Friday, April 17, 2009

Saturday Is A New Day

The Washington Capitals outplayed the New York Rangers for a majority of the game. Out shooting them in the first period 14 - 4. A majority of the ice was tilted to the visitor's side. And it took a non-call for the Rangers to get the response goal to the Capitals power play.

There are numerous positives to take from game one for the Caps. Their physical play set the tone for how they wanted to treat this team. If the Rangers' heads are constantly on a swivel, they would be concentrating on who coming at them rather than someone who is open.

The Caps also were good on the power play. Even though they were not able to score in the third to take the lead, the Caps took away two goals out of a tough penalty kill team. They were able to move the puck well, set up plays and find the open passing lanes. But they need to get the puck to the net.

The face off dot was also an area where the Caps excelled. Four players were over 70% on their draws. That is important to establish for offensive chances in the offensive zone or quelling a chance in the defensive zone. Boyd Gordon's return helped in that regard, in five draws he won 4.

Believe it or not, the Caps have cut down on their penalties. The Rangers did take advantage of two of the penalties, but take away Mike Green and Sergei Fedorov's delay of game penalties and the Caps were only called for two infractions. The Rangers, however, took seven penalties.

The game one loss hurts home ice advantage. But the Capitals have been a tough road team of late. They had a 6-3-1 in their last ten games of the season. And the Caps have also felt pretty comfortable at MSG forcing overtime in their last two games there where they came out with a win and a shootout loss.

Last note, the Capitals won their opening game against Philadelphia last year. A lot of good it did them. The Rangers still have to win another 3 games against a team that usually answers a loss with a win.

The San Jose Sharks are favored to win the Cup this year by many experts and they also lost their first home game in their series against Anaheim. Meaning series are never won after just one game.

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