- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brian Pothier’s comeback tale adds another chapter Saturday.

Coach Bruce Boudreau told Pothier he will be in the lineup for the Washington Capitals for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers. Pothier missed 14 months because of a concussion and subsequent complications.

“I’m really excited to play,” he said. “Anytime you sit out, you want to contribute and be a part of the team. You try to take the best out of that situation and try to watch. Maybe I know a little more what to expect now.”

Defenseman Jeff Schultz didn’t practice Friday because of an undisclosed injury. His absence opens a spot for Pothier, who had one goal and two assists in nine games for the Caps this season.

Boudreau said he wanted Pothier to play as much as possible in the final few weeks of the season, but he ended up being a healthy scratch for Game 1.

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” Pothier said. “I know all of our guys here - or most of them - have all played 70 to 75 games this year, and they’re real fine-tuned and playing well. I was just trying to get up to speed. The coaching staff felt that was a better matchup against the Rangers, and that’s fine. I am just on standby until they need me.”

Foul faceoffs?

The Caps dominated the Rangers in Game 1 in the faceoff circle by winning 46 of 66 draws.

Both Sergei Fedorov (14 of 20) and Nicklas Backstrom (13 of 18) were great in the circle, but so were Brooks Laich (eight of 11) and Boyd Gordon (four of five). None of the four Rangers players who took a draw did better than Scott Gomez’s nine of 23 (39 percent).

Coach John Tortorella hinted at foul play.

“We were terrible, but they are a good faceoff team with Fedorov and Backstrom,” he said. “I guess my biggest concern is I just want to make sure the faceoffs are legal. From the tape I watched, I just hope the faceoffs are legal. The tying up and kicking can’t be done until the puck hits the ice, and a number of them I don’t think were.”

Odds and ends

Rangers captain Chris Drury, suffering from an undisclosed injury, practiced Friday at Verizon Center. Drury said he felt better, and Tortorella said he was a game-time decision. …

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist got a scare in practice when he collided with burly forward Nik Antropov. Lundqvist said his neck was sore but that he would be fine.

“You don’t feel pain in the playoffs,” he said. …

Mike Green’s “Rock the ‘Hawk” promotion has been a success for the second straight year, but he and a couple of teammates went a step further in helping the team’s marketing department. Green, Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin went to Kenny’s Hair Salon in Arlington and had red streaks put in their hair.

“You can’t ‘rock the red’ without red hair,” Backstrom said.

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