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Tag:Conference Semifinal
Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Pronger out, Carter a game-time decision

The Philadelphia Flyers will again be without defenseman Chris Pronger, but there appears to be a chance forward Jeff Carter could be back in the lineup for tonight’s Game 3 against the Boston Bruins.

Carter took part in Wednesday’s morning skate, although he was reportedly one of the first players off the ice. The Flyers listed him as a game-time decision and coach Peter Laviolette was hardly definitive when asked about the status of the team’s top goal scorer this season. 

“I think I’m going to pass on all theoretical questions this morning,” Laviolette told CSN Philadelphia. “Jeff Carter looked good this morning.”

Carter sprained his right knee in the Game 4 of the first-round series against the Buffalo Sabres and hasn’t played since.   

Pronger did not take part in the skate and is listed as day to day with a lower body injury.  The Flyers have refused to disclose his injury. He played in Game 1 of this series and the last two games of the first round after he returned from a hand injury. 
   -- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 2:23 pm
 

Is Bruce Boudreau's job on the line? Don't ask

Understandably, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t take too well when asked if another loss could mean the end of his tenure with the club. 

“You guys have been asking me that,” Boudreau said hours before his team attempted to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Is your job on the line? . . . I don’t want to answer that. Stupid question. Stupid.”

He's asked the question about 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the news conference: 


It’s not like this is the first time somebody in the sports media went to Boudreau with that line of questioning. Boudreau was also asked in the midst of a nine-game skid this season and  he had a similar reaction. 

"I don't think about it at all," Boudreau said in December . "It is what it is. We have a great group. I'm not even going to answer such a dumb question."

If only his star players were as dependable. 

As we mentioned last night , Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and most of the Caps players have been ghosts this round. Alex Ovechkin, who had a point and an assist in Game 3, tried to do it all on his own, never a good idea, but can you blame him? Nobody else has stepped up for the Caps for more than a period at a time this round. 

And it appears the Caps will have to contest this elimination game minus their top defenseman. Mike Green, who left Game 3 in the third period for what Boudreau described as a lower-body injury, is questionable (at best) for Game 4. Boudreau refused to talk about his status earlier today. 

These are again frustrating times in the Washington region and Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog that he received 60 e-mails overnight:

I appreciate it.

I empathize.

I understand.

We have a game to play this evening, a unique back-to-back game. A win is a must have deliverable for us under very difficult circumstances.

I, too, am disappointed that we lost two leads last night. Every game is close and we didn’t close out that game and take a win and the momentum back in the series. I am sorry.

We have a lot of work to do.

It is best that we focus on the game tonight. Keep sending good vibes our way. We need the help. Go Caps!


If those good vibes don’t result in four consecutive wins, Leonsis -- one of the more patient owners in sports -- would be the one to lead a makeover of the organization, or at least the front office and, in turn, the coaching staff.  As you can tell by the comments at the end of his post, it would be met with approval by most. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:04 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 3:24 am
 

Canucks win after "chicken wing" penalty call

It took until the 19th overtime game this postseason before a power play goal decided the outcome.

Ryan Kesler not only deflected in the game-winner as the Vancouver Canucks secured a 3-2 victory in Game 3 of the second-round series against the Nashville Predators Tuesday night, but he also drew the somewhat controversial penalty that resulted on the man-advantage  situation. 

Kesler and Preds defenseman Shea Weber battled for the puck in the corner, a clash that eventually moved up the boards toward the blue line. Weber’s stick became entangled with Kesler, which resulted in a hooking minor called on Weber. 

“I thought it was a little bit light considering all the other stuff that was going on,” Predators coach Barry Tortz told reporters after the game. “I’ve seen it. It was as a good sell by Kesler, a chicken wing with the stick and he kept moving. If you look at it, Webs is pushing on him trying to take his stick out of there. I’ve seen it before. One of the earlier games he drew a couple penalties like that by chicken-winging the stick and holding it here. They’ll say it’s a good penalty. I’ll say it’s a bad penalty.”

The Canucks scored 40 seconds into the power play to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. 

The sequence that led to the penalty occurs about midway through this clip:



-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:20 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 3:28 am
 

Capitals primed for another postseason letdown



It’s hard to fathom how a Washington Capitals team that can’t hold a third-period lead would become the fourth team in NHL history to advance after it dropped the first three games in a playoff series. 

That’d take veteran leadership, grit and smarts --- all of which were lacking as the Tampa Bay Lightning eked out a 4-3 victory in Game 3 of the second-round series at the St. Pete Times Forum on Tuesday.

The Caps all but certainly lost the series in a span of 24 seconds early in the third period as Tampa Bay forwards Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone scored for the game’s final margin. A turnover by Eric Fehr led to the Stamkos marker and seconds later Malone drove hard to the net --- something the Caps still refuse to do with regularity --- and a pass from teammate Nate Thompson deflected (legally) off his skate and in. 

“I’m not surprised from what I saw from Tampa,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I’m surprised some of our guys panicked a little bit. That comes when you’re down 2-0 in the series. You’re pushing and they’re coming on pretty hard.”

Boudreau should be used this from his Capitals. He’s taken these rulers of the regular season to the playoffs each of his four seasons at the helm, although the team has only managed series victories over one team: the New York Rangers (twice). A year after they won the Presidents’ Trophy and were bounced in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens, the best team record-wise in the Eastern Conference now stands one game away from elimination.

This loss certainly can’t be pinned on Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored a goal, had an assist and was all over the ice in an attempt to provide a spark even if he tried to do too much at times. And you can’t fault his optimism after the game, even if it’s misplaced. 

“Again, I think we dominated them all game,” Ovechkin said. “They just scored on their chances. They played a solid game on defense and (Lightning goalie Dwayne) Roloson played great. It’s not over.”

The only period the Caps could make an argument they “dominated” was the second as they scored three goals and finished with a 3-2 lead. It was a wash in the first period and the Caps went nearly 13 minutes between shots in the third. 

“We get up for a certain amount of time and I think that our guys think the game is over," Caps forward Jason Arnott said. "The guys just relax a little bit and then they (the Lightning) just come. In the playoffs you need to be focused and ready on every shift. If you aren’t, bad things happen.”

Minus Ovechkin and hard-nosed veteran Mike Knuble who scored the Caps’ first goal, Washington’s top forwards again turned in lackluster performances. Alexander Semin, again too choosy on his shots, didn’t record his first shot until the closing minutes of regulation. Nicklas Backstrom, who at this point better have some sort of injury to explain his ineffectiveness, has two points in the playoffs – none in Game 3 --- and hasn’t had a goal in 16 games overall. 

While the Caps’ play hasn’t been consistent, at least Boudreau is. When the going gets tough, Bruce gets tough on the refs. 

“It sounds like I’m whining,” Boudreau prefaced one comment before he complained about a first-period goal that was disallowed after Semin jumped on the ice early. Replays clearly showed that the Caps had six skaters on the ice, but Boudreau called the too many men on the ice rule “ambiguous.”

He also didn’t like Malone’s goal where he battled with Caps defenseman John Carlson for position in front of goalie Michal Neuvirth

“If you look at it, Malone is driving the net and he’s pushing our player into our goaltender and he can’t kick out his right leg to make the save,” Boudreau said. “It’s a no-goal, no-penalty call.”

Actually, it looked like a typical, hard-driving goal you see this time of year. You can forgive Boudreau, since he doesn’t see that a whole lot from his skaters.

But no worries. A loss in Game 4 on Wednesday and Boudreau may no longer have to worry about the Caps or their middling postseasons ever again.  

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: May 3, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Lightning's Kubina, Gagne to miss more time

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina will miss his second consecutive game for a hit that he hinted may have deserved another look by league officials. 

“Of course, I saw it a couple times,” Kubina told reporters before Game 3 of the first-round series against the Washington Capitals today. “It’s Mr. (Colin) Campbell’s decision. It’s not mine.”

Kubina’s head was driven into the boards during the second period of Game 1 by Caps forward Jason Chimera. The hit drew roughing minor, but Campbell, the NHL’s disciplinarian, did not dole out a suspension. Kubina only described his injury as “upper body,” although it appears that Kubina and forward Simon Gagne -- who also went down in Game 1 with an apparent head injury -- could be dealing with concussions. 

Lightning coach Guy Boucher also said the duo were also likely be out for Wednesday’s Game 4. 

“If I want them to play tomorrow, I better start praying,” Boucher cracked. “They won’t play. They are day-to-day except for today and tomorrow. ”



-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 3, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:04 am
 

Lightning assistant "alert" after brain surgery

Tampa Bay Lightning assistant Wayne Fleming was "awke and alert" after undergoing lengthy surgery Tuesday to remove a malignant brain tumor, head coach Guy Boucher told reporters after his team's 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals

“That was the first thing we talked about," Boucher said. "We didn’t talk about the win.“

Fleming underwent surgery to remove the tumor in Irvine, Calif., an operation that reportedly was supposed to take eight hours or longer. The Lightning announced last month that Fleming had been diagnosed with the tumor and he’s already had one surgery to address it. 

“We did bring it up, but we didn’t draw on it for inspiration,” Boucher told reporters earlier in the day. “We bought it up to make sure the payers are aware of what’s going on. It’s not something we want to hide. It’s obviously a very, very serious operation and, to be honest with you, personally, I can’t wait to see how it went. It’s a very tough day for him, his family and for our team.  We care about the man. Hockey is way behind all that.”

Fleming has remained in contact with Lightning players and coaches through text messaging and the team dedicated the first round of the playoffs to him. 

"This is a big family and he's a big part of ,” Lightning defenseman Randy Jones told The St. Petersburg Times. “Your thoughts and prayers are with him and you're thinking about him. . . He'd want us to go and focus 100 percent on this game and work hard, and that's what we have to do."

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 3, 2011 12:23 am
Edited on: May 3, 2011 2:26 am
 

Boucher dislocates finger, returns to Game 2

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher only separated a finger this time.

Boucher -- who was forced out of Game 5 of a second-round series against the Boston Bruins after he injured both knees a year ago --- missed the final nine minutes of the second period to repair a finger on his left (catching) hand. He returned for the third period and was in net when Boston’s  David Krecji secured a 3-2 overtime victory. 

At least in this instance Flyers coach Peter Laviolette -- who used three goalies in the first round -- wasn’t replacing a netminder to just shake things up. Boucher, who allowed two first-period goals as the Flyers relinquished a 2-0 lead, rebounded and finished with 32 saves on the night. 

Even though it was widely reported by CSN Philadelphia and elsewhere that Boucher dislocated his finger, Laviolette told reporters that Boucher had “a malfunction.” 

Well, I guess that sounds a little better than an upper-body injury, right? 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:00 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Thousands join God Bless America rendition

A good portion of the 19,000-plus fans at Game 2 of Boston Bruins-Phiadelhia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center Monday joined Lauren Hart (and the late Kate Smith on the video board) in the singing of God Bless America, a stirring tribute that comes a day after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden.

The crowd also observed a moment of silence before the game.

-- A.J. Perez

 
 
 
 
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