Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 1:31 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Martin St. Louis: Lightning's matchup against Capitals 'like a playoff game'

By Katie Carrera

While the outcome of tonight's contest between the Capitals and Lightning might not give either an edge in the Southeast Division for long, no one needed to remind members of either team this morning that matchups between the two will weigh heavy on where they both finish the regular season.

It's Washington's first trip to St. Pete Times Forum this season and even though the Capitals just saw the Lightning a week ago, the intensity and importance of another meeting between the two division front-runners isn't diminished.

"They're big games," Tampa Bay alternate captain Martin St. Louis said this morning. "We're close in the standings and it's probably going to be like that all the way to the end. You probably end up looking back on the results that you've gotten against this team; in the end it might dictate where you fall. ... We have to treat that game like a playoff game, which I think we've come in with a playoff attitude, where everything matters. Little turnovers matter -- that's a team that you have to be careful against."

St. Louis said the Lightning will be looking for another game in the style of its 1-0 overtime win from Jan. 4 at Verizon Center. It had the pace and excitement of a much higher-scoring game, but the defensive dedication by both clubs resulted in 60 scoreless minutes in regulation.

Part of the change in that third game from the nature of the first two meetings between Washington and Tampa Bay -- games in which the Capitals scored six goals -- was the Lightning's conscious decision to not try to keep up with the free-flowing Washington stars. But it was also a reflection on Washington's defensive emphasis.

"They were a run-and-gun team two months ago," Lightning Coach Guy Boucher said of the Capitals. "I see a difference to now. I think they're a lot harder to get through defensively...and I think they are a better team than they were two months ago."

Unlike previous seasons, the Capitals are much closer to the rest of the group in the Southeast Division standings and the players feel the need to begin inching past the competition.

"We have to make sure we approach this game with the greatest focus and greatest preparation," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said. "We want to get ahead. We want to start separating ourselves from the pack and Tampa's made it difficult for us. This is a big game for us."

By Katie Carrera  | January 12, 2011; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  Tampa Bay Lightning  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Semyon Varlamov first goaltender off the ice in Tampa
Next: Capitals look to get moving on power play

Comments

Whatever, if Neil Greenberg knew anything about hockey, he'd be in the industry, right? Wait these are stats and they don't lie. hmmmmm

Posted by: LloydChristmas | January 12, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Great job with the caps history lines...

I did forget Stevens (no limo included), Ciccerelli (see Stevens), Carpenter, Gus..

I am most upset I forgot Olie...he is by far the best Caps Goalie ever...

But, Druce was a 1 year wonder, so was Jim Carey....and yes I love the Berube, Hunter combo...

The Captain would be Hunter...who I'm guessing never missed a morning skate...

Langway would be an assistant...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree with an earlier poster that said Mike Fisher should be the teams number 1 target.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 12, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Stop complaining about optional skate attendance. It is getting really old.

Posted by: Cherno | January 12, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@underpants

You just want to see Carrie Underwood in the Verizon Center!

Posted by: eorr | January 12, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with an earlier poster that said Mike Fisher should be the teams number 1 target.

Posted by: underpants2

Fisher is signed through 2012-2013 so that could pose a problem. He is making $4.2M.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 12, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

As far as Erskine/Poti goes, I hope BB just continues to rotate them until playoff time. We need them both ready to play, and allowing Poti to sit in the press box for another 40 games will only ensure a horendous first game back (which in the playoffs could be deadly) Let them both stay ready, because it is a long road to the SC finals, and my guess is that we will need more than 6 D!

Posted by: capscoach | January 12, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I know SAOTI will not like this. But even if we don't trade Semin, I do not bring him back next year. I'd rather have that $6M spent on a Center and another player.

Posted by: ThePat | January 12, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

ThePat,

Absolutely agree with you on that. Bring in a player like Fisher and move Fehr up to second line right wing. That still leaves 1.8 mil to spend on another player.

Sorry SAOTI, Semin just hasn't proven he can stay healthy and be consistent with his game since he has been here.

Posted by: PhilR | January 12, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Cherno,
It's really not getting old. Can you give a decent explanation as to why the Captain wouldn't OPT to go to the morning skate before a game 7? If Semin wants to sleep in, fine. He slept through the series. The Captain needs to be there. It's that simple.

Posted by: McLobo | January 12, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Why would the St. Louis Blues have any real input on a SE division game?

Posted by: saintex | January 12, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

"Absolutely agree with you on that. Bring in a player like Fisher and move Fehr up to second line right wing. That still leaves 1.8 mil to spend on another player."

are you telling me that u weren't one of the guys screaming at Fehr a few weeks ago on here? People have very short memories with some players on here, and long ones with others.

Posted by: capscoach | January 12, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

ThePat,

What's interesting about Semin trade talk and money is this: Moving his contract (even pro-rated) will require most (not all) teams to move back the same amount of money. If the Caps resign him for x dollars and then trade him then teams will need to return x in salary to keep under the cap...in most situations.

No one wants to trade a $5 or $6 mil guy and get $3m back...we'd all complain about not getting value. Granted, a team with lots of cap space would be pretty stoked to feel they got the better end of that deal.

Essentially, we won't save any cap money by trading Semin. The only way the Caps "get" that money back is to simply let him leave and then use that $6m, or so, to straight sign other players.

I'm not advocating one way or the other...I just find it strange that people, not really you, think that we can move Semin's contract and somehow magically have extra millions just laying about Ted's suite.

Posted by: saintex | January 12, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

capscoach,

Yes, I can honestly tell you that I was not one of the guys bashing Fehr as I love the guys game. I would challenge you to go back and do your own research, he is one player I do not bash as I think he is being used incorrectly on as a 3rd liner when he is at least 2nd line talent.

Posted by: PhilR | January 12, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I love the "Captain" at practice talk. Did you people watch 24/7? He's there but he's not on the ice. He's not a home playing his new Halo game.

Who said it best a few weeks ago? Quit believing that Crosby is in his hockey dojo every minute of every day.

Posted by: saintex | January 12, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I agree, Semin will not be back next year. We should move him at the deadline.

If we move Semin, I think we should acquire another winger as well as a center.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 12, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

capscoach,

Also, I usually do not get pissy with you but please do not insinuate that I have said something if you do not know for fact that it is accurate.

Posted by: PhilR | January 12, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I know SAOTI will not like this. But even if we don't trade Semin, I do not bring him back next year. I'd rather have that $6M spent on a Center and another player.

Posted by: ThePat | January 12, 2011 2:30 PM

If the Caps don't have a good playoff run, I'd consider parting ways with a number of players and coaches.

Posted by: ablake70 | January 12, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm always curious: What would be a good playoff run?

Posted by: saintex | January 12, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

saintex -For me, ECF.

Posted by: ablake70 | January 12, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

ablake, fair enough. What is they get beaten 4-0 in the ECF?

Posted by: saintex | January 12, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

saintex-That would be disappointing, but I couldn't complain. This team just needs to show they can win a few playoff rounds this season.

Posted by: ablake70 | January 12, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

to me a good playoff run is obviously different from yr to yr. Last year I was on record prior to the playoffs that advancing past the 2nd round (even though I knew it to be impossible for this team) would be a very acceptable finish and would go a decent way to validating this team's front office/coaching staff.

so the short answer to this year's playoff performance question is, they need to advance past the 2nd round.

Could there be legitimate griping if they get waxed 4-0 in the ECF? Yeah. But not to the point of considering some major overhaul. Getting to the 2nd round in this league USUALLY requires you play and beat at least one very good team. So if they phone in a weak performance in the 3rd round they should still be commended for taking the next step fwd.

The only way I don't rip this org if they lose again in the 1st round is if they

a) draw a very tough opponent

and

b) if they leave it all on the ice in every game.


If they do that, I won't rip on em for losing again in the 1st round. In fact if I had to make a choice, I'd rather see them lose in the 1st round under the above guidelines then skating past a weak opponent and falling completely flat in the 2nd round. If the latter scenario occurs, the usual apologists will point to the fact they advanced a round further this year then they did last year and use that as proof that we're heading in the right direction.

phooey

sidenote: after watching Chimera now for over 40+ games, my verdict is in. He's the same powder puff poser that he's been in the past. His improvement in that area has been minimal. He plays harder at home than on the road where he is, on most night, a perimeter player who refuses to get involved the way he should. Contrast that with a Matt Hendricks who is one of the few role players to show up in road games v any opponent.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Martin St. Louis: Lightning's matchup against Capitals 'like a playoff game'"
Uh-oh.

Posted by: tw46 | January 12, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

agree with an earlier poster that said Mike Fisher should be the teams number 1 target.

Posted by: underpants2 |

i've been on that bandwagon for several yrs now :)
And certainly earlier this yr when it was obvious the Senators may need to retool.

But my guess is, he'll probably end up on a rival team. Getting Fisher on the Caps would be a little wet dream. Getting Fisher AND Neil would be a bigger wet dream. Getting Fisher, Neil, and then dumping Poti..now we're talking a puddle.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1:

good to see a post by you bud...

I agree with Fisher and Neil... Poti is still quite valuable to this team in my opinion... resigning Hannan for about the same or a little less would be my wet dream, LOL

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 12, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

We match up well against Tampa. Tampa's one of the few teams I think we could beat in the playoffs if we met them. They play a style that doesn't hit our weaknesses.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Poti is still quite valuable to this team in my opinion...
-----------------------

Frank, I don't get Poti. I mean I don't get why anyone likes him that much. He's bad at taking the puck away from a forward. He swings his stick around trying to interfere with a pass from the half-wall but he rarely succeeds. He's no good along the boards. He's never going to outmuscle anyone for a puck. He's terrible in his crease. His only redeeming quality is being able to make a nice pass when he has time.

I was watching the home game v Florida last week and Poti made error after error in his own end. He can't make the simple plays that occur frequently during the course of a game. The plays where he's under a bit of pressure in his end and has to secure the puck. He can't secure the freakin puck! Time and time again, he either makes a bad clear or he loses the puck outright which leads to extended offensive zone time for the other team and kills our momentum. Schultz in those situations is much more effective at securing the puck. I don't like Sarge's lack of urgency that he shows in his own end. But Poti can't do it even under light duress.

If you dissected it further, he's not a prototypical 3rd pairing dman. Not stylistically. And no way does he crack any team's roster on the top 4. He's a liability, not the steadying veteran presence he needs to be.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

assessment of Poti brutal and harsh
assessment of Poti dead on accurate

Nice man but our biggest signing mistake of the year. I still don't understand why GMGM did it.

Posted by: AADCDERM | January 12, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Is this an optional thread? If it is, I'm sitting this one out. I need some rest. Way too much keyboard time lately.

Posted by: prestoj | January 12, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company