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Bradley, Caps end slump

The Caps' mini slump is over. So is Matt Bradley's. And Semyon Varlamov's, for that matter.

The team ended a three-game losing streak thanks to Bradley scoring the winner (his first goal since Jan. 19th) and Varlamov, who made 19 saves to pick up his second win in eight appearances (2-3-3).

I covered a lot in my gamer, so I'm going to keep the notes brief tonight:

*First, a couple of videos. Boudreau on Bradley:

And Bradley on himself:

*Varlamov didn't have to be great tonight. He just needed to be good. And, for the first time in a while, the rookie was.

The save he made on Maxim Afinogenov's breakaway in the first period was huge. He also made a big save on Tobias Enstrom just before Bradley scored the decisive goal.

As I've said before, I feel that Jose Theodore has earned the right to start the playoffs as the No. 1 goalie. But if Varlamov puts together a few more solid efforts, it's going to be interesting to see what Coach Bruce Boudreau decides.

Varlamov, by the way, also improved to 4-0-0 vs. the Thrashers, whose plays hopes to a bit of hit.

*Mathieu Perreault was lucky to escape serious injury after he was elbowed in the head by Colby Armstrong in the first period. Because the check was not a "blindside" hit under the NHL's new rules, and Perreault was not hurt, Armstrong likely won't hear from the league.

"It was a clear elbow to the face," Boudreau said. "Anytime it's an elbow to the head. It was flagrant. An elbow to the head is an elbow to the head."

Armstrong received a holding penalty on the play oddly enough.

*Alex Ovechkin had a secondary assist, but the two-time MVP is running out of games in which to catch Sidney Crosby and Henrik Sedin for the Rocket Richard and Art Ross trophies.

Ovechkin has four goals and 12 assists in the past 16 contests.

Before the game, Boudreau said of his star: "We can't look for an excuse for him not producing. It's that time of year. Everybody is looking at him. He's perfectly healthy. He'll get the job done."

*With a first period strike, Nicklas Backstrom became the only player in the league with 30 or more goals and 60 or more assists.

"It's a bonus for myself," Backstrom said. "I'm a passer...but it's fun [to score]."

*Mike Green's assist on Backstrom's goal gave him 73 points, matching his career high from last season. Green also led the Caps' in hits tonight with four.

*Funny quote of the night belonged to Boudreau. When asked about Brooks Laich's return to the lineup, he said: "He just adds another dimension to our team. If it was puzzle, he just fits that thing. He completes us."

After everyone burst out laughing, Boudreau said: "I don't know why I said that. That was stupid. Sorry."

Practice tomorrow is at 11.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 1, 2010; 11:33 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps end a three-game slide

Comments

From a previous post:

like BB but he needs to take Ovi off the point on the PP... both Ovi and the PP itself suffer greatly because of it

teams have pretty much figured out what to expect...

Posted by: joek443 | April 1, 2010 11:37 PM |

I totally agree. I think the PP was much better when Ovie was on the wing, and a different forward was on the point with Green. Honestly, I would like to see how Backstrom could do there - his puck control and passing are incredible, but I don't know if his shot would be effective from there.

Maybe Green and Backstrom at the blue line, Ovie and Semin on the wings, and Knuble in front of the net?

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 1, 2010 11:50 PM

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 1, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Both Stamkos and Ovi have 46 goals but Stamkos has 21 PP goals compared to Ovi's 12...

they put Stamkos at half boards and set him up for those wicked one-timers... they set up Ovi for one-timers as well but his shots come from the point, 50-60 feet away compared to 30-40 feet for Stamkos' one-timers

Posted by: joek443 | April 1, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

All true, but the other way to look at that is with Ovie standing 60 feet away he is forcing a penalty killer further away from the net since most penalty killers stand almost next to Ovie during a penalty kill. This creates much more room for Semin, Backstrom, Laich and Knuble down low.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 2, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Also, it was a few hours ago but I don't understand so many people's b*tching about the trades.

Yes, Belanger is not a great center but acquiring him has definitel improved the team. Remember, all he cost was a 2nd round pick. His acquistion gave the Caps a much needed third line center and allowed the Caps to move Flash to the third line LW and Chimera to the 4th line.

Barring injury I think the Steckel, Bradley, and Chimera line will be the 4th line in the playoffs. They look pretty good too.

The Walker and Jurcina trades were soley for depth and will end up costing a combined 7th round draft pick (assuming Jurcina never plays).

Corvo also is not great but he has been an imporvement over Pothier. I am against pairing him with Poti but I would also be against having Pothier with Poti. I think Corvo should be paired with ShaMo and Poti with Carlson.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 2, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

timmyv38:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxCtoKG56u8

there is now way armstrong didn't know what he was doing

the best view of the hit starts at :36 in the video

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 2, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 2, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Corvo is terrible, I'd rather have Pothier.

Posted by: digster1013 | April 2, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

THAT HIT ON PERREAULT WAS COMPLETE B.S. I cannot believe the ref. did not call that. I don't care what the rule book says..it was a cheap shot and he could have been really hurt. Shots like that have GOT to be taken out of the game. There is NO place for them!

Posted by: Bondra2Ovie | April 2, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

1) I think the league will do something about the Armstrom. While it was not a blindside hit it was an elbow to the head and as Mike Green found out earlier that can sit you down for a few games.

2) We are now 3 points from getting the first of three team trophies.

3) I think having Ovechkin on the point on the PP helps the PP as a whole because of what sgm3 said earlier. It helps the PP as a whole but hurts his personal stats and I am ok with that. I would rather have the Caps win then have Ovechkin score as much as I like him.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 2, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Corvo is terrible, I'd rather have Pothier.

Posted by: digster1013 | April 2, 2010 12:26

truer words have never been spoken! I agree,pothier is way better than corvo and pothier has been a total plus factor for carolina since he got there.And corvo has been a total dung factor since hes been here.Rathier have pottsy back.GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | April 2, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Capt_Kirk, thank you for the vid. I was driving home from work listening on the radio when the hit happened. I don't know how that wasn't a 5 minute + game - it sure would have been if a Caps player had done it. And it's not that the ref didn't see it, 2 were looking right at the play! If Armstrong doesn't get at least 2 games for that, Bettman and Campbell better avoid DC for the rest of their lives.

sgm3, I would have to agree with joek on Ovie and the PP. I think it hurts the PP having him there, because so many of his shots get blocked out of the zone. The PP seemed to be much more effective when Ovie was on the wing, because if his shot didn't score, it would create rebounds - which are easy pickings for guys like Knuble and Laich.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 2, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@joek -- I too would like to see Ovi play more at the wing on the PP but at the same time it's hard to argue with BB's formula when he has the #1 unit in the league.

I'd say at this point in the season, you don't mess with success. Next year though...

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 2, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Bradley gave away a stick when he came out for the first star. Nice!

Greene and Morrissonn were the best D-men tonight. I'm especially liking Green's play of late.

Non-call on Perreault = BULL. Not a fan of the "ref you s*ck" chant but dude. What is up with them.

And 5 minute fighting major for Pothier in the Ottawa game. Still waiting for that rough and tumble play from #77. Maybe he's saving it for the playoffs...? Just saying.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | April 2, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

I wanted ATL to make the playoffs, then I looked at their remaining schedule. So bruins anyone?

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 2, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

I thought Boudreau's "He completes us" was not only apt but quite a compliment. Not stupid. Hooray Brooks Laich!

Posted by: carlton46 | April 2, 2010 3:19 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more on the Corvo/Pothier debate. Corvo is a total liability out there right now and is going to cost us a game or two in the playoffs. Mark my words.

Posted by: RickyBobby | April 2, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Ovi is a POWER forward... having Ovi playing the point and seeing him fire shots from 50 feet away from the net is like great NBA power forwards like Karl Malone and Tim Duncan shooting 3 pointers

And he's too good to be a decoy for the others on the PP.

As far as Corvo, really don't know what some of you people are complaining about... so far he's been average, so was Pothier. Nobody ever suggested that he was gonna be the savior.

Posted by: joek443 | April 2, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

So Ovi is hurting our PP playing the point is the latest dilemma? So our #1 PP in the league by more than 3 percentage points would be better without Ovi at the point? I agree that the team needs to work on the PK but the PP is fine. They only had 1 PP last night and have only averaged 3.5 PPs a game for the last 10. In that stretch the Caps are 9 for 35 for a 25.7% success rate which is just above their season rate of 25.6%. I have to go with the old saying here that if it ain't broke don't fix it. Oh, out of those 9 goals Ovi has 1 goals and 3 assists.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 2, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

As Bush might have said: "Brooks is the Completer"

Posted by: Bartolo1 | April 2, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Betcha Armstrong does in fact hear from the league, and betcha he doesn't see the ice again this season. The NHL has gone soft for sure, but the head shot problem is taken quite seriously, at least lately. No way he should play again this season.

Posted by: soloman5000 | April 2, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Corvo looks slow to me. like hes skating in quicksand. Our biggest problem going into the playoffs is out GT. It is NOT where it needs to be. Simple

Posted by: phrdlick | April 2, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Brooks had them at hello.

Posted by: larryn703 | April 2, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, come on. The Armstrong hit is ridiculous. How do they not call something more than a hold on that play? Looks pretty cut and dry to me. He was trying to hit Perreault in the head, no question. WTF game were the refs watching?

Posted by: sca187 | April 2, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Corvo v Pothier...I like Pothier as aperson and I was ok with him on D, but he was a little gunshy this season behind the nest and along the boards, not one of his strenghts before his injuries...Corvo was hopefully a slight uppgrade and although I am not happy with his defensive play, here are some of their stats since the trade for comparison:

Player GP G A P +/-PIM PP SH GW OT S TOI
Pothier 16 1 3 4 -8 11 0 0 1 1 22 20:56

Player GP G A P +/-PIM PP SH GW OT TOI
Joe Corvo 13 2 3 5 -4 2 1 0 0 0 19:54

So Corvo has one more goal in three less games, Pothier has one more turnover but thrown 4 times as many hits(stats not listed here). For all those who complain Corvo has only 3 giveaways! Pothier was also averaging 18 minutes on the ice when he was with the Caps, so Corvo is taking up almost 2 more minutes of ice time, presumably to lessen Green's load. As joek noted he wasn't brought in as a saviour, just a slight upgrade. The jury is still out let's see what happens in the playoffs.


Posted by: boomer44 | April 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Just to round out the stats here's more on hits/blocks/etc.. I honestly don't care how many goals a defenseman has. Obviously it's an added bonus when they can score like Green, but I'm more interested in play in their own zone.

Player............. GP Hits BkS MsS GvA TkA Shots G S%
Joe Corvo...... 13 7 18 7 3 6 13 2 15.4

Player.............. GP Hits BkS MsS GvA TkA Shots G S%
Brian Pothier.. 16 28 42 7 4 6 22 1 4.5

So yeah, so far Corvo is slightly better offensively, Pothier is better defensively. Pothier has over twice as many blocked shots and 4 times as many hits.

Wish we still had Pothier, but after a watching a couple games I actually think the Canes are a better fit. Just didn't like the implications of the trade for him.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | April 2, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

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