Latest from Caps-Habs series

April, 20, 2010

MONTREAL -- The Capitals went back to work on their impotent power play on Tuesday. Well, sort of. Instead of working the full drill against a defensive unit, coach Bruce Boudreau had his five guys moving the puck around to try to get into some sort of sync.

"We haven't had any success at all," Boudreau said. "It wasn't a question of practicing it, it was just moving the puck around. We didn't even go against any opposition. We'll have to do it more by video than anything else to get better at it."

The Caps are 0-for-21 dating back to April 9, including a 0-for-14 mark in the series against Montreal.

One of the reasons Boudreau cited for not employing a different practice strategy was that some members of the Montreal coaching staff were in the stands and Boudreau didn't want to tip his hand about any new strategies.

"I was a little bit worried about taking a shot, and we had some people watching it, so we didn't want to show anything," Boudreau said. "I saw their head coach on the other side. I don't know if he was watching, but you want to do that when you're amongst your own guys. I haven't talked to Jacques [Martin] about it, but he was out there talking to somebody else, so I'm pretty sure he wasn't paying much attention to us."

"Well, I think I just stepped out," Martin said. "I was in my office, stepped out to see if they were on the ice and then stepped back in, so I don't think it's a big issue."

Martin said there is no unwritten code that coaches aren't supposed to look in on their competition.

"If I wanted to watch their practice, it's easy to go incognito in our building," he said. "It's an incident that happened and has no relevance to the series or to the game."

Who'll start in net?

It would seem incomprehensible that Martin would go back to Jaroslav Halak after he allowed three goals in a four-shot span of the second period in Game 3. But Martin said he would not announce his starter until Wednesday.

Halak, for his part, didn't seem to think he'd played poorly even though he also allowed three third-period goals and the overtime winner in Game 2. "These things happen," he said Tuesday.

Does he deserve to start?

"That is not up to me. This goes out of my reach," Halak said. "If I don't play, I'll understand."

Look for Carey Price, who mopped up for Halak and allowed two goals on 23 shots in Game 3, to get the nod.

"It's one game. Lots of series are 2-1 right now, just about all of them are, actually," Price said. "It's no time to press panic. It's only 2-1. You're only down a game and we can still rebound. If we win tomorrow night, it's 2-2 and it's a best-of-three from there."

And, again, speaking of netminders ...

Netminder Jose Theodore said people shouldn't be surprised the Caps have used both goalies given how things went during the regular season.

"I'm just saying you look at the playoffs, and a lot of teams would really like to have two guys at this point," Theodore said. "I think the team and the coaching staff feels comfortable putting both guys in. I keep repeating that's how we had success all year, so it's nothing new, it's no surprise. It's not like it's anything different from what people should have expected."

What did he think of fans getting on him during warm-ups before Game 3 even though it was Semyon Varlamov who was starting?

"Getting or cheering me? I don't know. I was hearing my name in warm-up, so I had the best warm-up ever," Theodore quipped. Later in the game, fans began chanting "Theo, Theo," as well.

"I guess they just start thinking about me out of the blue," said Theodore, who spent parts of 10 seasons playing for the Canadiens.

'A different battle'

Although the Canadiens were dominated at home in Game 3, allowing four second-period goals en route to a 5-1 loss, Washington captain Alex Ovechkin doesn't think there will be any carryover into Wednesday's Game 4.

"No, I don't think you can say that," Ovechkin said. "Every game is a different game and tomorrow is going to be different. They have to win and we have to win. Every game, you don't worry about what happened in the first, second or third game. It's going to be a new game, a different battle."

Deep thoughts ... fans versus players

This may come as a surprise to some fans, but players do not worry about the same things fans do. They do not have the same conversations. For instance, Montreal players were not engaged in a furious debate over who should start in goal in Game 4.

Mike Cammalleri said he'd been at Bell Centre for about three hours Tuesday, had about 40 conversations and not once did the topic of goaltending come up. "Yet it's a raging debate," he joked.

Cammalleri provided interesting insight into how players' and fans' views of the game are often different.

"A fan came up to me in the street and said to me, 'Can you guys stop looking at the camera.' And I was like, what? He said, 'You guys are always looking at the camera. Look at the ice.' And I said to him, 'Man, we don't even know where the cameras are. There's like 20 of them. That's their job, to get on our face. Trust me, I'm not looking for the thing.'

"What does he think, I'm back-checking on Ovechkin and I've got time to go, 'Oh, where's that camera?' And he honestly thought we were too distracted looking for the camera."

As for talking about the things fans talk about -- who's playing great, who's not, who should be in goal, who shouldn't -- Cammalleri said they don't have time.

"Maybe it's assumed we're talking about the same things, but to play at the level we're trying to play at, you're so concerned with your own preparation. You're so concerned with what's going on in your body," Cammalleri said. "Everybody's got something right now they're nursing. Everybody's got something they're worried about. You want to get some food, you want to eat, you want to get a workout; by the time the day's over, you haven't even had time to talk about the gossip everybody else is talking about."

Depth, depth, depth

One of the telling differences between the Capitals and Canadiens has been scoring depth.

Eight different Capitals have scored goals through the first three games and their third and fourth lines have been productive. In Game 3 alone, Boyd Gordon, Eric Fehr and Matt Bradley scored in the Caps' 5-1 win. No Montreal player from the third or fourth lines has recorded a single point in the series.

Martin didn't seem too concerned.

"They have a lot of depth. We knew that before going into the series," he said. "You'd like to have some contribution, but at the same time, the game's played on the ice, and quite often those individuals bring different dimensions. When you get into the playoffs, sometimes some players step to the forefront and contribute. So, yes, we'd like to have some contributions, but we also want players to do their job."

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer



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