Sunday, April 13, 2008

Shut Out!

Game 2 - Capitals 0, Flyers 2 - Series tied 1-1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times -

No Heroics here. Just some good old boring defense by the Flyers. A two goal lead is all that was needed to be the Capitals in game 2. The Cardiac Caps couldn't pull another late victory and the Flyers split the series in D.C.

Cristobal Huet didn't play badly, but the offense didn't get the job done in front of him. For the first time in however many games since Chicago that the Caps got out hustled and out worked. Alex Ovechkin just spent too much time on the ice trying to do too much on his own in the first and second. It would have better served his team to keep his shifts short and the lines together. A lesson learned.

Credit the Philadelphia Flyers for a better defensive effort than in game one. After jumping to a two goal lead in the first, the Flyers were content with keep away and defensive shut downs. Biron did a much better job stopping the Caps early and that momentum seemed to carry through out the game.

The Caps defense looked a little shell shocked in the first period. Missing key assignments, allowing stretch passes to beat them. They took a game off, weren't as gritty as I thought they were in the first period. At times the offense didn't fair much better. A couple of opportunities early and the Caps were being too cute with the puck. Just shoot it, get it on net.

The Caps just got out worked in their own building. The crowd mimicked the play on the ice, lethargic and disinterested at times. Clearly it's not the effort the Caps wanted to put out after their spectacular comeback a couple nights earlier.

This is a painful lesson in keeping your focus and your foot on the pedal at the same time. The Caps now have to go into Wachovia Center and get at the very least a game back. Right now the momentum is with Philly and their heading home to play in front of their crowd. You got bucked off, now jump right back on and out play them. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.


Anonymous said...

My only 2 comments:

1. Mike Green has to play more physical. Time after time a Philly forward skated in and he skated alongside him instead of standing him up and knocking him off the puck.

2. I will say that I'm flat out worried about Nicklas Backstrom. I know he's 19 or 20, but he looked like a boy among men out there yesterday and like he just isnt ready for playoff hockey in the NHL.

asnowballschance said...

Continuing on anon's #1 observation, Mike Green has to decide whether or not he wants to play defense or go up on offense. It seems in Game 2 he was more inclined to get up and join the rush and creating too many odd-man rushes for Philly. I believe that his slip that lead the their second goal sealed the fate of the game, albeit the Caps had numerous chances to score.

Garrett said...

I think Green was trying to do too much because he jumped up on the play a little too much in game 2. Looking for that magic for a second game in a row I'm sure.

What the defensive core need to start realizing is while an offensive knack is great, but defensive responsibility will win games.

As far as Backstrom is concerned, he looks just as tentative as he did at the start of the season. I wring it down to nerves and lack of experience. This is new for most of the Capitals squad, remember a good chunk of them have never played a Stanley Cup series in their career.