Monday, April 20, 2009

Clearing Some Blockage

The New York Rangers are holding strong to the old saying that offense wins you games, defense wins you championships. Their 29 blocked shots frustrated the Capitals and earned their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with a shut out, his third of his career. The Caps are down in a 2 game hole, but you wouldn't know it by their attitude.

Alex Ovechkin has been here before. In fact, this Capital team was looking at a two game disadvantage to a team the looked like they had the Caps well in hand just last year. But the Capitals won the next one at home and the next one on the road to force a game seven. It took a lucky bounce off of a shot from the point that beat the Capitals.

This team does its best when its back is to the wall. This time they won't be facing down elimination. "Last year we lost three in a row and we bounced back," Ovechkin said. "We're going to play the same way."

Meanwhile, Bruce Boudreau is looking to take some of the pressure off of Ovi. "The people that have been around here all year know that Ovie wants to win as bad as anybody and sometimes he takes too much pressure upon himself to do it," Boudreau said. "Individually he's probably worried so much that everything relies on him and it shouldn't. We should be taking pressure off of him. It's not a one-man team."

The Caps will have to solve the blocking machine that is the Rangers. Following the lead of head coach John Tortorella whose teams are synonymous with blocking shots. If the Caps can not find a way to get shots to the net, they will suffer the same fate they did in Game 2.

One way to break that is to shot off net or make that one extra pass. The Capitals also need to some how get more traffic in front of Lundqvist who of late has looked pretty comfortable in net so far. The Caps have made the effort, but the Rangers have been doing a good job of boxing out their opponents.

"Miss 'em, quite frankly," Boudreau said after the optional practice yesterday. "Shoot it where they ain't."

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