- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

SPOTLIGHT ON

CAPITALS F ALEXANDER SEMIN

Semin’s five goals in the first round led the NHL, but through three games against Pittsburgh he has only three assists and is a minus-2. The Penguins have done a good job bottling up the winger, who has been unable to gather a head of steam entering the Pittsburgh zone. But it’s time to start scoring and help Alex Ovechkin, who has five of the Caps’ nine goals this series.

PENGUINS C EVGENI MALKIN

Invisible for the first two games, Malkin was on a mission in Game 3, posting team highs in ice time (29:38) and shots on goal (nine) to go with his first goal of the series. He controlled the play, and the Caps had no answer for him in the neutral and offensive zones. It’s time for the Caps to counter. They have to be stronger defensively and not give Malkin so much room to create.

STORY LINES

1. Penalty problems

The Capitals spent much of Game 3 in their own zone, and six of their seven penalties came at that end of the ice. This is a team that can kill penalties (14-for-17 against Pittsburgh) and score on the power play (3-for-9), but they have to be smarter and do more on the forecheck to tire out Pittsburgh’s defensemen and draw penalties.

2. Matching Pittsburgh’s urgency

The Penguins’ season was on the line Wednesday, and they played like a desperate team, taking it to the Caps after the opening 10 minutes and outshooting them 42-23. The Caps have to play with the same kind of want-to; coach Bruce Boudreau said his team played not to lose for stretches of Game 3. This series is still in the Caps’ hands, and they have to play like it.

3. Fedorov’s effectiveness

Caps center Sergei Fedorov has been much better against the freewheeling Penguins than he was against the defense-minded Rangers. But he appeared to sustain a rib cage injury in Game 3, in which he played less than 16 minutes. Boudreau should keep Fedorov with Ovechkin and Viktor Kozlov but shift to an Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Semin line if Fedorov doesn’t appear right physically.

- Ryan O’Halloran

CAPITALS LINES

FORWARDS

Alex Ovechkin

Sergei Fedorov

Viktor Kozlov

Tomas Fleischmann

Nicklas Backstrom

Alexander Semin

Brooks Laich

David Steckel

Matt Bradley

Chris Clark

Boyd Gordon

Michael Nylander

DEFENSE

Shaone Morrisonn

Mike Green

Tom Poti

Milan Jurcina

Brian Pothier

Tyler Sloan

GOALIES

Simeon Varlamov

Jose Theodore

PENGUINS LINES

FORWARDS

Chris Kunitz

Sidney Crosby

Bill Guerin

Ruslan Fedotenko

Evgeni Malkin

Max Talbot

Matt Cooke

Jordan Staal

Tyler Kennedy

Pascal Dupuis

Craig Adams

Miroslav Satan

DEFENSE

Brooks Orpik

Sergei Gonchar

Hal Gill

Rob Scuderi

Mark Eaton

Kris Letang

GOALIES

Marc-Andre Fleury

Mathieu Garon

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