- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — Sergei Fedorov has been asked to play defense enough times in his career that he’s comfortable volunteering to do it, even in a playoff game. So when Jeff Schultz when down after five shifts with what the defenseman said were back spasms, Fedorov spoke up.

The 38-year-old center filled in for much of the game on the blue line last night, giving the Washington Capitals six defensemen to finish the game. He skated 24 shifts, still managing to lead the team with 11 faceoff wins.

“Coach and I came to a decision. I volunteered to play a little bit of defense, and he agreed,” Fedorov said. “I went back there for a couple shifts. But then it worked out good, so I stayed a couple more.”

Fedorov occasionally played defense for the Detroit Red Wings during his 13 years there and filled in there for the Columbus Blue Jackets last year. He said he had not discussed the possibility with coach Bruce Boudreau before the game, but the coach said the impromptu move worked well.

“I thought he moved the puck well. The pace of the game was such that our ‘D’ was getting pretty tired, especially when Mike Green broke a skate blade in the second period and missed time and he got seven minutes in the box [in the third],” Boudreau said. “We needed to give these guys a break, and if we ever need to put Sergei back there, what better time to experiment at it, so that’s what we did.”

Thoresen back in lineup

Flyers forward Patrick Thoresen, who spent Friday night in Washington Hospital Center after he was struck in the groin by a Mike Green slap shot during Game 1 at Verizon Center, was back in Philadelphia’s lineup last night.

He was on the team’s fourth line, playing 9:15, and was on the ice for the Flyers’ third goal.

Fourth line continues to score

The Caps’ fourth line scored its third goal of the series last night when Eric Fehr took a centering pass from Donald Brashear and managed to put a wrist shot by Martin Biron while falling down.

It was Fehr’s first playoff goal, and it followed scores by Brashear and David Steckel in Game 1.

“I had to reach out for it so I just wanted to put it on net,” said Fehr, who was inserted into the lineup before Game 3 to give Washington a more physical presence up front. “That was kind of our line’s game plan, and one squeaked in. It was a lucky one.”

Bouchard signs

The Caps signed forward Francois Bouchard, a second-round pick by the franchise in the 2006 draft, to a three-year entry-level contract yesterday.

Bouchard already had begun playing with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout (ATO) agreement.

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Bouchard led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 125 points in 68 games last season, but finished with only 92 in the same number of games this year. Bouchard, whose older brother Pierre-Marc plays for the Minnesota Wild, had one goal in four regular-season games with the Bears, who begin their first-round series in the Calder Cup Playoffs with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tonight.

“Sometimes you have a different makeup of the team, sometimes the team isn’t as good,” Caps general manager George McPhee said of Bouchard’s statistical decline. “We’re not concerned about that. He’s shown he can do it. He’s a smart hockey player. He’s got good offensive instincts. He’s got other things he needs to work on, but he’s got the most important things — talent and desire.”


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