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Caps' coach has different feel for Penguins

By The The Tribune-Review
Monday, May 4, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Penguins cited their discipline as a factor in having five power-play attempts to the Caps' two in Game 1, but Washington coach Bruce Boudreau had a different theory.

"I don't think they were disciplined," Boudreau said. "I just don't think we got the calls. A minute before (defenseman John) Erskine's call, they tripped (right wing Matt) Bradley in the corner. I don't know if it was because it was (Pens center Evgeni) Malkin or what. A few minutes before that (left wing Alex Ovechkin) got interfered with behind the net by (Pens defenseman Kris) Letang.

"I thought they definitely got the benefit of the calls."

Practice what they preach

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma had an extended on-ice chat with left wing Ruslan Fedotenko, one that lasted for at least 20 minutes, at the conclusion of Sunday's practice at the Verizon Center.

"We're both talkative people," Bylsma said.

While that was going on, Bylsma's assistants — Tom Fitzgerald, Mike Yeo and Gilles Meloche — engaged defenseman Philippe Boucher, right wing Miroslav Satan and left wing Matt Cooke in a half-ice game of 3-on-3.

Petr principle

Bylsma didn't sound like a guy who regretted his decision to reinsert right wing Petr Sykora into the lineup for Game 1 following a two-game absence. Sykora went scoreless in 11:23 and registered one shot.

"He moved his feet better, skated better and had better execution with the puck," Bylsma said.

Sykora has two goals in his last 17 games.

"Petr is the type of player that scores the goal, but (Game 1) was one where he played the right way and better in terms of away from the puck," Bylsma said. "That's how he's got to play to put himself in position to score the goal. I have tons of confidence that he's going to score the goal. If you gave me one guy to shoot the puck, he'd be one I pick.

"I have a ton of confidence that he's going to get that chance and rip it into the net when he gets that chance."

Russian the puck

Bradley has caught on. Considering his Russian teammates — Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov — have combined for 114 regular-season goals, he knows what to do when he has the puck.

"I got a rule," Bradley said. "Whenever I have a chance to pass to a Russian on our team, I do. You know good things will happen."

Glove story

The long-range goal Pens defenseman Mark Eaton scored in Game 1 went through goalie Simeon Varlamov's catching glove. Varlamov responded by breaking in a new glove during the Caps' practice yesterday, but he will be sticking with his old glove tonight.

Postseason 'experience'

After starting Game 1 against the Pens, Varlamov has more appearances in the playoffs (seven) than he does in the regular season (six).

It had been awhile

Center David Steckel's goal in Game 1 was the first scored by the Caps in May since Joe Juneau netted one in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final in 1998.


"I just took a few shots and went over the exact same play (from Game 1), but I do that with any play. When you miss an opportunity, usually you go back the next day and work on it. Usually you're not working on an open net, but I had to" — the Penguins Sidney Crosby on shooting into an empty net at practice.

"He don't understand the attention. He thinks he knows what is going on, but I think it's good for him that he doesn't understand. He can't speak English right now, and that's good for us. We have a goalie who can't speak English and can still play well" — the Caps' Alex Ovechkin on teammate and goaltender Simeon Varlamov.


36 — Percent of his career playoff goals Penguins C Sidney Crosby has scored this postseason. He has tallied five goals in seven games after scoring just nine in 25 previous playoff contests



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