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Caps could make lineup changes for Game 6

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Caps could make lineup changes for Game 6
An ineffective Tomas Fleischmann could find himself watching in Game 6, as Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau hinted lineup changes could be imminent. For Alexander Semin, also without a goal in the series, things seem a little more secure.
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau is considering some changes to his lineup for Game 6 on Monday night, but Saturday morning he gave little insight as to what is bouncing around in his head.

"The possibility is there," Boudreau said. "I'm still entertaining these thoughts."

One change that seems completely plausible and possible is Boudreau making Tomas Fleischmann a healthy scratch at Bell Centre. Fleischmann, who had 23 goals and 28 assists during the regular season, has been largely ineffective in this series with only one assist and six shots on goal.

He played only 12 shifts totaling 7:26 of ice time Friday night, including just two shifts for 1:25 in the third period. Fleischmann started the series as the second-line center, but he was barely part of the rotation Friday night.

"We don't like to use the word benching. Sometimes a player needs to see the game from up above to appreciate how he's been playing," Boudreau said. "In the past -- and I haven't done it too much -- I've sat him as a healthy scratch and he has played better. So has Eric Fehr. So have a lot of other guys. They don't like to sit, so when they do sit they want to come back in the lineup and play harder."

Boudreau was especially mad at Fleischmann after he missed on a glorious scoring opportunity from the doorstep during a third-period power play.

"I was sort of wound up (Friday) night, there was a lot of things going wrong and I think I got frustrated when he missed that chance," Boudreau said. "He's a goal scorer and I know he tried to put it in as much as he can, but I think it was one of those cases where the coach just got frustrated where the goal scorer didn't score when he had the opportunity."

Fleischmann's shot hit goalie Jaroslav Halak's blocker.

"(Nicklas Backstrom) was trying to make a cross pass and it hit the stick of a forward," Fleischmann said. "The puck was just laying there for me and I tried to get it up on the far side but I hit his blocker."

Boudreau could turn to either Scott Walker or David Steckel -- perhaps both -- to replace Fleischmann and anyone else he feels was one of those "five or six passengers" he talked about in his post-game press conference Friday.

He said Thursday that Walker would play in the postseason and that Steckel, who played the first two games of this season, was not done yet, either. They're both gritty, hard-nosed, go-to-the-net players.

"I talked to (Fleischmann) a little bit this morning and we'll see. No decisions have been made on the lineup, but I've got a whole bunch of things in my head," Boudreau said. "You have to understand that's our first loss in regulation in 11 games. We're not perfect and we didn't have a very good first 10 minutes and that team is playing their hearts out, but I don't think we have to blow everything up and change the world to be successful."

Semin still slumping -- It doesn't appear that Alexander Semin is a potential candidacy for press box duty in Game 6, but Boudreau said Friday night the Capitals have to get more out of the Russian right wing who had 40 goals during the regular season.

He has no goals -- none in 12 straight playoff games, in fact -- only one assist and four penalty minutes in this series. Semin's lone point was sort of an accidental assist, too.

"When he's scoring -- and he's got 40 in 72 games or something -- you can't just sit there and wait and put your best defensive players against (Alex) Ovechkin's line all the time," Boudreau said. "You have to sit there and think, 'Oh, now we have two lines to worry about.'

"When he's not scoring, sometimes you can lay your eggs all in one basket and say, 'Let's just stop Ovechkin and Nicky (Backstrom) and the other lines will win the game for us."

Semin had nine shots on goal in Game 5, two shy of his career-high, so Boudreau wasn't totally displeased with him. However, he sure would have liked him to score on that one-timer from the slot in the third period.

"When you start holding your stick a little too tight, that might be something he's not used to -- a slump," Boudreau said. "He's been scoring pretty regularly when he plays. We've just got to get him relaxed and playing his game and I think he'll be better."

Morrisonn should be back
-- Boudreau said that defenseman Shaone Morrisonn should be back for Game 6 after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury. Tyler Sloan played in the last two games and was a minus-1 over roughly 26 minutes of ice time.

"Taking nothing away from Tyler, but just look at how good Mo is playing," Boudreau said of Morrisonn, who is a plus-2 in the series. "He's been an impact player for us and I think him and Joe Corvo were playing well together. He'll be back in the lineup, I'm pretty sure."

Boudreau said he used Sloan in Morrisonn's place instead of John Erskine because of the matchup against the speedy Canadiens.

"We talked before the series about matchups and how this is a little bit like baseball," Boudreau said. "This series didn't look like a great matchup for John whereas if this were Boston or another rugged team it is a lot better matchup for him."

Power-play practice -- The good thing about having two days between Games 5 and 6 is Boudreau has time to tinker with the Capitals' ineffective power play. It is 1-for-24 in the series and was 0-for-5 in Game 5. It was also scoreless in seven straight chances coming into the series.

Washington led the NHL during the regular season with a 25.2-percent rate on the power play.

"It's obviously not working and it's new to this group because for two years it has always worked," Boudreau said. "This is something that we're watching it and watching the video and looking for mistakes and for changes, and sometimes you change too much instead of just saying go out there and do what you normally do. We'll figure something out."

He believes his players are shocked that the power play is not clicking.

"I'm sure it is a shock, but at the same time when you watch the video it shouldn't be a shock," Boudreau said. "They're doing some great stuff and we're not doing very good stuff for want of better English."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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