Sunday, February 01, 2009

Boudreau Not Afraid To Mix It Up

The Capitals found themselves in an unique position coming into the game with the Detroit Red Wings, they had a full line up. Not since November 6th have the Capitals played with their opening night roster. It didn't look as it were the right time for Bruce Boudreau to start mixing up the lines just before taking on the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but it was.

The top line featured the Russian trio Alex Semin, Sergei Fedorov and Alex Ovechkin. Boudreau obviously wanted his firepower known on the front line. But this line would be broken up for another Russian trio in the third period.

Nick Backstrom dropped to the second line with Eric Fehr and Tomas Fleischmann. Backstrom's play has been stagnate of late, perhaps a line demotion would spark something for him. While Eric Fehr's promotion to the second line seemed to get him more chances to score.

Third line consisted of veterans Viktor Kozlov, Micheal Nylander and a demoted Brooks Laich. The last scoring line is sort of a left overs line that bumped both Kozlov and Laich down. And the checking line is pretty much the old staple of Donald Brashear, Dave Steckel and Matt Bradley.

The power play and penalty kill lineups pretty much stayed the same.

During the course of the game, Semin was demoted to the third line after taking yet another bad penalty late in the second period that lead to a game tying power play goal for the Red Wings. Kozlov made the jump up to the top line and it was his pass that was behind Ovi that lead to a pretty game winning goal.

Boudreau's mixing the lines seemed to stir the pot for the Capitals. It seemed to work as the Caps beat the slumping Detroit Red Wings who have now lost their last five games.

  • Looking back at the replay of the third period, both delay of game penalties actually weren't. Brooks Laich clearing attempt actually was a deflection after Brian Rafalski got his stick on Laich's when he cleared. Tom Poti's delay of game penalty was directly off a Dan Cleary's stick. Two phantom calls that the Capitals were able to overcome.

  • Detroit's head coach Mike Babcock downplayed Ovechkin's effort against his team. "When you think of dominating a game, I don’t think Ovi did that tonight. They pay him to score and that’s what he did at the end." That's adding a bit of fuel to the fire.

  • There were a lot of red and white Wing's jerseys at the phone booth, but they were quickly drowned out after Ovechkin's game winning goal. A long time Capitals' season ticket holder was seen wearing a Detroit sweater and cheering for the visiting team. When we asked her why she was suddenly a Red Wing fan she looked at us annoyed and said she was always a Red Wings fan. Which a friend of mine retorted, "You are buying tickets in the wrong building." She didn't talk to us for the rest of the game.

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