it was their eighth straight loss in overtime, and the anguish is compounded that much more. The maddening part for players and Coach Bruce Boudreau was that Washington had victory in hand, or at least...

By Gene Wang  | February 2, 2011; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Mike Green, Mike Knuble  
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Canadiens come back, beat Capitals 3-2 in shootout

The first period had pretty much everything the Capitals have been looking for these days. They got off to a fast start, cycled the puck well and even got a power play goal to record their first two-goal lead in the first period since Dec. 28 against these same Montreal...

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 11:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Montreal Canadiens  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Canadiens

Faceoff: 7 p.m., Verizon Center; TV: CSN; Radio: 1500 AM.shsMiniCopyright {display: none; } .shsMiniCopyrightText { display: none;} var now = new Date(); var nowSecs = now.getTime(); document.write( ' ' ); Update: 7:06 p.m. Alexander Semin will miss a 10th consecutive game with a groin muscle injury and based on...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 1, 2011; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (310)
Categories:  Lineups, Montreal Canadiens  
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Bruce Boudreau on Dino Ciccarelli

Coach Bruce Boudreau has crossed paths with many players and coaches over the course of his hockey career and he usually has stories to tell about most of them. While he didn't come into too much direct contact with Dino Ciccarelli, whom the Capitals will honor prior to tonight's matchup...

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau  
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Capitals seek to add power back into their power play

The Capitals goal-scoring troubles are nothing new at this stage of the season. They've been limited to two or fewer goals 23 times this year and are averaging more than a goal per game less than they had grown accustomed to. The lack of success on the power play is...

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Power play  
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Line change: Best way to restore power for Caps?

As the second half of the season opens tonight against Montreal, the Capitals are confronting some serious, though seemingly fixable, issues. High among them is reviving a power play that was once the most feared in the NHL. As Katie Carrera noted earlier today, Washington is just 9 for 88...

By Washington Post sports editors  | February 1, 2011; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Power play  
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Boudreau: Semin a game-time decision against Montreal

Coach Bruce Boudreau said Alexander Semin (groin) will be a game-time decision for tonight's contest against the Montreal Canadiens. Semin, who hasn't appeared in a game since Jan. 8 against Florida, did stay out on the ice longer than the majority of his teammates but did not skate on his...

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Tyler Sloan  
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Capitals recall Jay Beagle

The Capitals have recalled forward Jay Beagle from the AHL's Hershey Bears. We'll have to wait and see which players will or won't be in the mix tonight against Montreal. Eric Fehr and Tom Poti were skating with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish prior to the rest of the...

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Jay Beagle  
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Five questions facing the Capitals

As the Capitals embark on the final 31 games of the regular season there are still quite a few questions facing the team as they push toward the trade deadline (Feb. 28) and playoffs. Here are what I believe to be five of the biggest questions left for the Capitals...

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Capitals want to 'put it all together' in final 31 games

The Capitals got back to work Monday night after a four-day break for the NHL All-Star Game as they prepare to kick off the final 31 games of the regular season Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens. Many players took mini-vacations but most were ready to get going again because this...

By Katie Carrera  | January 31, 2011; 8:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Brooks Laich not on the ice for practice

Capitals practice has just started here at KCI and Brooks Laich is not in attendance. I'll have an update on his status after the workout but this is unusual for Laich, who almost always takes part in practice even when it's an optional session. --Michal Neuvirth is skating with the...

By Katie Carrera  | January 31, 2011; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  Brooks Laich  
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Semin, Poti and Fehr skating before Capitals practice

The Capitals injured contingent of Alexander Semin (groin), Eric Fehr (shoulder) and Tom Poti (lower-body) are all skating at KCI prior to the rest of the team. Semin is expected to return sometime this week after missing the past nine games with a groin muscle injury but he and Fehr...

By Katie Carrera  | January 31, 2011; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Eric Fehr, Injuries, Tom Poti  
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Line change: Can the Caps get their swag back?

As Katie noted yesterday, of the Capitals' 31 games left this season, 22 will come against Eastern Conference opponents and seven against Southeastern foes. Fifteen games will be against teams currently in playoff position and 18 will be played on the road. Here's how Ovechkin put it: "I think right...

By Washington Post Sports  | January 31, 2011; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
 
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Capitals recall Mathieu Perreault

The Capitals have recalled center Mathieu Perreault, who was assigned to Hershey for the NHL's all-star break. Perreault has eight points (five goals) in 24 games in Washington this season. Washington returns to the ice following the all-star break for practice at 5 p.m. at KCI....

By Katie Carrera  | January 31, 2011; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault  
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Ask the Caps: Jason Chimera answers your questions

Readers sent in questions for gritty Capitals forward Jason Chimera, who is one of the league's fastest skaters. Find out which of his Capitals teammates Chimera thinks has the best chance of keeping up with him on the ice -- and how he plans to deal with the others. Check...

By Washington Post sports editors  | January 31, 2011; 9:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Jason Chimera  
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Capitals get back to work after the all-star break

Even though they were in the midst of seeking autographs from fellow all-stars to adorn their jerseys, Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green knew that their four-day break was winding down. The Capitals get back to work on the regular season, of which they have 31 games remaining, beginning with a...

By Katie Carrera  | January 31, 2011; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green  
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2011 NHL All-Star Game: Alex Ovechkin makes a little history

Alex Ovechkin made history at the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Raleigh, just not in the way he or anyone else would have anticipated. Although he got the scoring started in what lived up to all-star expectations in an 11-10 victory for Team Lidstrom, Ovechkin was most noticeable...

By Katie Carrera  | January 30, 2011; 10:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  All-Star Game  
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Open thread: NHL All Star game

Alex Ovechkin and members of Team Staal look on during the NHL skills competition on Saturday night in Raleigh.(Gerry Broome - The Associated Press) The NHL 2011 All Star Game is set to begin in Raleigh, N.C. Discuss the game, performances by Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green in the...

By Katie Carrera  | January 30, 2011; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  All-Star Game  
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NHLPA poll: Capitals most overrated team

The NHLPA and CBC released the results of their joint player poll, where 318 NHLers were surveyed on topics ranging from which rinks have the best and worst ice, which coach they would most like to play for, to their take on rules, underrated players and so on. Among the...

By Katie Carrera  | January 30, 2011; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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