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Boudreau: 'We have to get back to playing 60-minute hockey'

Bruce Boudreau wasn't in a bad mood this morning, but he was a little grumpy. Two straight uninspired losses, apparently, can do that to a coach, even the coach of the NHL's top team.

"We have to get back to playing high-energy hockey," said Boudreau, whose club has been outscored by a combined 6-0 in the first period the past two games. "We've been sort of sitting back and letting the other team dictate the play and then saying, 'Hey, I guess we have to turn it on right now.' We have to get back to playing 60-minute hockey and doing what we did at the start of the season."

While that comment was directed at the group, there are a number of individuals Boudreau wants to see return to form beginning tonight, a list headed by Alex Ovechkin, Tomas Fleischmann and Jose Theodore, among others.

Ovechkin, by his lofty standards, is in a bit of slump. The two-time MVP has four goals in his past 14 games. During that stretch, he's had four games in which he hasn't registered a point. If he wants to win the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies, he needs to kick it into gear.

"Sometimes as a goal scorer, you wait for the things rather than making things happen," Boudreau said of Ovechkin. "You always want the puck. Alex plays best when he's going out and getting it and creating the stuff. Hopefully, he's going to do that tonight.

"He's waiting for [his teammates] to go and get the puck and make the plays to him rather than saying, 'I'm going to go get the puck, I'm going to hit the guy, get the puck, create the turnover,' and do [his usual stuff],"

Ovechkin may get a little help tonight if Anton Volchenkov can't go because of an upper-body injury. The Russian defenseman always plays his countryman tough, and the last time they met, he held Ovechkin to a single shot on goal.

Boudreau also said he had a meeting this morning with Fleischmann, who has four goals in his past 24 games. Against Calgary, Fleischmann did not register a point or a shot on a goal in 16:47 of ice time.

"He's slowed down quite a lot, quite frankly," Boudreau said. "We want to get him back to playing the way he was when he first came back [from the blood clot]. Me and Tom talked about it today. When he's on, he's a very valuable member of this team. When he's not getting involved in the play, he's like everyone else -- hoping for points. He hasn't gone to the net and paid the price to score those goals that, when he first came back, he was getting, like Mike Knuble in the blue paint. He's got to get back to that if he's wants to be successful."

Here's what Fleischmann had to say about his drought.

As for the goaltending situation, Boudreau still hasn't said who his goalie will be on the first night of the playoffs. All he would say today is that Theodore will be in net against the Senators. Theodore was pulled after yielding three goals on 10 shots against the Flames, which is likely an aberration considering he's 17-0-2 in his last 19 appearances. But based on Boudreau's hesitance in naming a playoff starter, it's probably important that the veteran has a strong showing tonight against a hot Senators' team that has won four in a row.

Some other nuggets from KCI:

*Brooks Laich (face), Scott Walker (knee), Brendan Morrisonn (lower body) and Boyd Gordon (back) are out. It sounds like all four could miss Thursday's game against the Thrashers, as well.

*Tyler Sloan and John Erskine will be healthy scratches on defense.

*The Caps are still one victory shy of tying the franchise record for wins (50).

I'll check in later with a lineup. Boudreau hinted that he might shake his forward combos up.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 30, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
 
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Next: In-game chat: Caps vs. Senators

Comments

ya

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | March 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

i take it that perrault is still in dc?

Posted by: _stevo | March 30, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

BMo's out, so I'd say Matty P's going to stick around. Love watching that guy!

Posted by: Sonyask | March 30, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

lets get ramped up boys and take it to the Sens! come out bangin on all cylinders and be physical and nasty from the drop of the puck and the rest will take care of itself! LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!! c u all at VC 2nite.. lets get the crowd in it early Horn Guy and Goat '74.......

Posted by: bigBinMd | March 30, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

During the winning streak the line of Flash-Semin-Laich was terrific, and kept the Caps going many nights. You need 2 scoring lines to deep in the playoffs [see, Boston Bruins, the last 35 years for a good counter-example]. Now, any time Flash gets put on a legit scoring line it seems like BB's pulling him if he doesn't score on the first two shifts.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 30, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

If we only sign one player from another team this summer, I hope it's Volchenkov. I want the A Train on F Street!

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 30, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Can't remember the last time I saw a full 60 minutes from the Caps. Good thing is I think they are outplaying every team in the third and always have the upper hand in stamina. Let's hope that they can once again find their legs in the first and are not playing the same come from behind hockey into the playoffs.

Posted by: RuskiSi | March 30, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Too bad we have to sit through another double anthem tonight. Somehow we need to mix the two anthems into one song...I hate standing up that long.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 30, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Letang just inked an extension. Might spell the end of Gonchar in Pittsburgh.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 30, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Flash just needs to go keep driving, they're going to start going in again. He's getting chances, that's the most important thing - he's creating. Now he just needs to get his confidence back and start finishing again.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 30, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

That would be good for us, if it is the end of Gonchar in Pitt. That guy runs a PP like no other - and boosts #71. Letang's good but he certainly isn't another Sergei Gonchar.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 30, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Isnt Gonchar the only one that can understand and translate Malkin? They cant let him go.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 30, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Gologaski is the future QB of the Pens PP not Letang. He has 7 more points and 4 more goals. He's also played the right point, which is Gonchar's spot, on the PP while Gonchar has been out.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 30, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

as Locker said last week Letang should be a forward... the man has some sick moves in shootouts

Posted by: joek443 | March 30, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Too bad we have to sit through another double anthem tonight. Somehow we need to mix the two anthems into one song...I hate standing up that long."
Posted by: SA-Town | March 30, 2010 1:29 PM

Maybe you should put a request in to Medicare for a wheelchair.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 30, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

By all means, let Gologiski replace Gonchar then, I'm all for it. There's a long line of geniuses itching to show the hockey world just how smart they are by replacing Gonchar on the PP - most recently the Russian Coach [Bykov, I think] with his KHL fill-in (yuh, that worked out awesomely!), to Harry Sinden's B's, to of course, our own Butch Cassidy, hockey savant that he is [where our PP went from top-5 to bottom-5, like overnight. Cassidy is like like Bruce Boudreau, only in reverse).

Look, not trying to dump on Gologoski, good player, and proud product of USA Hockey [I think, right?] - I like him. But he ain't Sergei Gonchar. So I say, go for it, Pens!

Posted by: govtimbo | March 30, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"*Brooks Laich (face), Scott Walker (knee), Brendan Morrisonn (lower body) and Boyd Gordon (back) are out. It sounds like all four could miss Thursday's game against the Thrashers, as well."

Um. There's no "Brendan Morrisonn" on the Caps.

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | March 30, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

During the winning streak the line of Flash-Semin-Laich was terrific, and kept the Caps going many nights. You need 2 scoring lines to deep in the playoffs [see, Boston Bruins, the last 35 years for a good counter-example]. Now, any time Flash gets put on a legit scoring line it seems like BB's pulling him if he doesn't score on the first two shifts.

I agree plus i have Flash in my pool. Get him with Semin

Posted by: bigschu8 | March 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

here's the irony of it - had Varly held the line despite his team getting outplayed in that 1st pd v Calgary, you'd never have heard Boudreau talk about a 60 min hockey game. He only dwells on things like that after a loss or two in a row, ignoring the fact that in many of their victories they haven't delivered a 60 min effort.

to only focus on negatives after a loss is really a shortsighted way to coach and address mistakes. Teams can make significant mistakes in wins too. If you gloss over those mistakes just because you won the game, it'll come back to bite you eventually.

/endsoapboxrant

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 30, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

You do not know if he does that. He may only focus on the negatives publicly after losses but harp on the players inside the dressing room.

If he does what you suggest then I agree with you, but we don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 30, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say "harp on players inside the dressing room after wins also"

Posted by: sgm3 | March 30, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Cassidy is Bizarro Gabby, or vice-versa.

Not that their names even belong in the same post, because they don't.

Posted by: dcmusician2 | March 30, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Isnt Gonchar the only one that can understand and translate Malkin?
Posted by: SA-Town | March 30, 2010
-------

No. Ruslan Fedotenko speaks Russian.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | March 30, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Edit: Also, newly-acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | March 30, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

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