ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is used to watching his team score in bunches.
When that didn?t happen in the Capitals 2-1 playoff loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night, Boudreau admitted frustration was the source of his testy post-game news conference where he called out his offensive stars to produce more.
?When you?re used to scoring and you?re not scoring as a team, it gets frustrating,?Boudreau said Saturday after the Capitals held an optional practice.?So that was the coach?s frustration.
“Even my assistants were coming up to me and telling me to relax.?
Boudreau, whose team still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, was extremely harsh on his team following the loss. He was especially hard on Alexander Semin, who is on a 12-game playoff goal-scoring drought.
After a good night sleep and a dose of perspective from watching video of the game Saturday morning, Boudreau had calmed down.
?We?re not perfect and we didn?t have a very good first 10 minutes,?Boudreau said.?But I don?t think we have to blow everything up and change the world to be successful.?
Boudreau estimates the Canadiens only had six scoring chances Friday night and while that may be too conservative as an estimate, it?s probably not that far from the truth.
In the third period, with Montreal protecting its one-goal advantage, the Canadiens didn?t have a legitimate scoring opportunity until just before the 18-minute mark when Scott Gomez had a chance to bang home a puck in front of the net. The Capitals, meanwhile, were firing shots at the Canadiens net in bunches, only to be thwarted by Jaroslav Halak.
Semin alone had nine shots on goal in the game, another five were blocked and three missed the net. Boudreau was able to recognize Saturday that perhaps Semin wasn?t playing as badly as he thought a night earlier.
?It might be something that he?s not used to, a slump,?Boudreau said.?He?s been scoring on a regular basis when he plays, so we?ll just get him to relax and play his game and I think he?ll be better.?
Boudreau?s frustration was not only due to his scorers failing to convert, he also had issues with the officiating Friday night that he needed to get off his chest.
Without being asked about it, Boudreau said the Canadiens had six players on the ice for about 20 seconds near the end of the second period.
?I think all six of them touched the puck,?he said.
Earlier in the second, the Canadiens appeared to be caught for too many men and during the delayed penalty Dominic Moore was also called for slashing. The referee signalled the slashing penalty, but officials Dennis LaRue and Chris Rooney decided the Canadiens would only be assessed the original penalty for too many men.
?They made a mistake, and they admitted making a mistake,?Boudreau said.?But that does us little good.?
Finally, Boudreau had issue with no penalty being called on Marc-Andre Bergeron for high-sticking Eric Belanger in the mouth midway through the first on what appeared to be a follow through on a pass.
?His stick came up more out of protection than anything else,?Boudreau said.?It came up blade first and hit Eric right in the mouth.?
Belanger said he lost seven teeth and took about 30 stitches to close the gash on his lip and palate. Amazingly he played his next shift after the incident.
He had some dental surgery done between the second and third but still played five shifts in the final 20 minutes.
He too felt Bergeron should have been sent to the box on the play.
?If you get that penalty called and the team wins, it makes it hurt a lot less,?Belanger said, having trouble with his speech due to the big gap in his teeth.?I know it was an accident though, he was just finishing a pass.
“But his passes hurt.?
Boudreau said he would have liked to have seen his team follow Belanger?s lead and give everything it had to finish the Canadiens off at home and avoid a potential Game 7 situation.
?Having a root canal done between periods and coming back to play, the courage it takes to do that is phenomenal,?Boudreau said.?That?s what you see in the playoffs.
“You see (Flyers forward) Ian Laperriere, his face almost mangled by blocking a shot. Our guy Eric doing that should be an inspiration on what this means to people in the playoffs.?
The Capitals will need to use some of that inspiration in Game 6 on Monday night, or else they could go from being in command of the series to the brink of elimination.
Notes: Boudreau said defenceman Shaone Morrisonn, out the last two games with an injury, will likely play in Game 6 on Monday?Tomas Fleischmann played only three shifts in the third period of Game 5 after missing a great scoring chance early in the period. Boudreau said he will consider lineup changes for Game 6?The Capitals had seven players who chose not to skate at Saturday?s optional practice: Semin, Belanger, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison, Tom Poti and Mike Green.