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Morning Skates: Momentum, home ice, Mike Knuble out?

 

We're here at the Garden with construction going on around us, but Caps coach Bruce Boudreau didn't use a hard hat as a prop. In fact, he found little humor in the wake of his widely-reported remarks about MSG and the noise level.

Think I'll break this into three themes, lineups, where there's news, home ice advantage or not and momentum:


Lineups:


Alternate captain Mike Knuble, who had 24 goals this season and scored in the third period of Game 3, appears to be out for the Caps. The right wing took a Mike Green shot off his hand in Game 3 and did not skate this morning. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau refused to discuss individual players, but the remarks from Jason Chimera, who would replace Knuble on Alex Ovechkin/Nicklas Backstrom’s line, and Eric Fehr, who would step into the lineup, seemed to indicate that Knuble would be a scratch.

The Rangers are going with the same lineup. D Steve Eminger is a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.


On the crowd and home-ice advantage:

Asked whether he expects an unkindly reception for his recent comments, Boudreau responded: "It's a non-hockey question and you've blown it way out of proportion….it’s non-important."

Specifically, he noted that the Rangers have “the last change at home” and that “they were a better road team (during the season).”

Tortorella: “You want to play at home, the building helped us last game, I think it’ll help us tonight, but when you play for a couple weeks and you go through momentum swings, I think there’s more important stuff that’s going to affect the series.”

On matchups, Torts said “If you want to get your lines, I don’t think it’s that hard. Strategically, I think there a lot of different things that come into play. It’s seizing the moment and how you handle the momentum swings.”

Boudreau said the games have been decided by mistakes. “Hopefully we’re not the team making the mistake…We hope this is our best game of the series.”


On momentum:

Torts: “I think we’ve grabbed the momentum, I think we’ll see their best tonight and for us to keep momentum on our side, we’re going to have to be much better in all areas…In all series as each games goes by, it’s ramped up. This is the stage where you have to keep on getting better and if you don’t, you’re done.”

Alex Ovechkin:

“We’re going to see tomorrow if we have momentum. It’s a new game, and an important game for both teams. I don’t know who has momentum, we or them. We have to win and they have to win.”


Ovechkin on playing against Marc Staal and Dan Girardi: “They’re stay at home D, they play very safely, they’re physical D. I like to play against them, it’s a big challenge.”

 

More pre-game stuff after lunch....

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