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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 to watch all of them. I think it's one of the reasons that I was happy to play Thursday because you see what happens on Wednesday and the upsets that can happen. There are 16 good teams and you better be ready. I think for Game 1, the visiting team has the advantage. The home team has the crowd going and they think they have to perform for the crowd. The visiting team is usually well coached and they play their game plan to a 'T'."

On whether the Caps could learn a lesson from Wednesday's upsets:

"Most of them watched the games as well so I gotta believe they know what happened. We will make it known for them, but I think they saw what was going on. I think they're going to draw more from the experience of last year than they are from the upsets yesterday."

Boudreau said his coaching staff has done its best to keep the team's routine and preparation as normal as possible. He conceded that he's introduced more information than typical, but that the coaches have also tried not to over-prepare the players by drowning them in video and team meetings.

"We'll reinforce all of this stuff. But the one thing I don't want to do is put so much stuff in their head because we have given them so much information already, more than you would normally get in the regular season, but I want them to go out there and play. I don't want them go out there thinking, 'Oh, what do I do in this situation?' We want them to be natural and play."

The Caps will face Jaroslav Halak -- who was named the starter for tonight's game moments ago by Coach Jacques Martin -- for the first time this season. But goalie Coach Arturs Irbe has made sure they're up on Halak's tendencies and weaknesses.

"We've watched video on him," Boudreau said of Halak. Irbe "has done some good stuff and cut up some clips about him. But at the same token he hasn't seen us either."

Halak is 3-2-0 all time against the Caps with a 2.60 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.

Boudreau on the Caps' mind-set going into the playoffs as the league's top seed:

"It's a new season, everybody starts fresh. We don't think of us as a top seed or better than anybody. Montreal has given us fits all year long and we expect them to come out very emotional and play us hard. When they play at the top of their game they are a good team."

Boudreau, as usual, also dropped the quote of the day:

"It's the finality of everything. You get in the playoffs and you go, 'Whoa, I can be done by Wednesday of next week.' It's the survival thing and playing for that one thing that every hockey player grows up to play for."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 15, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
 
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Next: Where to watch Caps games in D.C.

Comments

Ottawa is one underrated team. Good trades at the deadline too. Getting Andy Sutton was a steal compared to us getting Corvo for what we paid out. The Pens have their hands full. Ottawa rolls 4 lines easily. They had 2 grinders pick up key goals last night.

Flyers-Devils series, I think the Devils are overrated. They don't play a very attacking style and they don't any one thing very well. Flyers can definitely take them and I wouldn't even consider it an upset.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 15, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Flyers can definitely take them and I wouldn't even consider it an upset.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 15, 2010 1:03 PM

I agree. When they acquired Kovalchuk, there was a feeling that they were going to turn a corner and morph into a more potent offense. That hasn't really happened and you could see the frustration in him last night. I'm just not sure they have what it takes.

Then again, I also picked Villanova to go to the Final 4, so...

Posted by: Fro_ | April 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@cs......I agree, I thought Sutton would have been perfect, Sens sent a 2nd for him, would have been worth throwing in a 5th or 6th to get him. I like the Sens to take the Pens out, they have been playing well, streaky, but well. They are going to be tough to take out.

Posted by: RichC3 | April 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you about the Flyers. I think they have enough to take the Devils, but the biggest question being in goal.

Ottawa is a hard team to figure, but they have put up some impressive winning streaks this year. Looks like they will give the Pens a battle.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Kovalchuk and Lemaire fit very well. He needs a coach who gives him more of a free-reign though. I said earlier that a full year of Lemaire would help Kovy's overall game, but it doesn't seem like he's going to change his game for anyone. Being the only one on a team to create offense for so many years, I'm sure it's a bit ingrained in his game. He's a puck hog.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

This might be weird to say, but I think the Caps' playoff success hinges on one thing: The paining of Corvo and Poti.

Poti can be AMAZING, but the problem is that he does not always play at that elevated level. Corvo, to be perfectly blunt, has not been very good since he came here. He has had a couple good games, but for the most part has been pretty weak in my opinion. If Poti can continually elevate his game to levels we see at times and Corvo can improve his play, I honestly don't see how the Caps can be stopped.

Posted by: Aldred15 | April 15, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Pens aren't the same team as last year. I think they are missing Scuderi right about now.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

tick....tick...tick...

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm calling a 4-1 Caps win tonight. Knuble will score early in the game, and Chimera, Green and OV will also score as well.

Posted by: Aldred15 | April 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

And the Devils were 1-5 against the Flyers this season. No one considers the Flyers an upset in this match-up.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Ottawa's not really under-rated. Most people were picking that series to go 6 or 7 and be the tightest matchup of the 1st round because the Senators have been one of the best teams in the last half of the season. They aren't particularly strong in any areas, but don't really have a weakness teams can exploit either. They are just a good all-around solid team. If they wouldn't have had a bad run for abuot 10 games after the olympics they would have finished higher than Buffalo. Throughout most of the season they were a better team. The only question was how Elliot would play and he was fine.

But somehow this morning everyone forgot their predictions and are acting like the Penguins losing a game in this series is an upset. I still expect the Penguins to win in 6, but if Ottawa did win, it wouldn't be that huge of an upset. Penguins are defending champions but weren't anywhere close to as good going into the playoffs this season as they were last year.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 15, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred

Corvo and Poti aren't going to be paired together. Corvo is with ShaMo and Poti is with John C.

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Ottawa has a heck of a team and could challenge any of the best teams in a series. That being said, I really hope Pittsburgh beats them. I don't want to hear any excuses from Pens fans if we get the chance to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. I don't care how we get it, if we can get it, but at the same time it would be nice to steam-roll Pittsburgh on the way there.

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

4-2 tonight, Caps, is my pick. Ovie, Semin, Laich, and Green come through with goals.

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | April 15, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I think the goaltending is where you could consider Philly an underdog. Their goaltending had been quite rickety coming into the playoffs and I really thought that NJ was going to take care of business on this one, but Boucher proved me wrong. He had one heck of a game.

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the Flyers winning the series would be an upset. The Vegas odds would agree also.

I wonder if BB put in Gordon for this game because of his PK ability? Gordon is a better PK guy than BMo and maybe BB just wanted as many PKers available since he knows that if you shut down the Habs PK you basically shut down the Habs offense.

Gordon's ability as a right handed faceoff man also helps on faceoffs at the beginning of the PK.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 15, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It would not be hard to imagine a motivated BMo coming in next game or thereafter depending on how smoothly (or not) things go tonight and Chimera dropping to the 4th line to make room for Flash.

Posted by: Justafan | April 15, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Not that I believe in horoscopes, but I checked mine for today. It said I should stay home and relax tonight. Stay home?Yes, I'll be home glued to the TV. Relax? Only if the Caps open up a 6 goal lead!

Posted by: tess2201 | April 15, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It's an upset, even though the Flyers beat the Devils 5-0-1 in the season series? Okay then...

I guess Vegas trumps logic.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

2nd best Caps off-season acquisition: Irbe
(1st is Knuble)

Discuss.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

That's supposed to be 5-1-0.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the goaltending is where you could consider Philly an underdog. Their goaltending had been quite rickety coming into the playoffs and I really thought that NJ was going to take care of business on this one, but Boucher proved me wrong. He had one heck of a game.

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 1:56 PM |

Yeah, but I'm just saying if you read a lot of hockey blogs, consider the season series, etc, etc..Philly winning isn't all that much of an upset.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker

You are COMPLETELY right. I was just talking about this with my wife the other day. She grew up a big San Jose fan and had the opportunity to watch him out there for a little bit and loved him. She was more excited than I was when they hired him. Irbe is a consummate professional and a great addition to the coaching staff. Good call on naming him the 2nd best, I 100% agree.

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I see what you're saying Phil. I think I will be SHOCKED if they make any further than that though, and not just because they would play the Caps. I would be shocked if Philly could beat any of the other teams currently in the playoffs besides Boston or Montreal.

How about you?

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Yes, Vegas trumps because Vegas takes into effect everything that could possibly effect the outcome of the series.

Since Vegas makes its money off of setting good lines I am more willing to believe them than a person citing one statistical reference.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Dale Hunter of the London Knights is the 2009-10 winner of the Matt Leyden Trophy awarded to the OHL's Coach of the Year. [OHL]

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 15, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Four hours to go......butterflies are beginning to stir in my stomach!

Posted by: PhilR | April 15, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait anymore!!! When are we going to start this thing?!

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

If we're this nervous, how do you think the players feel?????

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 15, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The Habs will come out screaming trying to take the fans out of the game. They will want to slow down the Caps and clog up the middle. They will be looking to hit, hit, and hit the Caps. They will try to get the Caps into the box, looking for calls.

If the Caps are patient, if they move the puck up along the boards and dump and chase, they will be better off than trying to play pond hockey in the playoffs. The Caps have plenty of speed, snipers, and guys who can score ugly goals. But they cannot let the Habs cycle in their zone or allow a lot of odd-man breaks.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 15, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

i have no butterflies. what happens, happens. Caps play like the best team in the NHL, or not. if they do, we move on. If not, we start watching the O's or Nationals.

Posted by: doughless | April 15, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

i have no butterflies. what happens, happens. Caps play like the best team in the NHL, or not. if they do, we move on. If not, we start watching the O's or Nationals.

Posted by: doughless | April 15, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I have to get this off my chest... I'm nervous. Not about playing Canadiens, I'm nervous about what Caps team shows up. The team the works hard on every shift for a full 60 minutes or the team that makes bad passes at the offensive blue line and doesn't compete for a full 60 minutes.

Do you guys think they've learned from the past two playoffs? I sure hope so.

I'm a life long Caps fan and I've seen them have all the hype and underachieve. But I've also seen them succeed when they weren't supposed to.

I just gotta relax but I think I age about ten years every playoffs. I just hope the right Caps team shows up.

Ok, I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: natresgroup | April 15, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Something to remember about Vegas lines is that they are set up to make money for the bet provider, not necessarily accurately predict an outcome. The difference being that lines are affected by how people bet. If a line is offered but the betting pattern is not advantageous to the bet provider, they will change the line for bets going forward.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | April 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine how the players must feel. The only thing I can think of is they have plenty to keep busy with interviews, getting sticks ready, meetings with coaches; all we have to do is sit at work and wait for 5 pm by cruising the message boards. Sure is tough being a fan!

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

As I understand it, Vegas does not generally attempt to pick winners in setting the odds. Rather, they try to set lines at the point where an equal number of dollars are wagered on each side. In that way, they are assured a profit. Now, in a situation where they have some inside information ....

Posted by: zmega | April 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I have to get this off my chest... I'm nervous. Not about playing Canadiens, I'm nervous about what Caps team shows up. The team the works hard on every shift for a full 60 minutes or the team that makes bad passes at the offensive blue line and doesn't compete for a full 60 minutes.

Do you guys think they've learned from the past two playoffs? I sure hope so.

I'm a life long Caps fan and I've seen them have all the hype and underachieve. But I've also seen them succeed when they weren't supposed to.

I just gotta relax but I think I age about ten years every playoffs. I just hope the right Caps team shows up.

Ok, I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: natresgroup | April 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you have to worry about which Caps team will show up. We'll come out of the gates firing. The only thing I'm nervous about is my hand shaking when I'm painting my face red. Haha.

Posted by: VarlyisNarly | April 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree: drop the puck!

Watching only other teams play last night was painful. I need to gird myself for (hopefully) two months of playoff nervousness.

Posted by: curtmccormick | April 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@OMunckin

Absolutely true.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Getcha poutine ready

Posted by: Fro_ | April 15, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know if there is live chat tonight?

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Geno's scheduled to host one starting at 9:45.

Posted by: wocoliz | April 15, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

3 hours to go...

To hell with the predictions, stats analysis, arguing, goalie-bashing, trash talking - nothing left to do but drop the puck and find out who's brought the goods! I love it! LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: ModestProposal | April 15, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone should wait on the Sutton was a better deal that Corvo talk. Corvo was obtained for his work starting tonight. Everyone just relax, and enjoy the ride. It's going to be a great one.
I'm calling "Clutch" Bradley as your game breaker in this series.

Posted by: j3rockstar | April 15, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

the flyers beating the devils wouldn't be an upset? it's easy to make that kinda statement AFTER philly won game 1, isn't it?

LOL since when would a #7 seed beating a #2 seed NOT be an upset?? and don't tell me about the head to head record, a 6-game series spread over a period of 6 months doesn't mean a whole lot once the playoffs start.

Posted by: joek443 | April 15, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

by that logic, the Habs beating the Caps in the series wouldn't be that big of an upset, would it???

Posted by: joek443 | April 15, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

This little mini feud Coach Boudreau has going with the press is a distraction, and Coach is making things that much worse. C'mon Coach! Take it like a man and move on. Remember dude, you're in the second season now. You've got a team to manage.

Posted by: godfreycatblue | April 15, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news! They released the identity of Ben Roethlisberger's rape accuser. Her name is Sidney Crosby. Charges were dropped because, according to Crosby's attorney, it's not rape if you liked it.

Posted by: conman440 | April 15, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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