Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau cools off, but he still considers lineup changes for Game 6

Scott Walker has yet to appear in these playoffs, but he might crack the Capitals lineup Monday night.
Scott Walker has yet to appear in these playoffs, but he might crack the Capitals lineup Monday night. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post staff writer
Sunday, April 25, 2010

In the moments after the Washington Capitals' Game 5 defeat Friday night, a seething Bruce Boudreau complained about a lack of effort from "five or six" players and threatened to make changes to the lineup.

About 12 hours later, the calmed-down coach wouldn't commit to following through on his tough talk, but he didn't rule it out, either. The Capitals, up three games to two, can close out their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Canadiens with a win in Monday's Game 6.

"No decisions have been made on the lineup," Boudreau said. "I have a whole bunch of things in my head."

What exactly those "things" entail likely won't be revealed for at least another day because Boudreau and seven of the Capitals' big-minute players didn't participate in Saturday's practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. What is clear, though, is this: Boudreau has options, and based on his history, he won't be shy about exercising them.

So far, Boudreau's two moves have paid immediate dividends: replacing goalie José Theodore with Semyon Varlamov and swapping center David Steckel for Boyd Gordon.

"I got about 15 different [lineups] right now in my office," added Boudreau, who was back at his desk in Arlington at sunrise.

Many of the questions directed at Boudreau on Saturday focused on Tomas Fleischmann, who scored 23 goals in the regular season but was benched for the final 12 minutes 45 seconds of Game 5 and finished with a team-low 7:26 of ice time.

Boudreau said he decided not to play Fleischmann after the flashy winger misfired on a third-period power play when the Capitals were trailing by a goal. Nicklas Backstrom threaded a crossing pass to Fleischmann, but Jaroslav Halak got just enough of his blocker on the shot.

"I got frustrated when he missed that chance," Boudreau said. "He's a goal scorer. I know he tried as much as he could to put it in."

Fleischmann added: "The puck was there waiting for me, and I tried to get it up. But it hit his blocker."

Fleischmann, who has only one assist against Montreal and a single goal in his past 11 playoff games dating from last season, was among the 17 players who participated in practice. But he'll have to wait to see if he'll get a jersey Monday at Bell Centre.

"I talked to him a little bit this morning," Boudreau said. "We'll see."

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