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Caps' second line off to a strong start

Two games in, the second line of Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Semin has combined for three goals, eight points, 11 shots and a plus-5 rating. On paper everything looks positive, but like much of the lineup this early in the year, there have been bad shifts and turnovers as they work out the kinks.

"They can be better," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I thought the first period in Atlanta they were good, then they had some defensive miscues. I thought again the same thing yesterday: Some parts were really good; some parts were not so good.... But I could go down the list and say everybody's been responsible for some not-so-good plays. I think that's what you get at the beginning of the year is a little inconsistency everywhere. They'll get better."

Pre-existing chemistry between the trio, as Laich and Semin played on the same line all of last season while Fleischmann joined them for stints throughout the year, goes a long way in determining how quickly they can get up to full speed this season, and so far, so good.

One of the key attributes of the combination thus far though has been the ability to create sustained pressure in the offensive zone, something Laich attributed to their collective hustle and also that the players all know their roles alongside each other.

"I know what my job is on the line. It's to chase pucks and get in on the forecheck and try to open ice for those guys," Laich said. "Something I think our line does a good job of is never letting the play die. Both of those guys have really good stick skills that even if we lose the puck, they can pull it out of feet, they can lift someone's stick to get it back and then we just back pressure through the middle and try to turn pucks over."

Fleischmann echoed Laich's sentiment, adding that it cannot be underestimated how much that established chemistry and complementary nature of the line have contributed to the trio's early success.

"We feel really good on the ice right now as a group," said Fleischmann, who has won 11 of the 20 faceoffs he's taken. "It's easy to play with those two guys and for us to produce some offense."

As for working out the hiccups in their game, Fleischmann said: "I played just two games in the preseason and it took a little bit. ... I think we'll have to see how it goes today, but I think we're back where we were. We just have to keep pushing forward."

By Katie Carrera  | October 11, 2010; 2:09 PM ET
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Travel advisory for Caps games this week
Next: Statistical analysis: Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and reasonable expectations

Comments

trade Flash.

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 11, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil2. Wiz will end up being suspended a game for that one I bet. If a throat slash gets a game that will too.

@thisguy. Right now Flash and his line have been the best playing line of the first two games. MJ has had a little bit of an issue adjusting to the NHL so we need to keep Flash until he starts to look comfortable. MP could be called up and take that spot but if he doesn't work or if after a few weeks they decide that MJ needs to be sent back down we are in a very tight spot. No need to put us in that spot now.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 11, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

He's definitely going to get a game for it. It's still funny.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I think that what the L3 waivers shows is the coach and GM didn't want him to get into a fight there and put them in a situation where they only have 9 forwards tonight. He was probably told not to do anything stupid when he was put out and he got himself suspended. NJ put him out there because they only had so many people left between those already gone from the fight and injuries.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 11, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

TGfireandice Tom Gulitti:
Devils definitely going with 15 skaters -- 9 forwards, six D today. Lamoriello said Volchenkov and Rolston won't play. Leblond suspended.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

at wiz's gesture... absolutely hilarious... and well deserved!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Richmondphil, thanks for posting the link. Hilarious. Couldn't have been directed at a more deserving guy. Though I think Avery actually is good for the game, however crazy that sounds.

The game actually settled down in the second. Surprised Boogie and Gillies didn't find each other.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 11, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

That would get a game, but since it was directed to Avery, I would give him a performance bonus.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 11, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, Gillies v. Boogie would be awesome! I don't think they've fought since Gillies got knocked the hell out....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyULIoEP9ew

ouch...that uppercut...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I just saw the intermission interview in NY - Bettman is at the NYR/NYI game so he saw the gesture in person. If Wiz is suspended, I'd say it was well worth it!

Posted by: Thisistheyear | October 11, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the Devils are playing the game three players short. One is bad enough, three is inexcusable. The players' association should file a grievance.

Each NHL team is supposed to have 22 or 23 active players, which makes 20 or 21 active skaters (Caps, like most teams, have 21). If the Devils have 20 and they have lost 2 to injury and 1 to suspension, that should put them at 17 and just one short.

This shows 23 players:

http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=20

Then you take off Salvador and that makes min of 22 for roster. Can anyone explain how they are only icing 15 skaters?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer, that may in fact be the case. It's strange in that you usually don't tough guys going after skill players. It happens from time to time, but most of those guys are pretty honest and stick to their fellow tough guys.

I don't think PL3 has a history of that, so I'm wondering if maybe he was trying to make up for Kovy having to fight, or if MaJo said something to him during the face off, that differs from his 'official account' of the incident. Either way, the Devils have a mess on their hands with respect to their cap.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 11, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

That list of 23 is including Anton, Rolston, and Salvador. That Henrique guy was just re-called, I think. Same as Samela and Fraser, maybe? That gives the numbers of 9 up front/6 in the back.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Help me CI folks. Need some phone booth intel. I was lucky enough to be given 'Player's Club' tickets tonight. But there's no seat number on them. Is there going to be any place for me to sit and watch the game? Like in real seats? Or are these effectively fancy standing-room-only concourse type tickets?

Posted by: softballgirl | October 11, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

http://www.verizoncenter.com/tickets/players_club.shtml

Looks fancy..I'm sure if it's that decked (deked) out, you'll get a seat to sit in.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

it's too complicated for me to figure out how Lou has not been forced to make a trade to get under the cap... makes my head spin...

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 11, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

i have an extra ticket for tonight's game. section 411 row c seat 11. right behind the goal where we shoot twice. i will give you a very very very very good price for it. email if interested margefrogirl2005 at aol dot com

also Semin is about due for a goal tonight

Posted by: capsfan387 | October 11, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I think I have it figured out with the Devils. CBA requires either 22 or 23 "on the roster." You can go over 23 if LTIR or IR replacement (however, players on IR still count against cap). Didn't read the CBA again, but I'm guessing that the 22 or 23 on roster doesn't demand that LTIR players be replaced. So the Devils are roster compliant with 23 and cap compliant by having two of those on LTIR. So the actual roster has 19 available skaters, of which two are injured and one suspended. That still theoretically makes 16 to get sweaters, so I suppose one of those 16 is also injured.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 11, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil2

Yeah, the site makes it look nice, but I had tix to a wizards game in the 'acela club' once and you needed an additional reservation to actually sit at one of the tables in order to see the court. Otherwise you're stuck in the back. So I was SOL that night. It was like being at an overpriced sports bar. Just want to be fair warned if that's the case tonight.

Posted by: softballgirl | October 11, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the site makes it look nice, but I had tix to a wizards game in the 'acela club' once and you needed an additional reservation to actually sit at one of the tables in order to see the court. Otherwise you're stuck in the back.

Posted by: softballgirl |

Haha, really? That's messed up...I guess only the upper crust ever go there usually, so they can just afford to buy anything they want. Have fun at the game, seat or not!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Anisimov just bowled a puck through DP's five-hole...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

donde esta TEB??????

Posted by: CF11555 | October 11, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 11, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@softball girl...The Player's Club tickets are to get you into the game, entrance to the Club and a seat in the section # on your ticket, there is a seat for the number of tickets distributed, but a couple of sections have bar stools on a ledge that are opart of that section...food 7 drink is available but not included with the ticket...I've been there for a few games & love viewing the action from the club

Posted by: boomer44 | October 11, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

" MacLean insisted his hands aren't tied with a reduced roster.

'My hands aren't tied,' he claimed. 'We have guys ready to go. No excuses.' "

yeah right... no coach or GM in their right mind is fielding 3 forward lines voluntarily when they could do 4....

BWAH!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 11, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Pens/Devils game now. It's looks like one of the games where players have been tossed for fighting (kind of like the Caps last game) late in the game. There's a big hole on the Devil's bench but then the camera pans down the ice and the Pens have a full bench.

The Devils should be embarrassed.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

thx boomer44.

Posted by: softballgirl | October 11, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Devils definitely going with 15 skaters -- 9 forwards, six D today. Lamoriello said Volchenkov and Rolston won't play. Leblond suspended.


Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 11, 2010 2:41 PM

I can't recall a team ever starting a game 3 players down! That's got to be a first in the modern era, right?

Posted by: thomas20 | October 11, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Not at all. Calgary did it for a stretch last year due to injuries.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 12, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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