- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
Capitals-Bruins NHL playoffs primer
KEYS TO THE SERIES
1. Turning to the kid
When the Capitals signed veteran Tomas Vokoun in July, the intent was for him to be the man and, eventually, the playoff starter. You can’t always get what you want, or even Michal Neuvirth healthy enough to get the nod for the second straight year. As GM George McPhee pointed out, the Caps “have no choice” but to hand the reins to 22-year-old Braden Holtby, who played in just seven NHL games this season. But he’s more than ready. “I don’t think there was ever a question about that. If I did question it, we’re in trouble,” Holtby said. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins go with reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas.
2. Match game
Dale Hunter likes matching lines, though he admitted that’s harder to do on the road. The Bruins feature six 20-goal scorers and offensive punch from every line. “I think that plays to [coach Claude Julien’s] strength, also. He can respond,” Boston GM Peter Chiarelli said. “I think our depth through the forward position lets us mix up the lines and sometimes that can throw a hard matcher off.” The key for the Capitals is finding favorable chances for Alex Ovechkin and Co. to succeed, ideally away from Zdeno Chara.
3. Faceoff and on
There’s no better faceoff team in the league than the Bruins, who feature one of the best in Patrice Bergeron. The Capitals are likely at least starting the series with Jeff Halpern out of the lineup, which means it’s on Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle to control the puck off faceoffs. Capitals centers held their own in the past two meetings, but they’ll need to step up as Boston cranks into playoff mode. “When you go into a faceoff, if you have the mindset that you want to win it, it’s going to make a big difference,” Bergeron said.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Everyone in hockey will be watching as Ovechkin, a 1.35-point-a-game player in the playoffs, goes up against Chara, who might be playing the best defense of his distinguished NHL career. “Chara takes pride in shutting down Ovechkin,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman said it “motivates” him to play against superstars. Capitals coach Dale Hunter knows Chara will be against Ovechkin as much as Boston can make that happen, but Ovechkin downplayed the matchup. “It’s going to be nice. It’s not going to be just against me and Chara,” Ovechkin said. “It’s going to be Boston vs. Washington, and of course our personalities is going to be out there but the most important thing is how is the team going to respond to what’s going to happen out there.”
CAPS’ PROJECTED LINES
Alex Ovechkin-Brooks Laich-Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Marcus Johansson
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Washington Redskins' 2014 schedule opens with Texans
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014