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Posted On Sunday, 05.01.2011 / 1:09 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Carlson expected to play

John Carlson is expected to play Sunday night for the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of this series despite missing most of the third period in Game 1 and not practicing Saturday.

Carlson participated in the morning skate Sunday and both he and coach Bruce Boudreau said he is ready to go.

"If he's playing, he's playing. I assume he's playing. I don't know the big deal – guys get banged up a little bit and it takes you 24 hours to sorta get better sometimes, and that's where he is. There's no question."

Added Carlson: "I feel great. I had a day off and now we're here. It's an exciting time of the year, too, and everyone wants to go all the time. We need this next game. This next game's real big for us."

Carlson is in his first full season in the NHL, but he was essentially Washington's No. 1 during the regular season because of injuries to Mike Green and Dennis Wideman. He had 7 goals and 37 points while averaging more than 22 minutes of ice time in the regular season, and that figure is up over 23 per game in the postseason despite missing time in Game 1.

He and Karl Alzner have formed Boudreau's most-used defensive pairing and often see the ice against the opposing team's top forwards.

"He's used to playing those minutes and he's very good at it," Alzner said. "He benefits the team tremendously offensively and defensively and he benefits me a lot. I wouldn't be able to play as good as I have played in certain games without him, because he's a big key to my success as well. He's a warrior, too, so it's a nice thing that he's gonna battle through whatever he can battle through."

Carlson has played in every game this season -- tough for any defenseman to do but he also played through a leg injury earlier in the season. He blocked a shot and walked with a limp for more than a week after the injury, but played through it in part because the team was thin on defense at the time (before trades for Scott Hannan and Wideman).

"When you play 82 games, there's gonna be times where you don't feel like playing and to still play – that makes really good hockey players really good hockey players," Boudreau said. "He's a tough man and we expect him to be in."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Is Pronger healthy?

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger had a major hand in the Flyers turning around their first-round series against the Buffalo Sabres. He hadn't played in seven weeks when he entered the lineup in Game 6, and just by playing less than five minutes, and all on the power play, he sparked the Flyers.

So it's notable that he didn't play a single shift in the final five minutes of the game.

He played 19:45, the most he's played in the three games since returning from the broken right hand that had sidelined him since March 8. He had two shots, blocked four shots and was a minus-3 on a night where the Flyers' defensive play as a whole was lacking.

Losing Pronger again, though, would be a major blow to the team.

Coach Peter Laviolette, when asked after the game if Pronger was healthy, only responded, "Yes."

Pronger did not speak to the media following the game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Somewhat-special teams

The Boston Bruins made history by becoming the first team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series without scoring a power-play goal when they went 0-for-21 in seven games in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens. They extended that line of futility to 0-for-26 with their 0-for-5 performance in Game 1 against the Flyers. They generated just four shots on their five opportunities.

"Our power plays aren't very good, I guess, but I think today there was some really good movement on our PP," said David Krejci. "We had some good chances, we just have to stay positive, take the positive things from this game today, and if we're going to play this way on the power play, it is just a matter of time and the first one is going to go in."

While their power play was ineffective, the Bruins' penalty killing was excellent. They killed off four of the Flyers' five chances, with their only slip-up coming in the third period, seconds after they killed off a 56-second two-man advantage for Philadelphia.

Their best man-down play came on two straight kills midway through the second period, with the Bruins clinging to a 3-1 lead. Back-to-back penalties on Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk gave the Flyers four minutes of power-play time in a 4:39 span.

The Bruins killed those penalties off, and 49 seconds later Krejci scored to make it 4-1.

"They did a great job tonight," Julien said of his penalty killers. "We had a lot of penalties to kill and our guys did a pretty good job. It's unfortunate they got that one goal (but) they did a great job. At that time of the game it's so important to kill those, you don't want to let them back into it. Had they scored it might have been a different game in the third period."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 5:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Second period: Bruins 5, Flyers 2

The Philadelphia goalie carousel appears to be spinning again. Brian Boucher was chased after allowing Boston's fifth goal, replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky. It's Bobrovsky's first appearance since Game 2 of the first round against Buffalo.

Boucher's rebound control was not good, which led to a couple goals. Early in the second he kicked Patrice Bergeron's shot back into the slot, where Mark Recchi scored just 2:34 in.

After Krejci tipped Adam McQuaid's shot past Boucher, another big rebound this time allowed Bard Marchand to score to make it 5-1 and end Boucher's night.

James van Riemsdyk scored 16 seconds after Bobrovsky came into the game, and they nearly got another one when Kris Versteeg took the puck from Krejci deep in the Boston end. He dragged the puck around Tim Thomas and was looking at an empty net when Krejci knocked Versteeg off the puck.

We've got 20 minutes left here in Philadelphia.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 4:13 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Gagne, Kubina listed as day-to-day

WASHINGTON -- Less than 24 hours after losing both Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina to injuries, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher listed both players as "day-to-day" and couldn't say for sure if one, neither or both will play on Sunday night in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Washington Capitals.

Jones missed the final 16 games of the regular season with a sprained ankle and did not play at all during Tampa Bay's seven-game series victory against Pittsburgh. Boucher, though, deemed Jones -- who last played on March 7 against these Caps -- ready if Kubina is unable to play Sunday night.

"He's ready to go," Boucher said of Jones. "He knows exactly what to do. He was playing against some top lines before he got injured."

Boucher wouldn't commit to a replacement for Gagne, who was hit by Scott Hannan 7:22 into the opening period of Game 1 and hit his head on the ice. A stretcher came out, but Gagne -- who has a history of concussions -- was able to leave the playing surface with the help of two trainers.

"I think the option of being prepared is having Option A, B and C. So, I guess we'll prepare D the rest of the day," Boucher said. "We have to prepare for different scenarios because there are really different scenarios that are possible. It's not clear cut at all."

Kubina, a defenseman who averaged 19:13 of ice time during the regular season, was hit by Jason Chimera late in the second period and was unable to return. Lightning center Steven Stamkos said he spoke with both Kubina and Gagne earlier Sunday and found them to be doing well given the circumstances.

"I haven't heard anything for sure if they're in or not," Stamkos said. "If we don't have them, it's two big holes and it's going to be tough to fill. (But) we found a way all year to fill those holes. Guys have stepped up and filled those shoes. That's the beauty about our team. We have guys that are willing to step up. Obviously we want them in the lineup and healthy as quick as possible, but we've got guys that are hungry for those roles."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 4:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

First Period: Bruins 2, Flyers 1

That was a fun, physical first period that had a little bit of everything.

David Krejci gave the Bruins an early lead, making a nice play to intercept a Nathan Horton shot (replay showed it never got to Brian Boucher), stepping away from the Flyers' Matt Carle and sliding it under Boucher just 1:52 into the game.

Midway through, Danny Briere made a similar play, stopping a Braydon Coburn shot just before it could get to Tim Thomas, pulling it away from the Boston goalie and then sliding it under him at 11:02. The teams were skating 4-on-4, and Ville Leino did a great job controlling the puck in the Bruins' end to set up the goal.

Then, with 35.7 seconds left, Horton banged in the rebound of Krejci shot from in front. He didn't get much on it, but it appeared to roll up Boucher's arm and over the top of his glove.

The Bruins had more shots, 12-8, but went 0-for-1 on the only power play of the period. They're still looking for their first extra-man goal of the postseason after going 0-for-21 against the Canadiens in the first round.

And in what should be a fun stat to watch this series, the Flyers out-hit the Bruins 14-9 in the first.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 3:46 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Caps hope for improved power play

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Nearly all of the main contributors on Washington's two power-play units did not skate during an optional practice Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but coach Bruce Boudreau said any adjustments will come from three video sessions between Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening for Game 2.

The Capitals went 0-for-5 with the man advantage Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning -- a 4-2 loss in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

"We'll go over it today, we'll go over it tomorrow [morning] and we'll go over it before the game. I think it will be more in small doses than one long thing and let them forget about it," Boudreau said. "I think the basics are the same. But it's an awful lot easier to see how they worked against you and how they've been successful against you. It gives you a better idea of how you can hopefully beat it."

Washington put only five shots on net against Tampa Bay goaltender Dwayne Roloson despite all of the time on the man-advantage. The Capitals had several great chances early in the game on the PP, but those opportunities weren't there as the contest wore on.

The Capitals struggled at times to enter the offensive zone, and the Lightning collected five shots of their own while shorthanded. When they were able to get the puck into the zone and setup, there weren't enough shots on target.

"I think that kind of moment we have to play our game," Alex Ovechkin said. "We all knew what we have to do on the power play. I think we tried to do too much on the last power play because it was 3-2 and there was only five or six minutes left in the game. If this is going to happen again, we know what we have to do.

"We have the chances in the first period. When they get the lead and it is the third period and you see how they play, of course you try to do too much and something more than usual. I don't know but we're going to watch the video tomorrow, today and see what we have to do better."

Added Mike Green: "I think we executed our game plan for the most part but we just didn't put the puck in the net. I had a chance to put one away there. Semin hit the post. The thing is, that's the not the way we're going to score goals in the playoffs. We have to get pucks to the net and battle in front."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 3:33 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Caps hope Carlson can play in Game 2

Defenseman John Carlson didn't play much in the final 20 minutes Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series and he didn't practice Saturday, but Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau and teammates are optimistic about his chances of being available Sunday for Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I think he's - pretty good chance that he'll play tomorrow," Boudreau said. "But I'm not 100 percent sure."

Carlson was injured in a pileup near the net after he hit Tampa Bay's Nate Thompson. The 21-year-old defenseman had a great rookie season for the Capitals, essentially assuming the role of No. 1 defenseman when guys like Mike Green, Tom Poti and Dennis Wideman were injured.

He and fellow young defenseman Karl Alzner have formed Washington's most consistent pairing this season, and Boudreau has entrusted them to play against top competition despite their relative lack of age and experience.

"We've had a lot of instances where we went down to five "D," more than I've had in recent years at least," Alzner said. "It is not too bad, but John is a huge part of this team and it affects the team as a whole instead of just any individual guy.

"He's a tough guy who likes to battle and we'd definitely like to have him back. It is tough to say -- I just saw him a little bit getting treatment. That's about it. I think most guys are optimistic about him playing."

Carlson left the bench in the second period and returned for the third but took only a couple of short shifts. He stayed on the bench for a while and skated during television timeouts before eventually heading back to the dressing room for good.

Green was in a similar situation during Game 5 against the New York Rangers - he was injured and stayed on the bench. Boudreau said Green was OK to play in case of an emergency, but that wasn't the case for Carlson on Friday.

"No, yesterday he was sore," Boudreau said. "Because if we could have used him, we would have used him."

The byproduct of Carlson's absence was an added strain on Green. With Wideman injured, Carlson and Green are the team's lone consistent offensive threats on the blue line. Green played more than 11 minutes in the third period because Carlson was missing and the Capitals were down a goal and trying to find an equalizer in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Lightning.

"When you look at Mike Green's minutes at 27 minutes, it is too high," Boudreau said. "He had a great series against New York but he was playing 18-20 (minutes). Those are the kind of minutes we have to get back to."

Added Green: "I felt the same way. To be effective, especially in the playoffs, you have to keep your shifts short and be fresh. I felt like I was out there a little too much and I didn't feel like I was able to be as productive as I could have been."

If Carlson cannot play in Game 2, Boudreau said he doesn't think Poti or Wideman will be available as a replacement. Both veterans have been out for a long time with injuries but have been skating almost every day during the postseason.

The most likely is option if Carlson can't go is 27-year-old Sean Collins, who played four games near the end of the regular season after spending nearly all of the past two seasons in the American Hockey League.

Tyler Sloan has spent that time with the Capitals as a reserve defenseman, but Collins came off the ice with the rest of the Capitals expected to play Saturday while Sloan and recent call-up Patrick McNeil stayed on the ice with the other scratches and "Black Aces" from AHL Hershey.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 3:09 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Sharks' Boyle not a fan of noon start for Game 2

Sunday's Game 2 between the Sharks and Red Wings will start at noon local time at HP Pavilion, the first time all season a game will start that early in San Jose. The Red Wings are no strangers to playing at 12:30 on NBC, but it's going to be a new experience for many members of the Sharks.

"I don't like it. I'll be honest," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "I don't like noon games at all. It is what it is. I haven't quite figured out what the routine's going to be, but I'll figure it out tonight. Although I don't like it, I'm sure I'll be ready to go come game time."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he doesn't believe the rare noon start of his players will have much an effect, considering the team holds most of its practices at home at about the same time.

"Both teams have to start at noon, so both teams have issues and things to deal with," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Our body clocks and our hockey clocks are set to skate at this time. This is when we practice every day. We cfome to the rink and we start thinking hockey and breathing hockey. It's a matter of what you do tonight and how you manage your morning and make sure you're prepared. That's an individual choice that each of our players has to make so they come in and play for their teammates."

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard doesn't mind waking up a little earlier for a hockey game.

"It's no big deal," Howard said. "The only thing that really changes is the morning and you don't get the pregame skate."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 2:54 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Heatley talks Pavelski, uses 'Wisconsin' as adjective

The Sharks had a quick skate Saturday afternoon at Sharks Ice, their practice facility that's about 2 miles from HP Pavilion. The atmosphere was light and fun, not surprising with the team coming off a 2-1 overtime win against the Red Wings about 12 hours earlier.

But no one seemed to be having more fun than Dany Heatley, who was asked about Joe Pavelski, a Wisconsin native who also played his college hockey at Wisconsin.

The question was, "What's the most Wisconsin Badger-like thing about him?"

"I don't know about Badger," Heatley said, "but growing up in Wisconsin, it's probably his and his old man's love of hunting and fishing. I did see him eat some cheese curds the other day."

Ever seen him any Green Bay Packers stuff?

"Oh yeah," Heatley said. "You don't see him tailgating out there with the grill?"

Does he lean toward Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers?

"I don't know. I'm a Favre guy," Heatley said. "I'm both guys. They're both good guys. You have to be diplomatic with those guys."

Heatley did heap praise on Pavelski for his game-tying goal in the third period Friday, when he batted a puck out of mid-air near the net.

"The way he plays, come this time of year, he gets rewarded for those things," Heatley said. "When Pavs does things like that in practice, knocking it out of the air, you get in a game like that, you get a chance to do that, and he buries it for us. He works on a lot little things."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players