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Boudreau shakes up lines

In addition to switching goalies, Coach Bruce Boudreau also appears set to make some changes to his forward lines in an attempt to get Alexander Semin's line going.

Here's what the combos could look like tonight:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
(Don't see this changing)
Fleischmann-Belanger-Semin
(Belanger has been a beast on faceoffs, winning 80 percent)
Laich-Morrison-Fehr
(Laich drops down one line)
Chimera-Steckel-Bradley
(That's a solid fourth line)

Semin, who doesn't have a point in the first two games, has two new linemates. But will that get him going?

More in a bit.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2010; 12:27 PM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau talks goalies

Comments

Fehr has played well this series, and this looks like a good line for him.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Lines look solid!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 19, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see that Boyle own goal last night?

Ouch....

Reminded me of Steve Smith when he put it in against Fuhr. haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:40 PM |

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, you need to chill with the obnoxious italicization of "could." It's been happening way too much lately.

Posted by: sonsofcain | April 19, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Fleischmann gets PROMOTED to the second line!?!?!?! I feel like I"m taking crazy pills!

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

that goal from last night was worse than the Smith goal even though it wasn't game 7... the Oilers still had time to come back from it, the goal didn't end the game.

not to mention the Sharks outshot the Avs 50 to 16 last night, hard to imagine SJ coming back from that loss...

Posted by: joek443 | April 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of that fourth line. I would have liked to have seen Laich stay with Semin--I think they play well together, even if they haven't done so thus far in the playoffs. It would have been good to see what they would have done with Belanger, leaving Flash on the third line with Fehr.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 19, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, you need to chill with the obnoxious italicization of "could." It's been happening way too much lately.

Posted by: sonsofcain | April 19, 2010 12:45 PM

Pull him. Start Gene instead. We need a poll!

Posted by: jdhoover | April 19, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

i'm scared of BB starting Varly. if Theo's confidence if shot by BB's lack of confidence in him...we probably can't go back to him if Varly doesn't do well

that's how 'keepers work

Posted by: mcintire_will | April 19, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, Buddy.. I was kidding..I'd start lindsay anyway....

Posted by: jdhoover | April 19, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Love the lines, that third line ill get a goal, book it.

Posted by: BACKS | April 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"But will that get him going?"

Belanger yes, Flash no.

Posted by: oo7 | April 19, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I like the lines. Yeah, a Flash promotion is not exactly called for but if the idea is to energize I don't mind Flash for Fehr. Fehr is good against the Habs but Sasha Belanger Flash is not a bad line at all. Great 4th line. I wonder if Walker is hurt.

Posted by: Justafan | April 19, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Lines look fine - Semin needs something to get him going - Watching him circle and glide around like Nancy Kerrigan isn't doing it for me.

I still want to see Walker out there. We need a pest. FREE WALKER!

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | April 19, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I like the Laich/BMo/Fehr line. You have the good passing center, the grinder in Laich, and Fehr with the great shot. Very good size too so you would have to assume they will be creating a lot of havoc near Halak.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

i'm scared of BB starting Varly. if Theo's confidence if shot by BB's lack of confidence in him...we probably can't go back to him if Varly doesn't do well

that's how 'keepers work

Posted by: mcintire_will | April 19, 2010 12:52 PM |

No, it's not.

DO NOT PUT THEO IN AGAINST MTL TONIGHT. PLEASE. The crowd would eat him alive, while Varlamov wouldn't even understand them.

Varlamov's stats were top 5 in the league in GAA and sv % before his injury. If he can find his old self again, we have a very good goalie in net.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I think the only way to restart Flash is to tell him Ovie's hurt and he has to step up.

Maybe we could put Ovie in a new Jersey number and it would fool Tomas...

Posted by: jdhoover | April 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, a Flash promotion is not exactly called for but if the idea is to energize I don't mind Flash for Fehr. Fehr is good against the Habs but Sasha Belanger Flash is not a bad line at all. Great 4th line. I wonder if Walker is hurt.

Posted by: Justafan | April 19, 2010 12:55 PM |

Exactly. Who's really complaining about Flash getting promoted?

It doesn't mean anything about his play, it just means he fits there when BB decided to change the lines.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Belanger winning all those faceoffs will also get the puck on Semin's stick more often.

Belanger also has great speed so it wouldn't suprise me to see Belanger using that speed to skate hard to the goal crease on rushes to open up room in slot for Semin and/or Flash.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Sure, let's roll with it. I think the basic lines during the great 14-game run were:

8.19.22
21.9.28
14.18.16
15.39.10

I know Chims is in for Boyd and that's cool but the 2nd and 3rd line during that run seemed strong. Am I missing something?

Posted by: saintex | April 19, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Not to mention the fact that Belanger has just been pretty good the past two games. He'll go into the corner, dig the puck out, etc, etc.

He isn't getting many scoring chances, besides his 1 goal, but he's played better than most forwards, I'd say.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

So who on the second line is going to set up screens in the crease and go for rebounds? That line has been tried before and didn't work. No physicality at all.

So we are letting the Montreal fans dictate who we play in goal? Is that it? Wow.

Posted by: zmega | April 19, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

So we are letting the Montreal fans dictate who we play in goal? Is that it? Wow.

Posted by: zmega | April 19, 2010 1:06 PM |

Great inference there buddy. If you want to call me out, just do it.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see that Boyle own goal last night?
Ouch....
Reminded me of Steve Smith when he put it in against Fuhr. haha.
Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:40 PM |

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy....buwahahahahaaa.
Karma for Semin's Olympics.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

And to answer you, no, my personal decision to want Varlamov to start over Theo (like 90% of professional hockey writers want to) is not based on the "Montreal fans."

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I like these lines. I still think Theo deserves a shot at redemption, but maybe the thinking is Montreal is too much pressure...if that is the case he should just retire then, because every building is full of pressure in the playoffs.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Belanger is the glue that we need in the middle of Line 2.

Any idea when Game 5 tickets are going on sale for STHs?

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | April 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, great point. Just retire Theo.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I like the move of Belanger to the 2nd line as he's been our best faceoff guy and has generally played well in both games. Don't see how dropping Laich who plays well with Semin to the 3rd line helps out. We lose the guy on the 2nd line who crashes the net and actually can get a dirty goal. Fleischmann, Semin and Belanger are all finesse players which won't cut it in the postseason.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

People on this board having been saying the Caps have been figured out everytime they lose a game. Caps goaltending has given up 8 goals on 62 shots which is an 87.1% save percentage, HORRIBLE. Halak has given up 8 goals on 84 shots which is a 90.5% save percentage. Not stellar, but it is at least above the NHL expected level.

Halak is the ONLY reason the Caps didn't win game 1. He stood on his head for the 1st 30 minutes of that game with a few outstanding saves during flurries. If a couple of those would have gone in it would be a completely different game. Heck when the Caps gave up their 2nd shot and 2nd goal last game the Caps had 9 shots on goal with Halak coming up with a couple of beautiful saves too. Halak deserves a ton of credit even though it seemed like he tired in the 3rd on Saturday.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 19, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"I watch Knuble or Brooks Laich, how they go to the net, and sometimes when they're standing there on the power play and I shoot the puck high it's a pretty scary moment," Ovechkin said. "But if you want to get some results you have to pay the price."

What a great quote from Ovi. Who says he isn't willing to adjust his game to get the job done?

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

paging Scott Walker.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 19, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

How challenging will it be to play at Montreal?

"Three times in playoffs we played against American teams and this is the first time we'll play against a Canadian team, and I know Canada is crazy about hockey. Jose said they talk about it on radio and it's crazy. The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable and the pressure is going to be on them and not on us. The media will be all over them and the fans will be all over them if they make some mistakes. I think it's going to be good for us."


Wait..Ovi...what are you saying?!?!? I thought there was equal pressure in every single arena! Wait you mean..Ovi, a professional hockey player, acknowledges a huge difference in playing in MTL vs. other cities?

Whoa. I don't think some of the posters here would agree with you Ovi.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@wizfan - that's a great theory, except that Laich hasn't actually been crashing the net lately. And Belanger is much tougher than he looks, I'd hardly call him finesse.

The Caps went on a record streak with Flash and Semin for a reason - you need two scoring lines in the playoffs [now we have three, our 3rd is solid]. Flash has played pretty well, great headman pass to spring Fehr's breakaway. And Semin needs someone to get going, and has great chemistry in Flash. These lines make a lot of sense to me.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 19, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Halak is the ONLY reason the Caps didn't win game 1. He stood on his head for the 1st 30 minutes of that game with a few outstanding saves during flurries. If a couple of those would have gone in it would be a completely different game. Heck when the Caps gave up their 2nd shot and 2nd goal last game the Caps had 9 shots on goal with Halak coming up with a couple of beautiful saves too. Halak deserves a ton of credit even though it seemed like he tired in the 3rd on Saturday.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 19, 2010 1:18 PM |

I think a lot of the first game had to do with the Caps taking horrible shots from outside the slot/perimeter.

We saw it in the first two games against the Rangers last year, and we're seeing it again.

I'm just glad it only took 1 game this time for Ovi and the boys to adjust and start crashing the net.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Game 2 replay on CSN, some notes:
- There was a hand pass at the end of the 2nd, but a legal one as Poti passed it to himself and touches it with his own stick before Green digs it out (overhead camera angle)
- On Ovechkin's goal Halak thinks he has it frozen against his body but it drops to the ice and Ovechkin digs at it between his legs, not even close to Halak's glove. Good goal.
- Absolutely no penalty by Green on the Pouliot net crashing play. He did miss the puck but him and Poti do get the lift check to prevent a good shot before they all get cleaned out

Posted by: dimagus | April 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

If your a goalie in the NHL you can handle the pressure.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@Hopefully, Belanger is the glue that we need in the middle of Line 2.

Any idea when Game 5 tickets are going on sale for STHs?

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | April 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse


STH have their seats all the way through the cup finals

Posted by: _stevo | April 19, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Relax Phil, you're getting a little paranoid there. I'm not singling you out (although you did give as your first reason for starting Varlamov "the crowd would eat him {i.e., Theo) up.") I think the crowd factor may be part of BB's thinking, and if it is, that suggests he doesn't believe that Theo is mentally tough. I think that is unfair, looking at his career. I just think it is kind of cheesy not to give Theo the shot. It would mean a lot to Theo to make a statement in Montreal, IMO, and I think he would play his guts out.

I hope I am wrong, and BB has forgotten more about hockey than I will ever know. But I think it sends a bad message to the team, a certain amount of disrespect to proven veterans. It's not as if Varlamov's play has been clearly better than Theo's.

Posted by: zmega | April 19, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Semin is similar to Jagr in his enigmatic nature. Let's hope we get the "ON" Semin tonight.

Posted by: diner99 | April 19, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If your a goalie in the NHL you can handle the pressure.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 1:25 PM |

Okay? And if less pressure is going to be applied to Varly than Theo, then what is the problem here?

Remember that Theo is still human folks.


I don't think Theo is going to give us a better shot at winning than Varlamov. They're equal to me, so why not start the one who can't speak French/English and didn't let in 2 goals on 2 shots? And hasn't lost all 3 playoff starts?

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

what, no shake-up on defense? wtf??? how can BB not give Erskine a spot in the lineup? when he was paired w/carlson late in the season, the two were a fantastic pair....#4 would give the caps defense a dynamic we're desperatly missing (and one that i fear will prevent us from winning the cup)...BB talks about how he "needs" everybody for the playoffs, how can he not sit green, shultz, or corvo for a game and turn Johnny E. loose??

Posted by: vermontcaps | April 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be great if BB told Theo he was starting and then told him to stay out later to play with the media and Montreal?

Not saying this is likely, but man would that be hilarious!

Posted by: Raber | April 19, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

No, the first post/reason you happened to read of mine was about the MTL atmosphere. We've been talking about this for the last 2355 posts, there is no reason why Theo should start tonight. Crowd, he was bad last game, etc, etc.

I don't care. Pick a reason, and let Varlamov play.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of the second/third lines, for the reason people above said - no grit on the second line. I love Belanger with Semin, but Flash in that combination - seems kind of weak. If Laich can get back to what he was doing earlier in the season with the incredible play around the crease, then he would be the best option on the second line. However, Flash can execute great passes on occasion, so maybe he can help Semin get going. And has anyone ever seen Belanger crash the net much? I can't say I have since he came to the Caps, but I think he's tough enough to do so - although his size could work against him.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 19, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Not to nitpick too much but Theo did not lose all three of his starts as the Caps did not lose Saturday night's game. So Theo is 0-2 in three starts.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Erskine is too slow for the Montreal forwards.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the start Theo camp, but we'll see how Varly does. He's looked shaky in almost every game he's played since returning from his injury.

Laich-BMo-Fehr is interesting because you have a couple of net crashes on that line, while Flash-Belanger-Semin has none. Be interesting to see how it plays out. I do like the fourth line.

Posted by: CDon | April 19, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If Theo starts tonight, then I'll have some serious questions to ask BB, as would a lot of the hockey media.

Todd McClellan got so much crap from the media for not pulling Nabokov in the 2nd game. Remember Bykov, and how much crap he got for not pulling Nabokov at the Olympics?

BB obviously knows when to pull his goalie, so I have faith that BB knows what he is doing by putting Varlamov in.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

So, what went into the thought process for the Washington coach?


"I don't know. Well, I know," Boudreau said. "Eventually I will share it. I think last year when I shared it, it was at the end of the playoffs not during."

Seriously - if Theo is that fragile - go home for good.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Steven Hindle is reporting that Theo will get the start..... http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Steven-Hindle/Theo-to-Start/98/27821

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Not to nitpick too much but Theo did not lose all three of his starts as the Caps did not lose Saturday night's game. So Theo is 0-2 in three starts.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 1:33 PM |

Yeah, I picked that up from joek443.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

Did you really suggest substituting Erskine in for Green or Schultz? Seriously.

And why should Corvo be scratched? He has performed well so far this postseason.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so you start Varly. Let's say Varly plays well for a few games, by now you have lost Theodore, what happens if Varly struggles down the line? What do you do? They need to go with Jose tonight.

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Seriously - if Theo is that fragile - go home for good.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:35 PM |

Roy was said to collapse under MTL pressure in his last game there, when he demanded to be traded after the coach didn't pull him.

Roy should have just gone home for good for being that fragile.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

So who on the second line is going to set up screens in the crease and go for rebounds? That line has been tried before and didn't work. No physicality at all.

So we are letting the Montreal fans dictate who we play in goal? Is that it? Wow.

Posted by: zmega | April 19, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Belanger is More Physical than Morrison. I like this line. Did you all forget Flash had a career season even while missing many games??? Did you see his assist on the Fehr breakaway??? Tomas is a great player and he will skate well with Semin while Bele provides some grit.

To your second point....Theo determined his own fate not the Montreal fans. 3 goals on three shots? Even the best goalie would be pulled under those circumstances in a playoff game.


Posted by: congero | April 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so you start Varly. Let's say Varly plays well for a few games, by now you have lost Theodore, what happens if Varly struggles down the line? What do you do? They need to go with Jose tonight.

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:38 PM |

I don't know where people get this idea that Theo would be "lost" after we yanked him. They both know their positions coming into the playoffs.

A poster here feels that a goalie should go home if he can't handle pressure. Well honestly, a goalie should go home if he can't understand the reasons why he got pulled and lets that mess with his game.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Richmondphil: IMO Ovi is saying that Montreal hockey fans in particular have high expectations. The pressure will be on the Habs because if they don't grab a lead and the Caps do they will be all over them because the fans are already ticked off about them blowing a game that should have been in the bag. The Caps will play a different style on the road as well. I feel they try to please us at Verizon center with spectacular plays. They will simplify their game as they usually do on the road. Make no mistake about it though, if Montreal grabs the lead the pressure will be smack dab on the Caps. If the Caps can get the lead they will silence the crowd except for the occasional boo.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Jose "3.70 GAA and a .875 save percentage in 81 minutes of work" Theodore - Puck Daddy

Horrible numbers.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

And I know Theo would obviously be affected by the yank. But if it's to the point where he is "lost" and won't be of any use to the team anymore, then whoa..go find a new job.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Bench Ovi then too because the Montreal crowd will be a bunch of meanies to him....whaaaaaa - tear.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Congero: He should have stopped the first shot last game, even though it was a knuckleballer shot, which can be very difficult to stop. The second goal was NOT HIS FAULT. The "D" lost their gap control and Kostitsyn walked in, they left Jose out to dry. Bruce did not pull him because of his play, he pulled him to spark both the team and crowd.

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

IMO Ovi is saying that Montreal hockey fans in particular have high expectations. The pressure will be on the Habs because if they don't grab a lead and the Caps do they will be all over them because the fans are already ticked off about them blowing a game that should have been in the bag. The Caps will play a different style on the road as well. I feel they try to please us at Verizon center with spectacular plays. They will simplify their game as they usually do on the road. Make no mistake about it though, if Montreal grabs the lead the pressure will be smack dab on the Caps. If the Caps can get the lead they will silence the crowd except for the occasional boo.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 19, 2010 1:40 PM |

Yeah, of course Ovi was saying pressure is on the Habs...that is their home-ice. But you didn't pick up the part where Ovi is obviously reveling the city of MTL? THere's hundreds of quotes on him.

Bottomline; It's not some voodoo secret that playing in MTL is a pressure-cooker. For either team. In the playoffs.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Semin and Flash have had some success together, but as I recall that was with Flash at center, now wing. This is another one where I hope I am wrong, but I don't see how it works, particularly in a playoff environment. As I said before, got to trust BB.

Posted by: zmega | April 19, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau can shake up the lines and goal tenders all he wants. Bottom line is that Boudreau, GMGM, and the players do not stress defense enough and its resulted in an early exit from the playoffs the past two years and will again this year.

Posted by: dtc1 | April 19, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

After reading all the comments on tsn.ca am I the only one who wishes Cammelari was a Capital.

He may be the enemy in this series but I have a lot of respect for him.

Why are we not making any changes on defense at all? The D has been out to lunch for the first 2 games...come on BB even you have to see that changes need to happen.

Posted by: hart2014 | April 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Richmondphil: Jose has been the guy down the stretch. He is a guy who needs a lot of confidence to play well, he had it before the other night. He is a fragile goalie, like it or not that is the way it is. If they go with Varly then Jose will be lost. Would you feel comfortable going back to Jose, in a game seven, after being the back-up for a few games?

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Bench Ovi then too because the Montreal crowd will be a bunch of meanies to him....whaaaaaa - tear.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 1:43 PM |

lol? Reading comprehension isn't your cup of tea huh?

You said Theo shouldn't be affected by the pressure. You even said that he(and ANY player) should retire if he is unable to handle pressure. I gave you an example of a HHOF goalie collapsing under pressure. By your logic, Roy should retire. By YOUR logic, if Ovi is affected by the pressure, he should be benched.

I allow Ovi to be affected by pressure, unlike you. (Who feels that anyone who is affected by pressure should retire).

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Did you see his assist on the Fehr breakaway???

Posted by: congero | April 19, 2010 1:38 PM

My grandmother could have made that pass, he was wide open. Nothing special about that what so ever. Every single NHLer makes that. If you want to talk about a sick pass see Green lobbing one to Semin in stride last year for a touchdown (or was that this year?).

I would rather have 21 up on the second line instead of 14 but won't complain about it too much. If we see the same lack of production as in the first 2 games then you have to make the switch. I do like 18 centering though.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 19, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@Raber - I wouldn't be surprised if that happens.

Posted by: guer_j | April 19, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

And I do not think it is fair to give Varly the start tonight. Jose has been great down the stretch, now he gets yanked because his D men left him out to dry? Varly has been shaky to say the least. I think you go to Jose, if he has a rough start you can still go back to Varly, but, if he plays well then he gets his confidence back and will continue to play well. Just my opinion.

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Steveo/Heshootshescores,

Any additional tickets that STHs can buy haven't been announced yet. I expected to hear something today but nothing.

Yes, we have our books but they usually release add'ls to holders first.

Posted by: saintex | April 19, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

As for everything, the lines, this team, the defense, etc. etc. -

These are the Caps; this is the exact team we saw during the regular season. The first two games haven't been any different. Strap it on, it's going to be a ride for as far as they go.

For those there Saturday night, have you ever had more fun at a game? Didn't think so...

Ring the Bell.

Posted by: saintex | April 19, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@hart2014

By what accounts did the D play poorly in game 1? They held the Habs to two goals in regulation. That is a good effort. I will take that in every game for the rest of the playoffs if offered.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Any RIT or Rochester, NY folks here? Is there any Capitals viewing party in the Greater Rochester area?

Posted by: RITdude | April 19, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Raber, I was thinking the same thing . . .that BB is toying with the media. Would not at all put it past the team to try and snow the canadian media like this.

Posted by: tlakindad | April 19, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

steveo,

STH's get first crack at extra game 5 tickets sold at face value, 2 tickets per game. I think what whoever was asking is when the game 5 pre-sale for STH's would happen. To answer that question: it hasn't been announced yet, but I'd guess Weds.

Posted by: Steve_R | April 19, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

And I just got the e-mail, pre-sale is tomorrow at 10am

Posted by: Steve_R | April 19, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

And I do not think it is fair to give Varly the start tonight. Jose has been great down the stretch, now he gets yanked because his D men left him out to dry? Varly has been shaky to say the least. I think you go to Jose, if he has a rough start you can still go back to Varly, but, if he plays well then he gets his confidence back and will continue to play well. Just my opinion.

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:50 PM

i concur.

Posted by: beaupre33 | April 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

2 things......didnt 28 drop a line? And I thought Chimera would be even better with Belanger and Semin, speed to burn.....last post on this thread?

Posted by: RichC3 | April 19, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Keep on changing linemates to play with Semin. That is really, really sound thinking, the less he knows about his linemates the more effective he becomes.
And what do you mean by get him going? How many players have had more shots on goals than him? ONE. and that is Backstrum who has one more shot, and playing with the same linemates for most of the season. Someone said it before, that guy is like a shark ..,

Posted by: nimes1 | April 19, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

yes, i'm serious about putting erskine in the lineup....green and shultz have been AWFUL, and the ot game-winning goal in #1 might not have happened if corvo didn't let him skate into theodore's lap.....for what the caps need and what erskine brings to the table, i'll go so far as to guarantee a win if/when he gets in the lineup

@lylewimbledon
baloney about erskine being "too slow" for montreal's forwards.....he's a pro and he knows how to play within his limits....besides, it'd be hard for an opponent to skate around erskine when he has to either get-up off the ice or peel himself off the boards

GO CAPS, THROW THIS DIE-HARD FAN A BONE AN PLAY ERSKINE :)

Posted by: vermontcaps | April 19, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

i'd like to see these lines
8.19.22
21.18.28
25.9.16
24.39.10

flash needs to sit the bench for a lil bit. aside from his assist the last game, he has pretty much disappeared the last 10-15 games. give walker a jersey and some grit, that makes for a nasty fourth line....

i could care less who starts in goal, our defense is mediocre at best, and that is the reason we've allowed 8 goals in two games....

anywho... LET'S GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bigpoppa44 | April 19, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

poor sasha. another game, another new line. no wonder the guy isn't getting anything going. how easy would your job be if every day you came to the office, there was a different set of people to have to immediately coordinate with? i know my job would be impossible.


Posted by: 33spinner | April 19, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

And where the hell has Mike Green been? He has been terrible, this is the reason he was left off of team Canada, he has a knack for not showing up for big time games, nothing has changed. The guy needs to lose his ego and play solid "D" like we all know he can.

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I second and third the idea of "Free Walker" t-shirts. LOL...

"Free Walker!"

Posted by: robostop10 | April 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Walker play, but I'm not sure what he accomplishes in this particular series. More likely to draw a bad penalty than to contribute. Next series if we make it, different matchup, different lineup.

SGM3 hit on the key point with Belanger. His ability to win offensive zone draws, potentially straight back to Semin, gives the latter a chance to fire a good shot on goal, hopefully in goal, and get his confidence back up. Probably a better chance of increasing Semin's productivity this way than having him on the top power play line.

Posted by: writered21 | April 19, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
(Don't see this changing)
Fleischmann-Belanger-Semin
(Belanger has been a beast on faceoffs, winning 80 percent)
Laich-Morrison-Fehr
(Laich drops down one line)
Chimera-Steckel-Bradley
(That's a solid fourth line)
------------------------------

yeah, if Chimera was more physical that would be a great 4th line seeing that he's more talented than someone like Laing.

But overall, that gives us 3 solid lines and one very questionable finesse 2nd line that could be awful or good depending on what kind of game those 3 decide to play.

I do like that 3rd line. All 3 forwards on that line play hard. I'd rather have it that way then sprinkle our weak players on every line.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 19, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

no changes to defense though huh? After a 6 goal game all we're doing is shaking up our forwards? come on.

and whoever said flash needs to sit, its time. He's not a playoff type player just yet as he's apparently showing. I had some hopes for him because he showed "flashes" of being a more complete player at points this season. But he's decided to revert back to being a purely finesse forward. That won't cut it in the playoffs. So if we're not going to bench Semin, at least bench Flash. We can't have 2 of those guys in the lineup simultaneously.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 19, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Should go with Theo, Varly still not back in form.

@crosbyisajoke - actually, saw on DVR - that goal was all Poti. He got inbetween shooter and Theo (thereby creating a screen) then puck deflected off his stick, changed directions radically (from glove side to five hole). No goalie would've stopped it.

@sgm - Semin/Kerrigan (yes, we'd prefer Tonya Harding in this case). I think part of what makes Semin effective is that he doesn't seem to do what he "should" do. He kind of slithers in gaps in time and space and it's from there that he can create. But I thought he was pretty good Sat, several hits, lots more backchecking from him. I'd like to see him finish checks on the half boards a bit more but then he'd be Chimera, not Semin...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

observation - first line moves through Backstrom these days. Still think Ovie best in NHL, etc. Right now, #19 is the maestro, expertly controlling distribution, pace. It used to be "feed it to #8, help out a little"...

Also, Lepisto - always liked him when he played in DC, wish he'd gotten more of a chance. He's looking very good for Phoenix right now...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 19, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Should start Varly simply based on stats at Bell Centre. Should move Backstrom down to 2nd line with Semin and Laich to get them going and let Belanger play with Ovie and Knuble. If it doesn't work, switch it up on the fly.

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

How about we give Semin a night off! The guy has been remarkably terrible, and he nearly cost them with his dumb penalty in game 2. I'd take Walker over him tonight. And I am dead serious about that.

Posted by: SouthsideFFX | April 19, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Jordan. We need to add some more salt to our line-up, and I'd be surprised if Walker didn't get a chance to rough things up.

I don't know how I feel about Belanger other than his FO prowess. He doesn't seem to finish his checks like the other role players.

I really like that 4th line.

Posted by: happycap | April 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Belanger on the 2nd line. Overall those are very good lines but I'd still like to see Walker in the mix. Still don't know if Fleichmann should be on the 2nd but Laich hasn't been a factor at all and with any extra room given to the 3rd line he might be able to make something happen. The 4th line's pretty impressive. Chimera has been pretty solid but again, maybe Walker over Bradley would be a good idea. Bradley's always got potential to make something happen, but Walker is just a very difficult guy to play against and seems to come through at the right time. Him and Chimera together would be very tough on the smaller Montreal players.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 19, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

SEMIN AND GREEN BOTH DISAPPEARED IN LAST YEARS PLAYOFFS. LOOKS LIKE THEY ARE AT IT AGAIN. LETS HOPE THEY SNAP OUT OF IT BEFORE ITS TO LATE.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | April 20, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

POOR SASHA INDEED.? SOMEONE NEEDS TO KICK HIM IN HIS ASS--GREEN TOO.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | April 20, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

POOR SASHA INDEED? SOMEONE NEEDS TO KICK SASHA IN THE ASS.GREEN TOO

Posted by: duckyjimpond | April 20, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

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