Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just Not Good Enough

Game 4 - Capitals 3, Flyers 4 F/2OT - PHI Leads 3-1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times -

The Capitals had chance after chance. But the problem they had all season continues to haunt them in the post season: The Caps can't score when they need to. A major defensive mistake by Mike Green leaves a wide open Mike Knuble to ice the game with a shot and a rebound chance to secure a two game lead on the upstart Capitals.

The Caps had the lead in the third, but when you play only for the lead it always come back to bite you in the ass. Hence the Caps have some serious bite marks on their rumps after dropping a third straight game to the Flyers. Nick Backstrom finally got on the scoresheet with a goal and an assist, looking much better playing the second line. Alex Semin scored on the powerplay and a deflected shot from Steve Eminger found the back of the net. Alex Ovechkin added a couple of assists. All in all it was a pretty entertaining game to watch if you were being objective about the whole thing (but when was the last time I was objective?).

It was Danielle Briere that force the game to overtime. A few weird calls and an overtime period later it was Mike Green who was for some unexplainable reason behind the net leaving a wide open Knuble in front of the net who not only got one whack at the puck, but two, the second one being the game winner. The play wasn't even going to the back of the net, there is no reason for him to be there.

It just marks a series of missteps and miscues on behalf of the Capitals defense that has this team on the ropes. The Caps badly needed this series and this was the first game I actually some battling. In games 2 and 3, it just looked like the Caps were too timid to go into the corners, to finish their checks. But in this game 4 they looked a little more into the game, standing up for one another and making plays when they needed.

But in the end the Caps couldn't put the puck in the net. I am not sure really what the problem is, it's like a magnet in the net that is keeping shots wide or right into Marty Biron's mitt. The Caps can't expect to get help from the officiating crew either, as there were some calls that were just horrible calls. Viktor Kozlov's interference call was a prime example of just bad officiating. And the Refs seem to have notblowthewhistleitus to the hooking and spearing going on behind the play on behalf of the Flyers. If you see the penalty, call it. That's all we are asking. None of this "It's the playoffs, you have to expect some of that to go on." Ridiculous.

Cris Huet played one of his best games ever, although I know there are a couple he would like to have back. But Huet kept the Caps in it. If only the Caps could play a bit stronger in front of him. Calls for his replacement are valid though. I wouldn't mind seeing Kolzig in the net once, see if any of that competitive edginess can work it's magic. I think, to this point, Boudreau has gone too far with Huet to sit him now.

I really do think the Caps have psyched themselves right out of this series. Ovie didn't/doesn't have to be extraordinary and be on the ice for minutes at a time, he is getting opportunities (great goal scorers usually do). They just needed to play like the did during the regular season. But now they feel that they have to do too much. Just play the game.

This loss is just a back breaker. Three straight losses in the post season is just too huge. The Caps have no momentum, no confidence and they are coming home. A perfect opportunity for them to let their guard down, and I can see that happening on Saturday. The Philly squad will not squander the next game just because they are up a couple of games.

Viktor Kozlov needs to be more of a factor, which I just don't see him excelling his game to any other level than what it is right now. The Caps defense have to be more responsible (not floating behind the net). They need to stop taking retaliatory penalties, the power play will kill them every time they take a bad penalty. In short, it's do or die.


Anonymous said...

If you see the penalty, call it. That's all we are asking. None of this it's playoff, you have to expect some of that to go on. Ridiculous.

I agree. A penalty is a penalty is a penalty, period. It shouldn't matter what time of year or what time of game it is, with the possible exception of the refs being very tight to maintain control in a blowout.

asnowballschance said...

Their playoff inexperience is showing. Why did it take so long to show a competitiveness that was lacking since Game 1?

Also, are you going to watch the replay of this game or just gouge your eyes out?

On the plus side, at least the bandwagon is lighter.

asnowballschance said...

I also like to add how come the Caps do not crash the net as often as they should?

Anonymous said...

I've missed the beginning of 3 out of 4 games in the series (stupid horrible other committment). What I did see looked a lot slower, but I attribute that to the double OT. Still a good back and forth game with lots of opportunities.

I made a prediction (only to myself, really) that we'd see Kolzig in this series - not as a vote of no-confidence towards Huet at all, but as a change.

It's not over. 7 games baby.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and speaking of the bandwagon. I know the coverage of hockey was sparse throughout the season, but did anyone see the recent articles in the examiner?

In addition to a few factual errors, they were really harsh and quite unfair. I'm all for criticism, but seriously...I should dig up some evidence.

Sorry - needed to get that off my chest.