Courtesy of Ben Raby from the Washington Capitals Radio Network:
Arlington, VA. – The Capitals returned to practice Tuesday afternoon in northern Virginia with all but five players taking part in the optional skate. Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin were among those exercising their option, while defenseman Tom Poti was also missing. Poti has been ruled out of game 7 after taking a puck to the eye late in last night’s second period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau suggested that Poti could be out “2-3 weeks (or) it could be longer.”
Poti leads the league with a plus-9 rating in the playoffs, and has been on the ice for just one even-strength goal against in this series. Poti and rookie John Carlson have arguably been the Caps best defensive pairing through the first six games.
“Tom Poti has been great,” Boudreau said. “You’re losing one of your best experienced players. It’s a tough thing. But these are the playoffs, you lose players, people come in, (and) it’s a chance to be heroes. That’s what hockey is all about.”
Meanwhile, the Caps were still scratching their heads over Jaroslav Halak’s 53 saves in game 6. It did provide this gem from Boudreau though, who led the American Hockey League in scoring in the 1980s and was asked if he ever faced a goalie who would just not be beat. “I’ve faced those goalies, and you want to take your stick and hit him over the head with it… but you can’t do that.”
As for who the Caps will start in net for game 7? Boudreau says his mind is made up, although he would not name names. When asked if Semyon Varlamov’s game 7 performance against Pittsburgh last spring (four goals against in 22 minutes) would factor into his decision, Boudreau said “no, but his play in game 7 against the Rangers might (one goal allowed in a 2-1 series clinching win)”