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Tomorrow's probable lineups

Coach Bruce Boudreau didn't give up much information regarding his lineup for tomorrow's playoff opener. But here's how the forward combos and D-pairs looked today at KCI:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom/Morrison-Knuble
Laich-Fleischmann-Semin
Chimera/Walker-Belanger-Fehr
Laing/Bradley-Steckel-Gordon

Defense
Schultz-Green
Morrisonn-Corvo
Poti-Carlson
Erskine-Sloan

If you read between the lines -- and that's pretty much what you've got to do in the playoffs as tight-lipped teams turn into the CIA -- it looks like Brendan Morrison, Scott Walker, Quintin Laing, John Erskine and Tyler Sloan could be the scratches for Game 1.

If the above forward combos hold true, it would be virtually the same group that helped the Caps rip off 14 straight wins in the regular season. The only difference would be Eric Belanger replacing Morrison on the third line.

When asked if Morrison will play tomorrow, Boudreau said: "I don't know yet."

In Montreal, Coach Jacques Martin played things equally close to the vest in recent days. But these were the lines at practice in Brossard:

Forwards
Pouliot-Gomez-Gionta
Cammalleri-Plekanec-A.Kostitsyn
Moen-Moore-S.Kostitsyn
Darche-Lapierre-Pyatt

Defense
Markov-Bergeron
Hamrlik-Spacek
Gill-Gorges

Martin wouldn't commit to a starting goalie, but everyone expects it to be Jaroslav Halak.

I'll check in tomorrow from the morning skate.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2010; 4:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Backstrom talks illness, playoffs

Comments

I like the defensive pairings

Posted by: sgm3 | April 14, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn has to be the most difficult line to spell in the entire sport.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 14, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

(REPOST)
The article didn't include the most important statistic of all: no team with a Russian captain has ever won the Cup. The Caps are doomed. They should pack it in now because statistically they have 0% chance of winning the Cup. In fact, the playoffs should be canceled. Just give the Cup to the team that statistically has the best chance of winning.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 14, 2010 4:46 PM


@ablake70: I know: we can reverse that mojo by giving the "C" to Brooksie for the duration of the playoffs.

Then the Red Jesus can have it back at the beginning of next season.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 14, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

People can't start freaking out if Flash loses a couple draws - that pairing with him and Semin is dynamic, and we need two scoring lines in the playoffs. It doesn't work with just one, no matter how good.

I'd really like to see Carlson overtake Corvo though - c'mon BB, trust your instincts on this one, you know he's better!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 14, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

When is BB going to remove Tom Poti from our PK? He is the main reason it sucks. PLEASE get Poti out of there!!! For proof read this article. http://www.japersrink.com/2010/4/7/1408206/should-we-be-grilling-tom-potis

Posted by: Caps8 | April 14, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

I don't think that would work. I think there is also a stat that no team who traded their captain in December has ever won the Cup. I think the only thing to do is to go back in time and undue the trade. I suspect that would also solve that pesky President's Trophy problem. But then there is the problem of no team named the Washington Capitals having ever won the Cup. Name change?

Posted by: ablake70 | April 14, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I know it isn't popular, but I've always been a fan of the Laich-Flash-Semin line. However, I was hoping they might try Laich-Morrison-Semin, Flash-Belanger-Fehr and Chimera-Steckel-Bradley. I thought Chimera looked great on that fourth line when they played him there for a few games.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 14, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

If we have 4 players per line, the Habs won't have a chance! ;)

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 14, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@Steph22

I agree. I was hoping for those lines as well.

I wonder if it is because BMo is hurt or Boudreau just feels that this is the better lineup.

I think having Chimera's speed on the 4th line with Steckel and Bradley makes it one of the best 4th lines in the NHL by helping make up for Steckel's lack of speed.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 14, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70 I think there is scarcasm in your post but just in case remember there had been no Caption who wasn't North American to win until Detroit two years ago.

Now on the my real reason for writing looking at the top scoring regular season teams and their playoff succes over the past years. I will be doing these in order to make it easier to follow.

First Detroit last year came one goal away from winning the Cup and that was with Datsyuk and Linstrom missing at least one game in the playoffs.

Second Ottawa lost in the first round to the eventual Eastern Conference Champs. Thay also were in the middle of Ray Emery imploding and hurting the team. Also Daniel Alfedsson missed half of their 4 playoff games.

Now we have the Sabers. They almost made the Cup finals dispite having something like 4 of their top 6 Dmen get hurt and miss the Conference Finals.

We are back again to the Sens. This time with a rookie Ray Emery winning the starting job late in the season. This time they also had injury issues with 4 Dmen missing at least one playoff game.

We stay in Ottawa for one last time now. We are now back before the lockout. Once again injuries were the issue with Vermette missing 3 games, Spezza missing 4 and Volchenkov missing 2.

I have gone back quite a few years and one pattern you may notice is injuries especially to top players. The key is not having guys who score going into the playoffs it is having those guys get hurt. None of the teams of the past had the depth we have with 7 20+ goal scores and Green at 19. Teams like Ottawa who have been one line and done teams have had a lot bigger issues then teams like Detroit last year who almost won the Cup even with injuries because of their balence in scoring.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 14, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't start playing Fleischmann at center again in the playoffs... the move might help the offense but will probably hurt the defense.

I would stick with Backs, BMo, Belanger and Steckel in the middle.

Posted by: joek443 | April 14, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

No Bmo...gotta admit I like it. Sick of watching him not bury great chances. I imagine hes pretty disapointed. Tough break,him and Walker can hangout and watch Matlock.

Posted by: Todgak | April 14, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I think BMo will play AWESOME if he is benched th first game! make him mad and want to prove his worth.

Posted by: capscoach | April 14, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe BB is just saving BMo for road games. BMo was a +23 on the road this year and only even at home. (this was said with a hint of sarcasm)

Posted by: sgm3 | April 14, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@ icehammer97

I was being sarcastic. Stats are nice for gamblers and bored fans/journalists to discuss, but have no bearing on the game. There are always going to be exceptions and as you noted, injuries have more of an impact than seeding.

I don't like Flash as a center. I think his success at the position had more to do with Semin being in god mode than Flash's play. I'd rather BMo had that spot.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 14, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I think Ovi owes us one puck + Gill into the net, with the difference being this time the refs get the call right. Shoulda been one of the greatest goals ever.

Posted by: Justafan | April 14, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I like Chimera on the 3rd with Belanger -- that's a FAST line -- but it'd sure be nice if he'd learn to handle/shoot the puck better.


@joek443 -- B. Morrison isn't exactly a defensive powerhouse and Flash has been respectable at C

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 14, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'd really like to see Carlson overtake Corvo though - c'mon BB, trust your instincts on this one, you know he's better!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 14, 2010 5:08 PM

i think carlson is better than corvo too - but: any other d pairing > Poti-Corvo (imo)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 14, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

WOW I was looking at the player profiles page and it says Backstrom had 668 assists this season! Wayne who? haha

Anyway I like our chances in the playoffs because of our scoring depth. 7 players with 20+ goals. No matter what we will have a 20 goal scorer on the third line. I don't think there is any other team that has that. We could have a 15 goal scorer on the 4th line. In compairson the Habs 4th line listed above only had 14 goals combined. Their third line only has 25 which is just over what Fehr had by himself. We have a 40 goal scorer on our second line the Habs leading scorer only had 28 goals that would put him 5th on our team. Their top line above had 57 goals on the season. Our third line listed above (minus Walker)51. Our third line could almost out score their 1st. There second line actually outscores their 1st line with 66 goals but our second second line scored 88. Our second best line beats their best scoreing line. Our third line is almost equal to their second best scoring line. Our 4th line almost covers their 3rd line. So that leave our top line and their 4th. Who do you think wins that battle?

I know they also give up less goals then we do however in Hab losses Halak gives up 3.45 a game so the Habs will consistatly not score much no matter what. They win or lose depending on if Halak gives up less then 2.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 14, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

YEA! Keep the four player lines together for the first game and see how the matchups work out. Talk about puck support!

Posted by: coolcraig | April 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

@ butcherbaker

that's true but BMo has played a ton of games in the NHL as a center and while Fleischmann can certainly play center, his best position is at wing.

to me that means BMo is probably less likely to make a defensive mistake playing center.

Posted by: joek443 | April 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

If we are going to play Flash at C, at home is the place to do it. Faceoffs are his weakness.

BB gets the advantage of seeing who he is up against in draws (perhaps the secret as to why Flash has had a better faceoff % at home vs. the road).

BB will try to put him in favorable situations, THE GUY IS SMART!

I too like the D pairings and am BEYOND excited for tomorrows game!

GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 14, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70, Rhino40 and others,

There's a first time for everything, including winning with mid-season change of captains, Russian born captain; etc.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 14, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but Erskine was our best d-man last year in the playoffs. We had a ding or two, but he is playoff hockey seasoned and stepped his game up in a huge way. Hate to see him sit too much this year.

Posted by: collins3153 | April 14, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

butchbaker, BMo is a good defensive center. That's why he played with Bertuzzi and Naslund in Vancouver, he was the defensively responsible one. He is fast and he backchecks hard. Don't confuse a lack of physical play with defensive irresponsibility, he has just never been a physical player.

I think they'd be insane to scratch BMo tomorrow. He's been skating really well.

Posted by: MorrisonFan | April 14, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

If Montreal wins this series, this line will be the reason why ...

Cammalleri-Plekanec-A.Kostitsyn

... It may be their second line, but it's the one the Caps will have the toughest time containing.

Posted by: writered21 | April 15, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't this the first time two Russians on the same team had 40 and 50 goals respectively? So, why couldn't it be the first time a team won the Stanley Cup with a Russian captain?

Once again I say. Don't pay attention to numbers. Do pay attention to what you see on the ice.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | April 15, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

not the best lineup he coulda put out there. Its going to change. And quick. No way he stays with this lineup even thru the 1st 3 games. And for my money, I'd rather see BMo in there over Belanger. BMo just has more desire in his game these days. I see the forward lineup changing by game 3 if not earlier. The D is a harder call because the Habs forwards are more speed/skill driven. Maybe if we start giving up too many scoring chances you'll see a Sloan inserted into the lineup.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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