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Posted at 3:07 PM ET, 03/ 5/2011

Bruce Boudreau wants to make sure the Capitals don't overlook the Panthers

By Katie Carrera

By all accounts this set of back-to-back games against familiar Southeast Division foes Florida (on Sunday) and Tampa Bay (on Monday) is important for the Capitals. They will be playing for a valuable four points that, if obtained, could allow them to regain the top spot in the division. Wins against the Panthers and Lightning would also give the Capitals their longest winning streak since a six-game stretch that concluded on Nov. 11.

While the final meeting of the regular season against the Lightning, which hold a one-point edge on first place in the Southeast prior to their game Saturday night against Montreal, may be the more attention-grabbing of the two games Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn't want to even remotely overlook the Panthers.

"I'm not going to say anything about Tampa because it's two points and our main concern is Florida right now," Boudreau said. "The problem that ends up happening is people overlook that team. Even though they've lost the last couple games they're out-playing and out-shooting everybody they're just not having a lot of luck around the net. We're going in there knowing we're in for a tough tilt."

In their first trip to Bank Atlantic Center this season, Washington suffered a 4-3 overtime loss on a goal by now-Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman. The Panthers have lost seven of their last 10 contests, heading into a game against the Thrashers on Saturday, and traded away three of their most experienced defensemen -- Wideman, Bryan McCabe (Rangers) and Bryan Allen (Hurricanes) -- but Boudreau understands how a young team can be dangerous.

"Hopefully we're ready," Boudreau said. "Every time you get young guys in they play so much harder. It seems this is their playoffs, this is their opportunity to shine and they overachieve for the early part. So I'm going to assume that they're going to be the hardest working team that we've faced in awhile."

--Although Mike Green is on the trip with his teammates, Boudreau doesn't expect him to play this weekend.

--Boudreau said he would like to get Braden Holtby in for a game during this recall stint with the Capitals while Semyon Varlamov misses seven to 10 days recovering from a knee injury, but that he's not quite sure when that opportunity will come.

"We will [get Holtby a game] but I don't know when," Boudreau said. "It's not like training camp or anthing when you say 'Ok this guy is going to play four games from now.' We're going to go with what we perceive as the hot hand both in goal and out. We have some guys getting healthy right now and they're going to want to get back in the lineup as well, but you've got to wait for your opportunity if you're winning."

By Katie Carrera  | March 5, 2011; 3:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

Think Neuvy plays back to back games?

I don't see why not.

Hopefully Neuvy plays the next 3, Varly is healthy enough to face the Canes Friday, and Neuvy is back in for the showdown against the Hawks Sunday afternoon.

Posted by: digster1013 | March 5, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"We don't want to get into a run-and-gun with a team like the Panthers."

Posted by: alanb1 | March 5, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't want to see Neuvy get burned out although he's doing great and is a great work horse.

I would normally have confidence in playing Holtby, provided he were healthy. At the moment, his situation sounds a bit like Varly's situation from last year. Play well. Get hurt when coming back from injury.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 5, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey Boudreau says we have a hot goalie! It's the missing link. Lookout now, we, are, going, all, the, way!

Posted by: festus75 | March 5, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The Caps can "run-and-gun" with anybody but, that isn't the system. Win the next 2 games & the Caps take over the South.

The new players should continue to get more comfortable with the team. It is nice to have some practices for those guys. Stretch run, time to pass Tampa & put a little distance on the field.

Posted by: chriscaps | March 5, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Montreal jumps to a quick 2-0 lead over TB about halfway through the 1st.

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 5, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Steve Leach for coach.

Posted by: heathdog1119 | March 5, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The Penguins' work ethic is second to none. It's incredible to watch really. The way they work on a regular basis - superstars, role players and call-ups alike - is something we see out of the Caps only a few times a year and it's only for very short stretches when they are playing from behind and desperate. The way we played those final few minutes in one of the Boston games earlier in the year is the way Pitt plays pretty much every shift within every game.

Lack of conditioning? Lack of strength/athleticism? Just poor work ethic?

I have no idea but it's still an issue even when we're playing relatively well.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Those who have said Chicago won't make the playoffs look really dumb now and you know who you are. It was really stupid and going for it all last year, wasn't it??

After tonight's game they will have 80 points, 4th best in the WC and they also have the 4th best goal differential in the NHL, plus 34. The Caps are only plus 9.

Posted by: joek443 | March 5, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

TB is going to lose tonight, now down 4-1 in the third. Did they "Peak" too soon?

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 5, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

It's kinda a wonder the Caps are ever within 3 goals of the Pens, eh, tmac?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 5, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Chicago definitely looks good, especially as of late. I'm not sure if they'd win a series against Detroit quite yet, which the road to the SC in the West always goes through, but it will be interesting to see.

Looking good for Caps to take the lead. Locker said they'd win the division by 1 point. It would be funny if that happened now.

Posted by: Doom_and_Gloom | March 5, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Great - another free point for the Bruins/Pens.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 5, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Too bad for the Pens and their rooters here on CI - the Bruins just tied the game with 32 seconds in regulation.

MP scores with a few minutes left in the Bears game and they win 3-2 tonight at home against Norfolk.

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 5, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Meh, 3-point game... that's all I didn't want to see.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It's kinda a wonder the Caps are ever within 3 goals of the Pens, eh, tmac?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 5, 2011 9:15 PM

Despite the success we've had against them, we rarely outwork them. Take the last game as a perfect example. They completely and thoroughly outworked us for the first 30 min or so. Just go back and check the postgame quotes if you can't remember the actual game.

I don't think many around here who don't live under a rock would argue that Pittsburgh is among the hardest working teams in the league and are generaly a far harder working team than the Caps.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Pens get the win in OT of the 3-point game.

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 5, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Yea, cuz if you recognize a team and give them credit for being a motivated, hardworking team, from stuperstars to callups and everything in between, it means you're rooting for them, huh?

The Caps are the only team I or my family have ever rooted for. 33 years and going.

But I call it like I see it. The Penguins are a significantly harder working team than the Caps. No need to feel bad though. They work harder than a lot of other teams as well.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Pens get the win in OT of the 3-point game.

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 5, 2011 9:36 PM

Yup, the worst possible outcome. You seemed boastful when Bos tied it up though.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

@tmac,

That was only 10% snark on my part.

And I agree, you look at the games, they appear to be outworking the Caps 95% of the time. But the Pens - most of the last few years, as we've faced them - have plenty of talent as well.

Yet the Caps beat them (though not in the playoffs).

Some where the paradox of that points to some logical fallacy, and either the Pens don't outwork the Caps as much as it appears or the Caps are FAR more talented/lucky but lazy. (I can't in good conscience argue the latter. My eyes tell me not to believe the former.)

And again, to point out: if the Pens beat the Caps when it matters, but not in the regular season, then either they aren't giving as consistent an effort as it appears or the Caps are playing harder/better in the regular season than it appears.

(And if the Pens are outworking the Caps for 30 mins in a game, as you say of the last game, in a binary world, that means the Caps are . . . Regardless, until the Caps win a series, whether over the Pens or not, they won't dispel their poor reputation.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 5, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

@tmac

I would consider the bruins winning the worst possible outcome. Penguins will be no higher than fourth and we could be fighting the bruins for the 2 seed.

Posted by: Dizruption | March 5, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

@Tmac - I'm chuckling to myself as I was talking to a few friends tonight and saying if the Caps took the effort in those final 20 minutes at Boston during the losing streak and did that for 60 minutes on a more consistent basis - they would be killing teams. Spot on observation. The Pens right now are working hard and earning the points. Kudos to them.

Tampa Bay goes down. The division is for the taking for the Caps. They need to come out hard tomorrow. Going out tonight before heading to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow and Tampa on Monday for the games.

DROP THE PUCK ALREADY. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 5, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

That was a big win for PHX after that DAL game the other night. This time they completed the late comeback. They needed that win big time.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Interesting in the middle of the east -- TBL just a point ahead of the Caps and MTL is just 2 behind the Caps, and close to Boston

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | March 6, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Interesting in the middle of the east -- TBL just a point ahead of the Caps and MTL is just 2 behind the Caps, and close to Boston

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | March 6, 2011 1:03 AM | Report abuse

@red lite fruitie

Yea, comparing the Swedish elite league to a Canadian dominated league is like comparing Aunt "B"(not BB) of Mayberry to Joe Frazer. (I for one, don't want any more Swedish players on this team unless they're a proven bad ass like Forsberg. They fold in the playoffs. Backy has no elim game goals or assists.)

Under your logic of teams just stacking their team with fighters, the said team WOULD SCORE NO GOALS, AND NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU NEED TO PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET !!!!!

The NHL allows fighting because it has to !
Too many chances for guys to take cheap shots in hockey. Did you ever see what Domi did to Ulf Samuelson after he had seen enough of Ulf's cheap shots to Domi's team mates ? Where you around when Brash kicked the dung out of one the Florida defensemen because he couldn't get to Sutton. Sutton threw two high elbows at Green. Brash made sure there was blood spilled in response. I don't Florida defensemen throw high elbows at Green any more.

You tube it baby !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And get a hockey life !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 6, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse


This is sweet!!! major brands give out samples of their popular health products best place is "123 Get Samples" tell your friends too.

Posted by: ethelcalton123 | March 6, 2011 1:12 AM | Report abuse

@red lite froggie

How much you want to bet that the Gillies hit on Clutterbuck doesn't happen if Boog's is still in a Wild uniform ?

Boogaard would tie Gillie's lungs around his neck and then crap down Gillie's neck for good measure the next time the two teams met. Get real. Stop listening to people who know nothing about the NHL !

And stop telling us what the league is like when some of us actually remember watching the The Broad Street Bullies. You've only heard about them !!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 6, 2011 1:42 AM | Report abuse

@tmac

The Pens do out work us. I would be concerned if they had Shrek, but the door is open on beating Pittsburg in the play offs. Over a 7 game series with a healthy Shrek they probably beat us due to work ethic and play off savvy.

These folks must drink when they watch the play offs. The Pens own us !!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 6, 2011 1:48 AM | Report abuse

So stoked for tomorrow's game!

I'm hoping they can just play a consistent game; it's something that's been alluding us all season.

Posted by: XCountryTrevor | March 6, 2011 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Alright, it's 7:01am. Let's drop the puck already.

Posted by: Doom_and_Gloom | March 6, 2011 7:02 AM | Report abuse


I don't think many around here who don't live under a rock would argue that Pittsburgh is among the hardest working teams in the league and are generaly a far harder working team than the Caps.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 5, 2011 9:33 PM |

---------

you're not a very hard working caps fan.

get behind the caps and stop with all the whining, it's beyond old, it's annoying as hell.

Posted by: hessone | March 6, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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