Haggerty's Bruins-Capitals preview: Game 3


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.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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