The Washington Capitals just finished up a light optional pracitce here at K-Plex in Arlington. There were 10 skaters and all three goalies in the ice at different points.
Obviously the main objective for the Caps tomorrow night is solving Henrik Lundqvist. He has stopped 67 of 70 shots, including all 35 yesterday.
One area of emphasis is more traffic in front of the goaltender, though Bruce Boudreau said the Caps haven’t been all that bad at getting bodies there in the first two games. Converting rebounds once the guys are parked in front is another matter. There have been several missed opportunities — either the man in front couldn’t get his stick on it or Lundqvist was able to steer the rebound away.
Another big problem has been shots not getting to Lundqvist in the first place. The Rangers blocked 29 in Game 2. Brian Pothier said not only do the forwards in charge of defending the points do a good job of getting in the way, but New York is very good at having layers of shot blockers, so if the point man gets the shot past the first guy there might be another guy or two waiting closer to the net to get in the way.
Brooks Laich put it more simply — the Caps just have to take better advantage of the open looks they get. For all of the talk about dirty goals and how teams only score dirty goals in the playoffs, the Rangers have score four goals on the rush and one on a shot from the cirlce on the power play. No deflections, only one that was partially screened.
As for a few other notes:
* Jose Theodore spoke for the first time since being benched yesterday, so here is what he had to say:
“I didn’t see that coming to be honest,” he said. “One thing through my career that nobody can take away is that I was always a fighter and always to bounce back through challenges and to me, that’s a big challenge. I didn’t have the chance to bounce back because I didn’t play but I was really supportive of Simeon. I was in a similar situation in Montreal when I was 20 – I wasn’t supposed to play and I ended up playing the last couple games. I tired to give him advice and make sure he wasn’t too nervous. I thought he did a great job. For me, it’s still could be a long series. So many years, you look at Carolina and so many different situations where both goalies had a chance to play and they still made it a long way. I’ll work hard and get ready and be supportive of my teammates.”
* Simeon Varlamov said the game was on television in his hometown of Samara, Russia, and his family was able to watch. He said he “lots of messages” on his phone after the game yesterday.
“Phone calls to Russia are too expensive,” Varlamov said.
* Boudreau offered no indications about any lineup changes for tomorrow night.