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Chimera throws his support behind Boudreau

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Chimera throws his support behind Boudreau

Nearly four years after he was fired as head coach of the Capitals and replaced by Dale Hunter, Bruce Boudreau is on the hot seat again.

Heading into tonight’s game in St. Louis against the Blues the Anaheim Ducks are 1-6-2 and Boudreau’s tenure in Southern California is about as stable as the San Andreas Fault, especially after the Ducks coughed up a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.

“You feel for anybody you know,” said Capitals left wing Jason Chimera, who played parts of three seasons under Boudreau from 2009-11. “Coaches are like kickers sometimes. You miss a kick at the end of the game and all of sudden you’re the worst person in the world.

“Coaches maybe take too much blame and sometimes they get too much credit. When you’re struggling it’s usually the coach (who gets blamed). It’s not always the coach. You’ve got to look in the mirror. They’ve got a great team. People didn’t pick them to win the Stanley Cup for no reason.

“Sometimes it’s easier to change one person than the whole team and that’s the unfortunate part of the business of being a coach. I think coaches know that when they sign up for it, but it still sucks when you know a guy personally and you know how good a guy he is and how much he cares. When you see that part of it you don’t want anyone to go through that.”

Boudreau’s blank stare after the Ducks’ collapse against the Stars was a familiar one. He had a similar reaction following the Capitals’ 5-1 loss in Buffalo back in November of 2011. Two days later he was fired.

“I don’t know … I’m at a loss right now,” Boudreau said after his team’s most recent defeat.

The Ducks close out their five-game road trip tonight looking for their first road win of the season (0-3-1) and already some are calling for Trent Yawney or Paul MacLean as possible replacements. (Or maybe Guy Boucher?)

Boudreau, whose team has scored just nine goals in nine games despite some mocking instruction from Teemu Selanne, understands.

"Look at our record," he told reporters in St. Louis., "Of course the level of urgency is as high as it can be.

"… Our sense of urgency is not like if we were 6-1. There's only so many points on the table in 82 games. If you look at what made the playoffs last year, you might just use that as a board here, then you'd have to start winning some games; they have to start putting some games together to be successful. There's 70-plus games left, but at the same time, if you have to get 99 points to get into the playoffs, that's 47 wins for us right now, and that's not an easy task."

[RELATED: Trotz endorses Ovechkin as Hall of Famer]

 

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

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USA TODAY Sports

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.​

A quick start

Strong stars go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a team in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the first.

Andre Burakovsky snapping second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked at points this season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo just would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play form the office. He would later add a deflection goal late to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.

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3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

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3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

The Capitals needed a win in the worst way and they got one, dispatching the Buffalo Sabres in dominating fashion with a 5-1 win.

Washington was locked in a tight game leading 2-0 heading into the third period when Sam Reinhart scored just 14 seconds into the period. The Caps then slammed the door shut, scoring three unanswered goals to put away the Sabres.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Alex Ovechkin: This was career game No. 893 for Ovechkin, tying him for the franchise record for most games played with Calle Johansson. Ovechkin very fittingly celebrated the occasion with two goals. The first was a power play goal from the office. No need for a one-timer on this one, as the Sabres gave him all the time he needed to aim up the shot and wrist it into the top corner. He added a late 

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov: To say the Caps have struggled at the start of games would be an understatement. In the last 18 games, Washington has held the lead after the first period only once. Kuznetsov made sure this game started off on the right foot as he scored just 50 seconds into the game. He turned on the jets in the neutral zone to turn the edge on Jason Pominville then easily skated around a weak, ill-advised challenge from Robin Lehner before flinging the puck into the yawning net. It was the fastest goal to start a game by the Caps this season. It was just the start of what would be a four-point night for the Caps' center as he added three assists.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky had the highlight of the game with his end-to-end goal in the second period to put Washington up 2-0. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he launched himself from the defensive zone, streaked down the center of the ice and in on net to slide the puck through the Lehner's five-hole. Look how Burakovsky was able to slice through the Sabres' defense. Buffalo had him surrounded, but could not slow him down at all.