Ryan Getzlaf, Alex Ovechkin

Getzlaf on Ovechkin: ‘I didn’t know he was going to dive the way he did tonight’


Alexander Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky each scored twice Sunday night as the Washington Capitals defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-3.

Marcus Johansson’s 14th of the season at 3:27 of the second period stood to be the game winner.

Ovechkin, who also assisted on Burakovsky’s two goals, now has a league-leading 36 on the season passing Rangers’ forward Rick Nash.

Not everyone was impressed with Ovechkin’s four-point night.

Ovechkin and Ryan Getzlaf had a run-in on the ice during the first period. Post-game Getzlaf had some choice words for the Washington captain.

“I didn’t know he was going to dive the way he did tonight,” said Getzlaf per the L.A. Times’ Helene Elliott. “All over the [expletive] ice. That part of it is a little embarrassing. Pardon my language. He’s a great player.

“He’s going to score goals and make plays. That other stuff’s embarrassing.”

Andrew Cogliano scored both goals for the Ducks. It was his first multi-goal game since Mar. 2, 2013.

Defenseman Hampus Lindholm had two assists in the loss.

Francois Beauchemin appeared in his 500th game with the Ducks Sunday night. He joins Ruslan Salei (594) as the only other Ducks defenseman to reach the milestone.

Justin Peters made 30 saves for the win while John Gibson stopped 23 shots in the loss.

Anaheim lost defenseman Sami Vatanen (lower body) and forward Matt Beleskey (upper body) in the first period. Neither player returned to the game and Bruce Boudreau had no update on either player post-game.

Big games haven’t been kind to Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau

If you were to name the top 10 head coaches in the NHL, Bruce Boudreau would almost certainly factor in somewhere. Still, his lack of deep postseason success probably explains why his name rarely comes up in discussions regarding the absolute elite.

One can only wonder how different things might be if his Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks didn’t lose (and sometimes even totally flop) in Game 7 situations, though. Boudreau is now 1-5 in career playoff Game 7’s and his teams have frequently lost in ways that overshadowed fantastic regular seasons.

He’s been in those situations quite often, too. Boudreau has only avoided a seven-game series in 2010-11 (when the Capitals were swept in the second round) and 2011-12 (when he was fired 22 games into the season by Washington and couldn’t direct the Ducks into the postseason in 58 games).

Other than that, the pattern has been almost disturbing: outstanding regular seasons followed by crushing Game 7 defeats. Let’s take a look back.

Note: To keep things simple, remember that Boudreau’s team won its division in every season but 2011-12.

Washington years

2007-08: Boudreau guides the Capitals to a 37-17-7 record in the 61 games he coached, earning his only Jack Adams Award in the process.

The Philadelphia Flyers beat Washington 3-2 in OT in Game 7 of a first-round series. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin scored the Captials’ two goals in that game, but Joffrey Lupul beat Cristobal Huet for the game-winner in overtime.

2008-09: The Capitals went 50-24-8 for 108 standings points.

The 2009 postseason represents the first (and only) time Boudreau has won a playoff Game 7, as his team dispatched soon-to-be regular playoff opponent the New York Rangers in the first round. The Capitals fought back from 2-0 and 3-1 series deficits to win this series. They beat the Rangers 2-1 with Sergei Fedorov scoring the game-winner.

This set the stage for the memorable seven-game series against the Pittsburgh Penguins/a “Top this” showdown between Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. The decisive Game 7 was pretty much a bloodbath, though; Marc-Andre Fleury stopped an early Ovechkin chance and the Penguins built a 2-0 lead in the first period. They eventually dominated to a 6-2 win.

2009-10: The Capitals won the Presidents’ Trophy by eight points with a fantastic 121-point regular season, yet they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games in a first-round series that doubled as Jaroslav Halak’s peak. (Along with Halak helping the Habs beat Pittsburgh in seven games as well in round two.)

Game 7 against Montreal was another hard-luck loss for Washington in that series. Semyon Varlamov allowed two goals on 16 shots while Halak made 41 out of 42 saves. The Canadiens took the series with a 2-1 win in Game 7.

(Oddly enough, the Capitals went to two seven-game series during the 2011-12 season in which they fired Bruce Boudreau after just 22 games. Dale Hunter went 1-1 in those full-length series. In fact, Washington’s last two playoff series have been seven-game losses to the Rangers.)

Anaheim years

2012-13: The venue and conference changed, but the results seemed unsettling in their similarities: another great regular season followed by a tough Game 7 loss (once again in the first round).

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Ducks 3-2 in Game 7 of their first-round series as an Anaheim comeback bid fell short.

2013-14: One cannot help but wonder what would have happened if the Ducks didn’t manage an unlikely third-period turnaround and overtime win in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars. They avoided a seventh game in the first round, but couldn’t do so against the Los Angeles Kings in round two.

You probably remember what happened on Friday, but if not, the Kings cruised to a 6-2 win.

CSNWashington.com’s Ben Raby points out the similarities between the Ducks falling to the Kings and the Capitals losing to the Penguins in respective second-round series:

Anaheim’s Game 7 loss to the Kings had an eerily similar feel as the Capitals’ 2009 Game 7 loss at home against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Consider that in both cases: 1) the home team had an early breakaway from its leading goal-scorer (Alex Ovechkin in 2009; Corey Perry in 2014) but could not convert, 2) Boudreau pulled his rookie starting goalie once the visitors took a 4-0 second period lead (Semyon Varlamov in 2009; John Gibson in 2014) and 3) the home team pulled within 5-1 late in the second frame, before ultimately falling by a 6-2 score.

Boudreau has to hope that his team can break this unsightly pattern sooner rather than later.

Ducks’ Koivu, Boudreau aiming for first trip to conference final

Saku Koivu

Bruce Boudreau oversaw four playoff runs with the Washington Capitals, but the talented squad headlined by Alex Ovechkin never got past the second round. If they had, perhaps he wouldn’t be in Anaheim now.

His Ducks are just one win away from taking him to a conference final for the first time in his career as a head coach. If Anaheim beats Los Angeles in Game 6 tonight, it will be proof that he is capable of guiding a squad through a deep postseason run, even if he couldn’t make it work with Washington.

Perhaps there’s someone on the Ducks that wants this win even more though. At the age of 39, this might be Saku Koivu’s last chance to finally get to the conference final.

“I think Saku, especially,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said, per NHL.com. “[Teemu] always wants to go out on a high note, I’m sure. Given the opportunity, I’m sure he’d love to. Saku, I know, really wants this. He wants to get to the Finals. He wants an opportunity to play for that Cup, and we’d love to give it to him.”

The Ducks know they can’t get ahead of themselves. The Kings want this too. Koivu, Boudreau, and the rest of the Ducks won’t get past them without earning it.

‘Who’s next there,’ says Bruce Boudreau after Capitals fire Oates, let McPhee go

Bruce Boudreau

On a day when there four Stanley Cup playoff games dominating the Saturday schedule, there was big news from the Washington Capitals, and naturally it grabbed the attention of those in the hockey world.

The Capitals fired head coach Adam Oates and will not renew the contract of general manager George McPhee.

Bruce Boudreau, the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks, spoke on the matter Saturday. He, of course, worked as the bench boss of the Capitals beginning on 2007, with his tenure ending in 2011. In three of those five seasons, the Capitals had 100 points or more in the Eastern Conference standings.

“It’s not a surprise because everybody’s been talking about it,” Boudreau said Saturday, as per the L.A. Times. “I think George is a great GM and he’ll jump right back into it. Just sometimes, people need different spots.

“But he’s I think a truly, really, really good GM so I know he’s going to bounce back. I don’t know Adam at all. But I thought one went with the other. . . . It’s interesting to me now, is who’s next there.”

Already, names have been thrown out there as possible candidates to replace McPhee, who had been in the Capitals organization since 1997.

While speculation of possible replacements is now beginning to fly around, so, too is the blame for what happened in Washington after missing the playoffs this season. Needless to say, Alex Ovechkin, Washington’s star and captain, and the only 50-goal scorer in the NHL this season, is taking a great deal of criticism (see the video below…).


Boudreau returns to DC, where he helped put hockey ‘front-and-center’

Bruce Boudreau

Brooks Laich remembers the days when a ticket to a Washington Capitals game wasn’t exactly a hot commodity. The 30-year-old first donned a Caps uniform in 2003-04, before Alex Ovechkin was drafted and when average attendance was just 14,720 to watch a team that finished with a dreadful 23-46-10-3 record.

But Laich doesn’t just credit Ovechkin with hockey’s turnaround in DC. He also credits current Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, who returns to the Verizon Center tonight for the first time since being fired by the Caps in late 2011.

“He turned hockey from a back-burner sport into a front-and-center, front page, exciting, real entertaining game,” Laich said, per CSN Washington. “Certainly, the players and organization have had a role in that, too, but he was one of the leading forces to putting hockey on the map in Washington.”

Because it wasn’t just that the Caps started winning games under Boudreau; it was the way they played, running and gunning in a league that was desperately trying to move on from the so-called “dead puck” era.

Eventually, after failing to make a deep run in the playoffs, and with his team being accused of playing the “wrong way,” Boudreau dialed it back in an attempt to play the “right way” — a move he later hinted went against his instincts.

If only Jaroslav Halak hadn’t…well, no point in going over that again; that’s history now.

“Look what he’s done with [Anaheim],” Laich said. “They were a team on the decline and now they’re at the top of the standings again.”

Indeed, the Ducks are red hot, with eight straight victories and a 26-7-5 record.