Boucher: Pressure is on Boudreau

Guy Boucher. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)

Guy Boucher. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Hours before his team will face a sea of rocking red here at the Verizon Center, Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher continued his “woe is us” stumping.

Despite finishing just four points behind the Capitals in the regular season and bumping off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round, Boucher said all the pressure is on Washington and coach Bruce Boudreau.

“Washington is in Year 5 of their plan, we’re in Year 1,” Boucher told reporters following his team’s game-day skate on Friday.

There is certainly pressure on the No. 1-seed Capitals to come through, especially after a couple of early exits from the post season. But you don’t often see an opponent’s coach rub it in the face before the series begins.

The Lightning will surely have to withstand a super-charged building tonight less than 48 hours after their big Game 7 win over the Penguins. The Caps rink is lively at the best of times but no more so than on Fridays, the teams traditional big home night.

And further to Boucher’s point, the Capitals are heavily favoured to win the series at a price of minus-200 (meaning it requires a $200 wager to profit $100.)

That said, the Lightning have played the Capitals tough down the stretch, especially when it became a two-horse race for first in the NHL’s Southeast Division.

“It got pretty good there at the end, I think, the rivalry,” Boudreau said earlier this week. “Just because both teams were vying for first place, and I think the last four games we had against them were pretty serious, serious games.

“But I think (the playoffs) takes it a different step.”

The Capitals come into the series with the advantage of rest after meeting only minimal resistance from the New York Rangers in their five-game series.

QUICK HITS

Dwayne Roloson, the 41-year-old Tampa goalie who blanked the Pens in Game 7, has had some success against the Caps this season. In four games (one with the New York Islanders) Roloson has two shutouts and a GAA of 1.37 and a save percentage of .953 ... The Lightning open the series with the most successful poet play of the eight remaining teams after converting eight of 27 opportunities against the Pens ... A trend bound to continue against the high-octane Caps: Tampa has been outshot in all seven of its playoff games thus far ... Tampa veteran Marty St. Louis on the fact that Boucher was not named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. “He doesn’t need a trophy to be respected by his players,” St. Louis said. The finalists are Barry Trotz (Nashville), Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) and Alain Vigneault (Vancouver) ... It certainly looks like the Caps are willing to pay the price this time around. They blocked an average of 20.8 shots per game, the highest total in the first round.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


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