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Capitals Insider: March 6, 2011 - March 12, 2011

Braden Holtby on being a puck-handling goaltender

Braden Holtby hadn't played in a game that gave him the opportunity to play the puck too much since he returned from a knee injury he suffered in late February while playing with Hershey, until Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Washington's eventual 2-1 win over the Hurricanes gave Holtby...

By Katie Carrera  | March 12, 2011; 7:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Braden Holtby  
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Marcus Johansson steps up with Nicklas Backstrom sidelined

Over the past month or so, Marcus Johansson's increased comfort level with everything -- the Capitals, the NHL, North America -- has been readily apparent on the ice. Perhaps no role has showcased how far the rookie center has come than his time skating next to Alex Ovechkin over the...

By Katie Carrera  | March 12, 2011; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Mike Green taking his recovery slowly, no timetable for Nicklas Backstrom's return

Mike Green skated for the third consecutive day this morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex but the Capitals' defensemen emphasized that he's not taking any risks with his recovery from a concussion. Green was placed on long-term injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 25 when he was hit in the head by...

By Katie Carrera  | March 12, 2011; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Injuries, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Capitals' lines remain the same at Saturday practice

Some quick notes from Capitals' practice, which is underway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex: --Every player, and I mean every player, was on the ice for the start of the session this morning including Mike Green (concussion), who is skating for a third consecutive day. --Semyon Varlamov (knee) was working out...

By Katie Carrera  | March 12, 2011; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Alex Ovechkin's point streak continues in Capitals' win over Carolina

With his goal against the Hurricanes Friday night, Alex Ovechkin extended his personal point streak to seven games, which is precisely as long as the Capitals' current mark of consecutive wins. He has four goals and seven assists in that span and is one game shy of matching his season-longest...

By Katie Carrera  | March 12, 2011; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Matt Hendricks scores the deciding goal as Capitals win seventh straight

It wasn't the Capitals best performance during this now seven game winning streak, even Coach Bruce Boudreau admitted they got a "little lucky" and weren't "very sharp", but Washington managed to find a way to clinch a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes. All of a sudden the Capitals are in...

By Katie Carrera  | March 12, 2011; 12:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Carolina Hurricanes, Matt Hendricks  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

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: 6:50 p.m. Based on warm-up here is what the lineup should look like against the Hurricanes: Forwards Ovechkin-Johansson-Knuble...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | March 11, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (119)
Categories:  Carolina Hurricanes, Lineups  
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Braden Holtby on reacting to unfamiliar shooters and rinks in the NHL

During his time in NHL games and even AHL contests, Braden Holtby doesn't have the benefit of familiarity with many of the shooters he's facing or the rinks that he's playing in. So in almost every scenario, Holtby, who will make his ninth NHL start tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes,...

By Katie Carrera  | March 11, 2011; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Braden Holtby  
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Bruce Boudreau says the next eight games are a 'great test' for Capitals

Over the course of the next eight games, which include six on the road after home tilts tonight and Sunday afternoon, the Capitals will face six teams either currently in the playoff picture or very close to get in. Tonight's foe, the Carolina Hurricanes, sit two points out of eighth...

By Katie Carrera  | March 11, 2011; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau  
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Line change: the NHL's response to Zdeno Chara

There has been a fair amount of chatter on the blog about the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty in Montreal the other night, much of it focused on whether Chara is a dirty player or not. Putting that aside for a moment, we're wondering whether fans think some of...

By Washington Post Sports  | March 11, 2011; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
 
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Braden Holtby to start against Hurricanes

It appears as though Braden Holtby will get the start for the Capitals tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Michal Neuvirth came off the ice first but it was unusually early even for a morning skate and he was unhappy about something but he is healthy, I'm told. --Alex Ovechkin, Matt...

By Katie Carrera  | March 11, 2011; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Carolina Hurricanes  
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Capitals' goalie surplus means tough choices

With goalie Semyon Varlamov perhaps set to face shots today as he works his way back from what's believed to be a knee injury, the Washington Capitals soon may have three goalies with strong cases to be the regular starter. That means eventually Coach Bruce Boudreau and GM George McPhee...

By Gene Wang  | March 11, 2011; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Backstrom participates in drills

The Washington Capitals practiced at Verizon Center this morning following their team photo session, and the most conspicuous player on the ice was center Nicklas Backstrom. Wearing a no-contact orange jersey the morning after missing last night's 5-0 win against Edmonton with a broken thumb, Backstrom participated in some drills...

By Gene Wang  | March 10, 2011; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
 
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Boudreau says Marcus Johansson played his game, worked well with Alex Ovechkin

To say no one knew when Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson would stop passing when an Oiler turnover gave them a 2-on-0 in the Edmonton zone might be an understatement. Everyone from Ovechkin to Johansson to Coach Bruce Boudreau joked about it, but after four passes the Capitals' star...

By Katie Carrera  | March 10, 2011; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson  
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Eric Fehr makes a memorable return to the lineup

Since the trade deadline, Coach Bruce Boudreau has emphasized how every player is feeling pressure to do well and remain a part of the lineup. That's the same message he had after Eric Fehr returned to the lineup after missing 22 games with a dislocated shoulder to score a pair...

By Katie Carrera  | March 10, 2011; 8:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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The defensive side of Washington's 5-0 win over the Oilers

After eight straight wins decided by a single goal, the Capitals may have been due for a game with an offensive outburst. Washington's goal-scoring ability and power play came to life in a 5-0 win over the Oilers on Wednesday night that looked very much like the wins the Capitals...

By Katie Carrera  | March 10, 2011; 12:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Edmonton Oilers  
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Open thread: Capitals vs. Oilers

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: 6:39 p.m. Mike Green is not on the Capitals' active roster for tonight's game, which means he's been...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | March 9, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (220)
Categories:  Edmonton Oilers, Lineups  
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Eric Fehr returns to Capitals lineup against Oilers after 22-game absence

While the Capitals will be without Nicklas Backstrom tonight against Edmonton, right wing Eric Fehr will be back in the lineup for the first time since he suffered a dislocated right shoulder in mid-January. Fehr missed 22 games after a collision with former-Capitals center David Steckel mid-game on Jan. 14...

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Eric Fehr  
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Braden Holtby to start against Oilers

Braden Holtby will make his eighth start of the season for the Capitals tonight against the Oilers at Verizon Center. Michal Neuvirth will serve as the back-up and went out and took shots once he arrived at KCI after a doctor's appointment this morning. Neuvirth didn't appear any worse for...

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Marcus Johansson to center top line with Nicklas Backstrom out

With Nicklas Backstrom out for at least tonight's game against the Oilers, it presents an opportunity for Marcus Johansson to step into the top-line center role. Granted as everyone knows, Coach Bruce Boudreau can tinker with the lines at any point mid-game but for the start tonight it will likely...

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Nicklas Backstrom to miss game against Oilers with thumb injury

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will miss tonight's game against the Edmonton Oilers because of nagging problems with his fractured left thumb, an injury that was suffered Feb. 21 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coach Bruce Boudreau said it will be a short-term absence, one to two games, and that Backstrom is...

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Nicklas Backstrom  
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Capitals hope to avoid emotional let-down against the Oilers

Immediately after the Capitals' 2-1 overtime win against the Lightning Monday night, Coach Bruce Boudreau said he wanted to make sure his team would guard against an emotional let down the likes of which have occurred multiple times this season. After high-pressure games against rivals, for example: Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh...

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 8:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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Bruce Boudreau says Capitals aren't dwelling on first place

Although Washington has a two-point hold on the top spot in the Southeast Division and are two points behind Philadelphia, which has two games in hand, for the lead in the Eastern Conference Coach Bruce Boudreau said he doesn't believe the Capitals are getting too far ahead of themselves. "I...

By Katie Carrera  | March 8, 2011; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
 
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Line change: the value of Mike Green?

As Katie reported, Mike Green was on the ice at practice again today. He's still recovering from what certainly appears to be a concussion, though the Capitals management isn't saying so specifically. Judging from the comments on Neil Greenberg's statistical analysis post this morning on the (lack) of offensive production...

By Washington Post Sports  | March 8, 2011; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
 
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Optional practice for the Capitals after back-to-back wins

A very optional practice is underway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex where only eight players who were in the lineup for Monday's 2-1 shootout win over the Lightning are on the ice. Mike Green is skating for the second consecutive day since suffering a second hit to the head that caused...

By Katie Carrera  | March 8, 2011; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Statistical analysis: Where did the defensive firepower go?

Last season, Washington blueliners lit the lamp 37 times, adding to a league-leading 318 goals scored last year. This season, that production is significantly down. Is it due to injury, shot selection or something else? Goals contributed by the defensemen on a per-game basis during even strength has not changed,...

By Neil Greenberg  | March 8, 2011; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Statistical analysis  
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Quote of the night from the Capitals' win over Tampa Bay

If Braden Holtby hadn't been able to weather the early push from the Lightning in the second period, there's a good chance Tampa Bay would have put Monday night's game away in the second period. But Holtby did make the necessary saves. Perhaps the most improbable one was a...

By Katie Carrera  | March 8, 2011; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Capitals injury update after 2-1 shootout win over Lightning

It was quite the nail biter at the St. Pete Times Forum but thanks to a perfect performance from Braden Holtby in 45-plus minutes of action, the Capitals managed to capture a 2-1 shootout win over the Lightning. Washington increased its lead over Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division lead...

By Katie Carrera  | March 7, 2011; 11:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Nicklas Backstrom, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Open thread: Capitals at Lightning

Faceoff: 7 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum; TV: VERSUS; Radio: 1500 AM.shsMiniCopyright {display: none; } .shsMiniCopyrightText { display: none;} var now = new Date(); var nowSecs = now.getTime(); document.write( ' ' ); Update: 6:39 p.m. Based on warm-ups here is what the lineup should look like against the Lightning:...

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | March 7, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (355)
Categories:  Lineups, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Capitals vs. Lightning: no love lost between teams

This is the final meeting of the regular season between the Capitals and Lightning in what should be an intense and probably entertaining game in which one of the two clubs will take an edge in the fight for first place in the Southeast Division. Over the course of the...

By Katie Carrera  | March 7, 2011; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (103)
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Notes from the Capitals' morning skate in Tampa

It was a rather sparsely attended morning skate at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, but that's to be expected on the second day of back-to-back games. Here are a few notes and tidbits that came out of the session: --If you missed the previous post, Mike Green skated...

By Katie Carrera  | March 7, 2011; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Mike Green skates but still no timetable for his return

Mike Green skated for the first time since he was hit in the head by the New York Rangers' Derek Stepan on Feb. 25 this morning at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. This is just a first step though, and Green remains sidelined indefinitely with what is believed...

By Katie Carrera  | March 7, 2011; 12:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Mike Green  
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On Hockey: Vocal leader Jason Arnott tops the list of Capitals newcomers

It's still too soon to say that General Manager George McPhee has fixed all that ailed his immensely talented but underachieving team last week. But the early returns certainly look good. The Washington Capitals have won three straight one-goal games since the addition of Jason Arnott and Dennis Wideman...

By Tarik El-Bashir  | March 7, 2011; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
Categories:  El-Bashir On Hockey, Jason Arnott  
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Ask the Caps: Matt Bradley answers your questions

Washington Capitals winger Matt Bradley answered reader-submitted questions ranging from whether he'll get a Twitter account to when he'll get his son a pair of skates. Check out the video below: Your Browser DoesNot Support IFrames....

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | March 7, 2011; 9:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Matt Bradley  
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On Boyd Gordon's hard-hat performance against the Panthers

Boyd Gordon doesn't get top billing for the Washington Capitals on a regular basis. He's the longest-tenured member of the club and one of those players that everyone around hockey talks about needing: the guy who excels as a role playing grinder on the fourth line. Whether it's winning faceoffs,...

By Katie Carrera  | March 7, 2011; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Boyd Gordon, Morning Roundup  
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Capitals win another close one

Either way the Capitals would have been facing the Tampa Bay Lightning with top billing in the Southeast Division on the line Monday night, but beating the Panthers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alexander Semin gives Washington the benefit of a one-point edge on first place heading into the...

By Katie Carrera  | March 6, 2011; 9:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Florida Panthers  
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Open thread: Capitals at Panthers

Faceoff: 5 p.m., BankAtlantic Center; TV: CSN, NHLN; Radio: 1500 AM.shsMiniCopyright {display: none; } .shsMiniCopyrightText { display: none;} var now = new Date(); var nowSecs = now.getTime(); document.write( ' ' ); Update 4:49 p.m. Michal Neuvirth makes his sixth consecutive start for the Capitals this evening against the Panthers....

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | March 6, 2011; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (175)
Categories:  Florida Panthers  
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Capitals adjust in the faceoff circle without David Steckel

When General Manager George McPhee traded away David Steckel on Feb. 28 as part of the deal that brought Jason Arnott to Washington it was a move that took the best face-off man in the NHL off of the Capitals' roster. Along with the impact of Arnott, how Washington fares...

By Katie Carrera  | March 6, 2011; 10:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Capitals excel when receiving contributions from defensemen

After the Capitals' 3-2 win over the Blues Thursday, it was discovered that Scott Hannan's goal was the first by a Washington blue liner since John Carlson scored on Jan. 16 against Ottawa 18 games earlier. Like most every aspect of the Capitals' offense this season, the number of goals...

By Katie Carrera  | March 6, 2011; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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