Haggerty's Bruins-Capitals preview: Game 3

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Haggerty's Bruins-Capitals preview: Game 3

WASHINGTON, DC With the series switching scenes to Washington, the Bruins get to show their road worthiness against a Capitals team thats been pretty good at home this year. Boston has witnessed the shot-blocking ways of the Caps skaters and experienced the 1-4 trap employed by Washington coach Dale Hunter, and say theyre ready to make adjustments against the Caps.

The bottom line: the Bruins need to win at least one of the two games in the Nations Capitals to reclaim home ice advantage and wrest control of the series. They need to be better on the power play, the need to show more grit in front of the net and the Bs defenseman need to find a way to snake more shots through the tangled trees of Washington defenders.

We just need to be more committed in certain areas of our game, said Zdeno Chara. Once we do that its going to be a much better feel on the ice. We just need to be better and more committed.

We all know its the playoffs and aint going to be easy. There are going to be some losses. You just need to put them behind you, regroup on the days in between and get ready for the game days.

With all of the criticism of Bostons top six forwards by their coach and the inordinate amount of praise going toward Washington goaltender Braden Holtby over the first two games, itll be up to the Bruins to reverse the course of conversation in a series that still has both teams minding their manners.

That may change in Game 3 if the Bruins hope to exert their will against a Capitals team thats been surprisingly non-compliant.

PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: No points in two games against the Capitals and little offensive involvement for Tyler Seguin in Game 2 despite 26:04 of ice time against Washington. Its time for the 20-year-old to start becoming a game-changing offensive force after watching his team struggle to total two goals in their first two games against the Caps. Seguin needs to battle harder and better in the offensive zone while fighting for pucks and possession it was far too easy for the Caps players to wrestle the puck away from him when he slowed down on the gas pedal.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: Theyre going to be angry at him? I think everybody is angry at him because hes so good. You guys know him almost as well as I do. He doesnt give a shoot about that stuff. It doesnt bother him at all. Tuukka Rask when asked if he expects the Washington fans and their ObamaWhite House-themed chants to throw Tim Thomas off his game.

KEY MATCHUP: The thing to watch is whether Dale Hunter can get the matchups he wants with last change in his building. Clearly hed like to get Alex Ovechkin away from Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, and it will be up to Claude Julien to either split his defensemen or stay the course with different combinations out on the ice. The one real negative: Hunter is going to be able to get offensive lines out on the ice when the Greg ZanonJoe Corvo tandem is put out there at points during the game. Watch out for those scenarios.

STAT TO WATCH: 49 the number of blocked shots for Washington after two games leads the entire NHL postseason field. Nobody saw that coming and its been a big part of Braden Holtby shining for the Capitals.

INJURIES: Tuukka Rask (groin strainabdomen strain) is working out with the team and close to a return. Nathan Horton (mild concussion) has been shut down for the postseason. Adam McQuaid (headeye) has missed six of the last seven games with an upper body injury and didnt make the trip to Washington DC.

ForWashington: injured goalies, Michal Neuvirth, practiced Sunday, but the other, Tomas Vokoun, did not. When asked about his goaltending situation, Dale Hunter said that Holtby "is our goalie" when either Neuvirth or Vokoun gets healthy.

GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Its a battle of goalies that have been very good through the first two games. Tim Thomas has a .964 save percentage and a 0.83 goals against along with a shutout in Game 1, but will be facing the Obama masks and White House signs for the first time in the series. Meanwhile Brad Holtby has become the darling of Washington hockey with a .973 save percentage and 0.83 goals against average in the first two contests. Hes saved 72 of 74 shots and has matched Thomas stop for stop throughout the first two games of the series. Hell need to continue being that good if the Caps are planning on playing the shot-blocking, gritty style theyve employed in the first couple of games.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)