The Capitals held a morning skate today before their game three Eastern Conference Semifinals match against the New York Rangers at 7:30pm tonight. The Caps and Rangers are tied at one game a piece with the next two games at Verizon Center.
The Caps lines this morning looked like: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Johansson, Chimera-Laich-Semin, Hendricks-Beagle-Brouwer, Knuble-Aucoin-Ward, Alzner-Carlson, Hamrlik-Green, Schultz-Wideman.
Nicklas Backstrom looks to be back with Alex Ovechkin on the number one line for the game tonight which would be the first time the two of them would start the game together on the same line in the playoffs.
“I think we have good chemistry,” Alex Ovechkin said on playing with Backstrom.
“I don’t know if we’re going to play a whole game or just going to be like one period or maybe one shift, we’ll see,” Ovechkin added.
Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter wouldn’t say if Ovechkin and Backstrom are going to be playing together again.
“I don’t know whose playing with who yet,” Hunter said. “It was just, throw them out there for practice and see what happens.”
The Caps likely scratches that aren’t the black aces are: Erskine, Halpern, Orlov, Sjogren, Perreault and Vokoun.
Goalie Tomas Vokoun skated today with the healthy scratches and the black aces (call-ups from Hershey).
Braden Holtby (5-4, 2.12 GAA, .931 Save pct.) will make his tenth straight playoff start for the Caps and will face veteran Henrik Lundqvist (5-4, 1.77 GAA, .938 Save pct.) for the Rangers.
“We want to continue to stay out of the box,” Caps forward Brooks Laich said on what they have to do better tonight. “We don’t want to get into shoving matches and 4-on-4 opportunities, that sort of stuff. We’ve got to clean up a little bit of our defensive zone, that got a little bit sloppy in game two. And then we have to shoot more pucks. We’ve got to get more chances around the net and control the play a little more.”
The Caps broke through on the power play for the first time against the Rangers in game two. They’re one for seven in the series and four for twenty-six in the playoffs with the extra man.
“That was big for us,” Caps defenseman Denis Wideman said. “We needed to get a PP [power play] goal. Obviously in the playoffs and the way these guys kill it, it’s tough.”
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich and Dennis Wideman had to say following the morning skate today.
Dale Hunter Morning Skate Audio
Alex Ovechkin Morning Skate Audio
Brooks Laich Morning Skate Audio
Dennis Wideman Morning Skate Audio