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Poti, Brashear Sidelined Tonight

Tom Poti (groin) and Donald Brashear (knee) will be out again tonight as the Caps attempt to clinch the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. All they need is a point against the injury-depleted Lightning (or a point lost by New Jersey in Ottawa).

"With the playoffs coming next week, there's no reason for [Poti] to go and hurt himself," Boudreau said. "If it's a little bit sore, let's make sure it's healed."

Assuming the Caps get a point, it's possible they'll know which team they'll face in the first round next week before getting on the charter later tonight. A Montreal win (at Boston) coupled with a Rangers loss (home vs. Philly) and a point gained by the Penguins (home vs. the Islanders) would assure the Caps of facing the Canadiens.

Boudreau said he's going to continue to tinker with his lines tonight, even though he already knows what his playoff lineup is going to look like. No sense in tipping his hand to potential first-round opponents, he said.

"You got to understand, we move the lines around every game," Boudreau said. "Right now it makes it an awful lot more difficult for teams to say, 'Okay, this how this team is going to start off' when they are scouting us for the playoffs if they don't know what the combinations are going to be. I know what the combinations are going to be in the playoffs, but we might move things around today and we might move them around on [Saturday]."

Boudreau also said he doesn't know whether Brashear or Boyd Gordon (broken finger) will be ready for the start of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay, meantime, will be without 10 regulars tonight, including Vinny Lecavalier (wrist surgery) and Ryan Malone.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 9, 2009; 11:28 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps to Play in Winter Classic?

Comments

@Tarik

Any thought of Tampa gooning it up? They were fighting last game vs. Pittsburgh.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 9, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I've said it before; I'll say it again. I love Coach Boudreau! That man is so wily, in his teddybear exterior. Nobody expects Coach Boudreau's next move.

I am glad he's making Poti sit down. Better to have him healthy than risk hurting himself again...

Posted by: irockthered | April 9, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Looking for a blowout and a hat trick+ for OV

Posted by: Redwolf1 | April 9, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

10 regulars missing? No Lecavalier? We better beat them by at least 5 goals. Let's hope the scenario that Tarik stated will happen tonight cause I really would love to play the Canadiens.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 9, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Ha. Never play poker with the Caps front office. :)

I'm good with this. Playoffs are next week. I won't comment on the odds of clinching tonight, out of superstition. :) Without commenting on WSH/TBL (I feel for Tampa right now, we've been there this season and it wasn't fun), here's what I expect for the rest:

MTL@BOS: Hey, it could happen, and the Isles could shut out Detroit in their own barn. (Wait, they did.) Good luck, boys.
PHI@NYR: Philly's looking to steal the division from NJD. Long shot, but they'll go for it. I'll put my money on Philly based on the season series so far.
NYI@PIT: As mentioned above, anything is possible. Ideal: PIT win, Malkin off the scoresheet. Realistic: PIT'll probably win, but I wouldn't bet my bottom dollar on it.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 9, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Let's Go Habs
Let's Go Flyers
Let's Go Pens

And most of all.....

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

I want the Canadians in the first round.

Posted by: ludeman95 | April 9, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - I hope they don't decide to. Pittsburgh is a team full of goons, so it may be they responded like for like. We're not so goon-like as they are, so perhaps we can get away with a cleaner game.

From the rest of our season against the Lightning...

Nov. 10 - Win 4-2
* Lightning:
-- Hooking (Malik, St. Louis)
-- Roughing (Krajicek)
-- Tripping (Ranger)
* Caps:
-- High sticking (Brash)
-- Unsportsmanlike conduct (Brash)
-- Interference (Steckel, Erskine)
-- Roughing (Erskine)

Jan. 01 - Win 7-4
* Lightning
-- Fighting (maj) (Hall)
-- Too many men
-- Interference (Smaby)
-- Hooking (Prospal)
* Capitals
-- Fighting (maj) (Clark)
-- Hooking (Ovechkin, Gordon)

Feb. 14 - Win 5-1
* Lightning
-- Hooking (Halpern, Melichar)
-- Too many men
-- Roughing (Smaby)
* Capitals
-- Hooking (Semin, Green)
-- Interference (Ovechkin)

To be continued...

Posted by: irockthered | April 9, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks BB for explaining the shuffling of lines. I, for one, was going crazy trying to make sense of it.

----

From the article on Varlamov:

"Prior also has been working with Varlamov on dialing back his explosiveness in an effort to keep him off injured reserve"

"He's going to calm down," Prior said. "Even at [the] American [Hockey] League level, the game is a good bit faster than in Russia. He has a spring-loaded style. I think you'll see a little less attack in his game, and that will make him less vulnerable to hurting himself."

---
Lets hope he does not get over-coached

Posted by: opita1 | April 9, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

OK...They are giving away prizes for the Fan Appreciation Week.

10:00 am Kevin P. from Erie, PA Mike Green Autographed Puck

ERIE, PA? Thats a Pens fan...and that puck will be sold on ebay...

Come on Caps..keep it local!

Posted by: SA-Town | April 9, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town: Tampa's got a couple of tough customers in their lineup. They might try some of the rough stuff, since Caps aren't known for getting involved, especially if Brash is out.

That said, I'll admit I wouldn't mind seeing Erskine take one of their guys to school.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 9, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Mar. 19 - Win 5-2
* Lightning
-- Interference (Malone x2)
-- High sticking (Pettinger)
-- Tripping (Stamkos)
-- Hooking (Melichar)
* Capitals
-- Hooking (Semin x2)
-- Tripping (Schultz)
-- Elbowing (Jurcina)
-- High sticking (Jurcina)

Mar. 27 - Win 5-3
* Lightning
-- Tripping (Smaby)
-- Slashing (Melichar)
-- Roughing (Koci)
-- Holding (Lashoff x2, Lecavalier)
-- Interference (Artyukhin, St. Louis)
-- Cross-checking (Artyukhin)
-- High-sticking (Prospal)
* Capitals
-- Tripping (Morrisonn, Kozlov)
-- Holding (Jurcina)
-- Hooking (Kozlov)
-- Cross-checking (Erskine)

So I'd say the last game got a little "chippy," but they've relatively behaved themselves the rest of the season... so hopefully tonight will be more like the other four games and less like the most recent one!

Posted by: irockthered | April 9, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Erskine should not fight with his concussion history.

Imagine if he got re-injured right before the playoffs. Another concussion may finish him.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town

I am a huge Caps fan and have been to many games this year and I leave in PA! Of course I grew up outside of D.C.

Posted by: jenk21 | April 9, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I live in NJ been a Caps fan since I was a weee lad. I want another autograpgh puck!!! But your right if it's for season ticket holders it's hard to believe they're from Eerie.... Anyone trying to get Pens pucks in D.C.?... Didn't think so :)

Posted by: cappies | April 9, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@kittypaws

I understand that the TA/GA stat is subjective. Consider, though, that we've been complaining about the poor passing all year. If those numbers are inflated, and they possibly are, I don't think it's by much. Also, at this point in the season, everyone's played in all the barns. Relative to the other NHL players, they'd still be at or too near the top of this abysmal stat.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 9, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@cappies
It's not for just season ticket holders.

Posted by: jenk21 | April 9, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

In the scenario to set-up Caps/Habs... I think Montreal needs to win tonight (with a Rangers loss and Penguins win) because if Montreal only gets 1 point, they'll be two up on New York, who could only tie them, but would have more wins.

Posted by: Caps21 | April 9, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Even though the 'ning are missing 10 players, the Caps should not sleepwalk through this game. Aucoin is a great example of how hard call ups play when they are given a chance of a lifetime. I demand a win by at least 3 goals with a full 60 minutes of in your face hockey by the caps.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 9, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the lines, I really like the Flash-Backstrom-Kozlov line. This is how I think it will shake out.

OV-Feds-Fehr
Flash-Backs-Kozlov
Laich-Nyls-Semin
Stecks-Aucoin-Bradley

Imagine 3 big time scoring lines. That is very hard to defend in the playoffs.


The only situation I am totally baffled about is the defense. I have tried to step back and take an honest look at Schultz these last couple games and I just don't see anything there. He makes some of the dumbest mistakes on the ice that needs to bigtime scorin chances. This is how I would like to see them:

Morrisonn-Green
Poti-Jucina
Erskine-Pothier

I think that is the most balanced d-lines...

Posted by: numero94 | April 9, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

needs=leads

Posted by: numero94 | April 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Lightning Lines?

Posted by: gebster | April 9, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

ludeman95:

Let's Go Flyers
Let's Go Pens

did your fingers 'throw up' (at least a little) when you wrote this!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 9, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ - I don't know, but I threw up a little reading it, LOL! ;-)

Of course, it hurts to say it, but... *choke* the sentiment is the same from me. But ONLY because I want to face the Habs in round 1!

Posted by: irockthered | April 9, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Doubtful they'd have Semin on the third line. Has he ever been on the third line before? I can't recall. He's usually on the second, numero94.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 9, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

*thumps Capt_Kirk_in_AZ on the computer screen* Go Pens?!!! You might have forgotten an "i" in there 'cause I know you just didn't root for those lint-lickers. =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 9, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@Numero-I was going through different line combos in my head last night and your forward lines are the exact lines I thought of. Howeever, the only reason I think they won't fly is because I think it will spread the ice time too much. I think you will see the likes of Ov, Backstrom and Semin all playing 20+ min a night and if all of them were on different lines this would prove nearly impossible, even with PP time.

I also completely agree on Schultz. Even if he is solid defensively (which I don't think he is) I just don't like his style. I prefer the likes of Erskine who make you pay a price.

Posted by: ph0082 | April 9, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Beat them 3-1 tonite.
No injuries.
No Fights.
Get out safe & sound.
Sit the big guys for the last game of the season.
Call up all of Hershey if possible.
Get ready for playoffs next week.

that should be our m.o.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 9, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I am glad he's making Poti sit down. Better to have him healthy than risk hurting himself again...

Posted by: irockthered | April 9, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

you mean better to sit Poti so he doesn't keep making dumb mistakes that have nothing to do with his hurt groin

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 9, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Erskine should not fight with his concussion history.

Imagine if he got re-injured right before the playoffs. Another concussion may finish him.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse


He could also get concussed just taking a regular hit. He can't go thru his hockey career avoiding fights because that's a big part of his game and why the Caps find him useful. Right now he's the only defenseman willing to throw down. No Schultz doesn' count

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 9, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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