2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog - Conference Quarter-finals
Given an extra day between Game 1 and Game 2, both the Capitals and the Rangers decided to go light Thursday. Most of Washington’s top players, including Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green, took the day off from practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.
“We’re coming up to their 84th game, and as we all know the playoff games are a lot more intense than the regular season,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “As you saw there was a lot more hitting going on than a normal game, so some of them had some bumps and bruises and it is better take off. They’ll all be on the ice for practice tomorrow.”
A little later in the day, only eight members of the Rangers took to the ice downtown at Verizon Center.
“[Just to] get them out of the building,” New York coach John Tortorella said. “We want them to get away and we’ll start again tomorrow with tape. I don’t want to overload them and have them thinking too much. Tomorrow is a day to look at some things both for us and against us.”
Jose Theodore’s first playoff game with the Capitals was one to forget, but was it bad enough for there not to be a second on Saturday afternoon? Theodore certainly thinks so.
“It is the first game – I don’t really know what you are referring to,” Theodore said when asked of the change. “It is 1-0 in the series. I’ve been down 3-1 in a series and came back and won. I think you’re jumping the gun a bit when the team is down 1-0.”
But Boudreau was coy with the media after practice. He refused to say who his starter would be and when he would inform Theodore and backup (rookie Simeon Varlamov) who would be in net for Game 2.
One of the eight Rangers that did skate Thursday was captain Chris Drury, who missed Game 1 with an undisclosed injury. Drury was on the ice for warm-ups Wednesday night, but did not play after also skipping the final game of the regular season.
RUMINATING ABOUT THE REFS
One game into this series and both sides have already taken issued with the officiating. In fact it only took 18 seconds for Tortorella to get steamed when Dan Girardi was sent to the penalty box for holding.
“It was a brutal call. My gosh, it was just a brutal call in a playoff series,” Tortorella said.
He also didn’t like the non-call when Mike Green leveled Fredrik Sjostrom into the boards later in the game. Sjostrom didn’t get up immediately and wobbled to the bench, but his coach said he is fine.
“I’m not going to play referee but I have Dan Girardi’s call at the beginning of the game and a non-call here. It just makes no sense to me.”
Boudreau wasn’t about to give the officials a free pass. He said he was “surprised” there was no penalty when Sean Avery collided with Green near the Washington blue line. Green fell to the ice, giving Scott Gomez a clear path to the net on New York’s first goal.
A GREAT OPENER FOR ALEX THE GREAT
Alex Ovechkin didn’t steal a victory with a late third-period goal like he did in Game 1 of last season’s first-round series against Philadelphia, but his playoff opener was pretty impressive. He had six shots on goal and six hits against the Rangers – in the first period alone.
He finished the game with 13 shots on net, which tied a season high, and 28 attempts. Ovechkin also had a pair of assists – Tomas Fleischmann tipped in one of his shots and Alexander Semin banged home one of his rebounds.
“I don’t think he took enough shots,” Boudreau joked. “When you take 522 shots in a year, 13 [in one game] isn’t that surprising to us.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I am really surprised that the sun did come up. We are still fine. We know they are going to play better on Saturday. We know they are a good team. We also know how we’re capable of playing and it is a loss in the loss column but it was still with seven minutes to go a tied game. It is not like it was a 5-1 game and we were outclassed and we weren’t ready. We were ready and we did a lot of good things, and we want to build on those things.”
- Bruce Boudreau
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