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Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau had two chances to put superstar Alex Ovechkin in late during Tuesday's overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks, something with which the team captain was clearly unhappy following the game. However, both men have put the incident behind them.
Boudreau wants to emphasize accountability, which is what his move Tuesday night was meant to do. The coach says Ovechkin "understands and gets it," according to Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times. "He's a great captain that way. He gets mad because he wants to play and he wants to compete."
The victory kept the Capitals (8-2-0, 16 points) atop the Southeast Division. They next take the ice this Friday, Nov. 4, against the Carolina Hurricanes. We'll have a better idea of where the two men stand following that game.
BALLSTON, Va. - Less than one day after he was benched at the end of the Washington Capitals' 5-4 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks, forward Alex Ovechkin admitted that while he was "pissed off" at the time, he understood head coach Bruce Boudreau's decision.
"Well, I was pissed off," Ovechkin said. "Of course I wanted to be in the situation on the ice."
Boudreau decided to leave Ovechkin on the bench in the waning moments of Tuesday's game. With about a minute left in the third period and the Caps down 4-3, Boudreau elected to send Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera, Joel Ward, Brooks Laich, John Carlson and Dennis Wideman on the ice instead of Ovechkin. Much has been made about what happened before the play when Ovechkin apparently cursed in Boudreau's direction upon hearing the news.
"It doesn't matter who I said it and what I said," Ovechkin said. "It looked funny on TV. I don't know. It's right now big story. It's just a little bit frustrating because I'm a leader on the team and I want to be on that kind of responsibility. Bruce put Brooks' line and it worked."
Boudreau said after practice Wednesday that he did not see or hear Ovechkin's cursing, but he stuck by his decision to put the third line on the ice.
"You don't have that much time to think," Boudreau said of game-time decisions. "Like I said last night, I was playing a hunch. That line was going so good. Everytime they were on the ice, they had the puck in their zone. I just thought they were going to score. I played a lot of hunches in my time that haven't worked, but nobody's asked me about them. This one worked."
Boudreau said that he and Ovechkin haven't spoken about the incident, but based on Wednesday's practice and the comments both parties made, the issue is dead.
"It's good for the team," Ovechkin said. "I have to respond for it. It's one team and it doesn't matter how good you are or who you are. If you want to win, you have to be on the same page. Everybody."
Bruce Boudreau pulled Alex Ovechkin off the ice last night with a chance to tie the game against the Anaheim Ducks, and it has become a pretty big National story. The Capitals ended up winning the game 5-4, but everyone wants to talk about Boudreau's decision, whether it was the right choice and how it might affect the psyche of the team moving forward. Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside held a little chat on ESPN about the subject this morning, and it includes a quote from Bruce Boudreau about the decision he made.
“I know what people are saying, first time in history that I didn’t put him out in the last minute and they’re making a big stink about it,” Boudreau told ESPN.com. “But it was really nothing. I just thought that the Laich line was going and deserved to be out there.”
For Boudreau, it wasn't about teaching Alex Ovechkin a lesson or trying to send a message to the team, it was simply the coach trying to put the players on the ice that had the most success that evening. And it seemed to work out for them because they scored the tying goal and won the game in overtime. I expect there to be more made of this decision, but for Boudreau, it was just about winning the game.
Bruce Boudreau benching Alex Ovechkin in the final minute of regulation in the Capitals' 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks is just the latest example of him not being afraid to hold anyone on the team accountable for poor play.
The Capitals got a very exciting win on Tuesday against a very good Anaheim Ducks squad, but nobody seems to want to talk about the final scoreline. With just over a minute to go in regulation and the Capitals trailing by one goal, Bruce Boudreau pulled his goalie to get an extra-man, but he also pulled his best player Alex Ovechkin. He discusses that decision, and Ovechkin reacts to that move, in this video from CSN Washington. Transcription of those comments below.
You watched the game. You tell me. I thought other guys were better than him, and I thought there was just a chance that other guys would score the goal. I gotta put out the guys that I think are gonna score the goal, and 99% of the time Alex is the guy that I think is gonna score the goal. I just didn't think he was going to score the goal at that time tonight.
I think the Ward and Brooks Laich line played unbelievable today, they scored like four goals. It's a coaching decision, it's working.
The Washington Capitals were on their way to a frustrating home loss to the Anaheim Ducks, but the Nicklas Backstrom saved the day, scoring a goal in the final minute of regulation, then another in the third minute of overtime to give Washington a 5-4 win. The victory moved Washington to 8-2-0 on the season and snapped a two-game skid.
Here are the two goals scored by Backstrom, via our friends at CSN Washington.
The finish was certainly dramatic, but there are concerns about the team, as Japers' Rink spells out.
If you didn't know it before the season started, you know it now: the Washington Capitals are a good team. Their quick-strike ability can keep them in any contest. Even on nights that they do not bring their "A" game - like tonight - they still manage to squeak out two points against a quality opponent. But it shouldn't mask the reality that the Caps still have a lot of bad habits that must be corrected. For tonight may have been a memorable win on national television, but there were too many self-imposed miscues that could have cost them, undisciplined mistakes that we saw too frequently the past few springs.
The Washington Capitals were on track to suffer their third straight defeat, trailing the Anaheim Ducks, 4-3, with less than a minute to go in regulation. But then Nicklas Backstrom swooped in to save the day. First, he tied the game up with 42 seconds left on a rebound, and then he won it a few minutes later in overtime.
Backstrom took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the Ducks, as he got a bouncing puck in front and put it by Jonas Hiller to give Washington the win. Alex Ovechkin, who did not play at the end of regulation when the Capitals needed a goal, got the assist, as did Jeff Schultz, who kept the puck in play and sent it to the front.
The Capitals dominated play after getting off to a horrendous start and ended up outshooting the Ducks, 40-15. The beginning of the game went horribly, though, as they fell behind 3-0. It took a strong second period and some late heroics by Backstrom to collectively snatch a win from the jaws of defeat.
The Washington Capitals dominated play for most of the third quarter against the Anaheim Ducks, so it was only a matter of time until they finally made up a deficit. The Capitals nearly lost the game, but managed to tie the score with 42 seconds left thanks to a goal by Nicklas Backstrom.
The Capitals placed six skaters on the ice and pressured the Ducks' defense, and eventually benefited from an open net off a rebound on a save by Jonas Hiller. Joel Ward took the initial shot, and the save went right to Backstrom, who put the puck up in the top left corner for the goal.
The Capitals dominated play and nearly got an equalizer several times prior to Backstrom's goal, but the Ducks took back control on a power play, which has been an issue for Washington this season. Goalie Tomas Vokoun picked up a penalty for tripping Corey Perry on a breakaway, and a minute later, Perry cashed in on the power play to give Anaheim the 4-2 lead.
Washington got back to within one goal on a bit of a fluke play. John Erskine knocked the puck way up the ice to Troy Brouwer, who ripped a wrist shot at Jonas Hiller. The puck floated high up in the air and somehow landed behind Hiller for the goal. Mathieu Perreault tried to tip it in, but missed, so Brouwer got credit for the goal.
The Capitals' best chance to tie came when they picked up a power play after the Ducks were called for a delay of game. However, they only got one shot off as Anaheim easily killed the penalty off.
The hunted have become the hunters. Duck hunters.
The Ducks took a 3-0 lead at 8:59 with some great passing during sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Cam Fowler sent a cross-ice pass to the opposite faceoff circle, where Teemu Selanne was waiting for a one-timer that beat Tomas Vokoun for his fifth goal of the season and second of the night.
Luckily for Washington, Joel Ward put an end to Anaheim's run at 13:23 when he battled through several Ducks and threw a sharp-angle shot that rolled between Jonas Hiller's legs and into the net. It was Ward's third goal of the season.
Wideman's blast from the point cut the Ducks' lead to 3-2 at 16:33 after an interesting sequence. Vokoun cleared the puck the length of the ice and Hiller went to play it. Ward, however, was able to take advantage of Hiller's hesitance as the puck was dangerously close to the edge of the trapezoidal area where goalies cannot play the puck. Ward got the puck to Brooks Laich, whose wraparound attempt was blocked. Laich corralled his rebound and sent a cross-ice pass to an open Wideman, who fired it past Hiller to give the Caps life.
Shots are 21-11 in favor of Washington
Selanne and Koivu have a goal and an assist each as the Anaheim Ducks lead the Caps 2-0m after 20 minutes.
Koivu's first of the season and first since April 9 gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 9:05. Miscommunication behind the net between Roman Hamrlik and Dennis Wideman left Selanne free to pick up the puck and fire a centering pass to Koivu in the slot. Koivu was patient with the puck, but Tomas Vokoun wasn't with his save attempt as he committed before the puck left Koivu's stick. That left the upper half of the net wide open for Koivu to score.
Koivu returned the favor when he set up Selanne's fourth goal of the season at 13:39 to Anaheim a 2-0 lead. Toni Lydman's slap shot from the point went wide and ricocheted off the back wall right to Koivu in front of the net. Koivu slipped a pass across the crease to a waiting Selanne, who tapped it in.
Washington has more shots than Anaheim (9-6), but the latter has played better overall.
The Washington Capitals look to start a new winning streak on Tuesday night when they host the struggling Anaheim Ducks at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. After a torrid 7-0 start to the 2011-2012 season, the Caps dropped two consecutive road games, at Edmonton and and at Vancouver, last week. After three days of rest, the Caps return to their home ice Tuesday night, their first game at home since October, 22nd.
The Ducks are also on a two-game losing streak, having dropped road games at Minnesota and Nashville on Thursday and Saturday of last week. Like the Caps, Anaheim also started the new year well but has since struggled with five losses in its previous six games.
Who: Washington Capitals (7-2-0, 14 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (5-5-1, 11 points)
Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
When: 7:30 p.m. est
TV Information: Broadcast nationally on Versus; local coverage on Locally, the game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Washington D.C. with Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin.
Radio: Capitals Radio 1500.
BALLSTON, Va. - Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green did not participate in the team's official morning skate prior to Tuesday's game against the Anaheim Ducks, but he did skate for about 15 minutes before morning skate and about 10 minutes after. Green said after returning to the locker room that he's feeling better.
"I'm good," Green said. "It felt good. I'm day-to-day here. Today was a good day for me and I finally got out there. Hopefully, I'll be back soon."
Green has yet to fully practice or play since twisting his right ankle during last Saturday's 7-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. After being struck in the face with the puck during the first period of that game, Green fell to the ice and hurt his ankle in the process. Green finished the game, but his ankle swelled up when he removed his skate afterwards and he has not played since.
Despite practicing, Green has no timetable for his return.
"If I feel good enough to play, I'll play," Green said. "There's no date set yet. I want to make sure I take care of it."
Green also said that he feels like he needs at least one more full practice before considering a return, which head coach Bruce Boudreau believes could come Wednesday.
"He felt a lot better," Boudreau said. "From all accounts, he'll be at practice tomorrow.".
Erskine has been out while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery he had in May. The Caps assigned Sean Collins, who appeared in both games of Washington's two-game road trip last week, to AHL Hershey Tuesday and only six defensemen took part in Tuesday's skate. When asked after practice if he was ready to go, Erskine confirmed that he was cleared.
"I'm cleared, so I'm good to go tonight," he said.
Meanwhile, Eakin got the call to Washington Monday and was on the ice Tuesday. Eakin returned to the locker room while Jeff Halpern stayed on the ice for extra work, usually denoting a healthy scratch. Eakin has appeared in 10 games with the Bears this season and is ready to make his debut.
"I'm pretty happy," Eakin said. "It's exciting. I get an opportunity to play my first game."
More to come after practice.
The Caps returned home from their first road trip of the season Monday and the forward lines looked much different than they did when they left last week.
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