Friday, April 24, 2009

Zero Margin For Error

The Capitals trail in their series with the New York Rangers three games to one. The Capitals have never recovered from a 3-1 deficit to win the series, the Rangers have never blown a 3-1 lead to lose a series. For the Caps to make history, which they are not ashamed to do, they will have to pull together three perfect games.

But let's not concentrate on winning all three games for tonight's tilt. The Caps should just be concentrating on winning Game 5. And there are three keys to the game for them to pull off a win.

1. Take advantage of home ice - It sounds so simple, but the Capitals have blown both games one and two at home. They have to take advantage of the last change and feed off of the raucous crowd. The Verizon Center has to be a much more uncomfortable place for Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. An early goal will energize the crowd and put the pressure on the Rangers.

2. Everything to the net - The puck, the forwards, their sticks, the kitchen sink, Aunt Molly's mole; everything. The Caps have to crowd Lundqvist and make it harder for the Ranger defenders to cut off shooting lanes and passing lanes. In their Game 3 win, the Capitals scored all four goals with in 5 feet of the goal line. Passes originated from at or behind the goal line. That trend must continue.

3. Somebody has to score not named Alex - Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Fleischmann? Fehr? Fedorov? Boudreau? Anyone? The power play has to preform better too.

The good news, the Rangers are still struggling to score, thanks to one Simeon Varlamov (not VAR-la-mov, var-LA-mov thank you very much). The Caps' defense has played much better than Game 1 and parts of Game 2. However, with the way their goaltender is playing, one or two goals is all they need.

The bad news, the odds. They are not in the Caps favor right now. But this is a team that always seems to play better when the odds are stacked against them. Just take it one game at a time boys, staring with tonight.

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