Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some Thoughts On Last Night's Action

The Washington Capitals were the only home team to lose their game last night. So much for home ice advantage. Bruce Boudreau now faces a tough decision, stick with Jose Theodore or go with rookie Simeon Varlamov. It may seem like a rash move, but that is how much Boudreau disliked Theo's performance last night.

"There’s times when you sit there, you need the save, and he didn’t make the save when we needed it," Boudreau said.

The Cap's power play was good, but not good when they wanted it to be. The power play chance in the third period to get the go ahead goal fell short when the Caps looked to make the perfect play. Instead of looking for that home run play, the Caps needed to keep the play simple and get the puck to the net. Their second power play goal by Alex Semin was scored in that very fashion, getting to the net broke down the Ranger coverage.

Another disappointing factor of game 1 was the officiating. I do not like to pick on the officials, but there were some blatant missed calls on the play following the Caps' opening goal in the second. Nik Antropov's interference with Tomas Fleischmann in the zone was missed and just seconds later Sean Avery's interference on Mike Green lead to a unassisted goal by Scott Gomez. It also prompted a long conversation between Boudreau and Referee Tim Peel at the start of the third period.

The Capitals were clearly ready for a fight, the Rangers came out nervous leading to a first period mismatch that resulted in a 14 - 4 shot count. But the Caps didn't score during that stretch. Even with two power plays, they failed to generate a single goal which could have lead to further frustration.

Nick Backstrom was at times brilliant. He made a couple behind the net passes to a wide open players in front of the net. He had an assist but some of his passes were mishandled. In fact, many passes made by Capitals seemed to miss their mark. Alex Ovechkin himself took a number of passes in his feet, especially when he was wide open and had a perfect shooting lane. The passes have to be more precise.

The good news, the Caps have a couple of days to fix the problems. Even if that means making a change in net.

"There’s a chance anything could happen," Boudreau said. "When you lose, you make changes."

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