Washington Capitals - Tampa Bay Lightning Game 3 preview

May 03, 2011

Washington Post sports reporter Katie Carrera discussed the Capitals' Round 2 series against the Lightning, which Tampa Bay leads, 2-0.

Welcome back to another Capitals playoff chat. Game 3 is only a few hours away and it may be the most pressure-packed contest, for both teams, in the series so far. 

Without further ado, let's get to those questions.

Any inlinking from Boudreau on who will be the goaltender in Game 4, win or lose, considering the less than 24 hour turnaround from Game 3?

I think it will depend a lot on what happens tonight. If Michal Neuvirth has a good night and the Capitals win, there wouldn't seem to be any reason not to give him the nod in Game 4 as well. Neuvirth has played in back-to-back times a few times this season so it's not a new thing for him.

I asked Bruce Boudreau this morning if with the back-to-back games he's thought about giving Neuvirth a rest and the coach replied that he's not thinking about Wednesday until after Game 3. 


The team has given up an unexpected, flukey goal in each of the first 2 games. What can BB do to make sure they are prepared and do not allow this to happen?

For the most part, I don't think bad bounces are necessarily a reflection of how prepared a team is. There were odd bounces in every game during the first-round series against the Rangers.

What the Capitals can, and must, do is minimize their own mistakes like the bad line change from Game 2 to avoid giving the Lightning those chances in transition.

While I am happy to see Eric Fehr back in the lineup, I'm not sure I like it at the cost of Matt Hendricks. I know he had a bad game #1 but he's the type of player that the caps need in the lineup! Any particular reason why he is out?

Hendricks hasn't had the greatest postseason. He's a guy who is expected to ratchet up the physical play, serve as something of an agitator, etc. There have been games in the postseason where he hasn't been a factor he hasn't been particularly noticeable on the ice either, which are not traits you want from the energy line.


Have you seen/heard any reason to believe Backstrom is injured?

There hasn't been anything visibly wrong with Backstrom and we (reporters) haven't seen him sporting extra tape or wraps. It appears as though this may just be a continuation of the various slumps he played through in the regular season.

Katie, what's up with early start time tonight? 6:30 pm?!?!

It's to accomodate for national television broadcasts. If the Caps-Lightning game ends in regulation they will be able to switch directly to Game 3 between Vancouver and Nashville, which starts at 9 p.m. EST.

By no means are the Caps out of this. I think the Caps need to score early. We've seen that they can outplay Tampa but their biggest problem has been seriously outplaying them and getting no results. The Caps also need to look at this one game at a time. Yes, we're playing back to back games, but you have to win this one first. If you win this one, you're all of a sudden back in the series.

I think everyone in the dressing room said something to the effect of needing to focus on coming out of Game 3 with a win before even letting the second half of these back-to-back contests enter their thoughts. That's precisely the way the Capitals need to look at these two games, because a loss tonight puts them in a true must-win predicament Wednesday.

I expect the Capitals to play with a healthy dose of desperation tonight, but to go along with the energy they need to make sure that they get second and third chances against Roloson and it definitely won't hurt if they can find a way to score on the power play. 

Whats the team's attitude like going into tonight big game? Are veteran leaders like Knuble and Arnott helping keeping the team together in any way?

Everyone has been very businesslike in the two practices leading up to Game 3. They know they're not out of this series yet but that time is running out for them to get back in it and if they don't get a win tonight everything gets that much tougher. 

As for Arnott and Knuble, I'm not in the room when they would choose to speak to their teammates but I get the feeling the whole group is on the same page right now. Tonight's contest isn't a 'must win' in the sense that the Capitals season would end but it would be extremely difficult to come back from down three games to none and they all are aware of that.

Has any thought been given to the possibility of trying a big, strong, immovable force such as Erskine down low, camped in the crease, even if just once? (He'd have to join the pp during an offensive zone face-off,and leave once the puck is cleared, but it could catch TB off-guard and create the havoc needed to generate some rebounds and second-chance opportunities). Thanks

I don't think we'll see John Erskine getting power play time, but the point of getting someone to the front of the net in search of rebounds is well taken.

To get the power play going the Capitals need to keep taking shots but they need to follow those initial shots up with chances off  of rebounds. Roloson hasn't had trouble making the the first save and the Lightning have been able to limit how many extra tries Washington gets and that's something that needs to change both on the power play and five on five.

Sorry to cut things short today but with the early start for Game 3 -- don't forget it's at 6:30 -- there's less time for everyone to prepare, including beat writers. 

Catch everyone for the next chat later this week.

In This Chat
Katie Carrera
Katie Carrera covers the Capitals for The Washington Post.
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