Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Holy Halak

Capitals 1, Canadiens 4 - Series tied at 3
Game Summary

The Washington Capitals brought their shots to the game, the problem was Montreal Canadien goaltender Jaroslav Halak had an answer for just about every one of them. In a game that was mostly dominated by the Capitals Halak turned away 53 shots and only allowing one goal against the offensive juggernaut that are the Washington Capitals. While Halak was brilliant, Caps' netminder Semyon Varlamov was marginal. The result, a 4-1 win and a forced game seven by the Canadiens.

Eric Fehr scored the only goal for the Capitals who once again were frustrated by the Habs defense. The Capitals were only able to score one goal out of 54 shots as well as 23 shots that were blocked and 17 shots that missed the net. For a whopping total of 94 shots the Caps attempted.

Special teams again do the Caps in as they went 0 for six on the power play and allowed a power play goal against. Mike Cammalleri came up huge with a power play goal in the first period. It was really all the Habs needed, as Halak seemed to find a zone. The puck was a beach ball to him and he was stopping everything.

The Capitals were unable to do anything to the three straight diving calls the Canadiens' took. The power play just was not clicking for them. Even with a 5 on 3, the Caps were guilty of being "too cute." A problem that has plague them all season long.

When the Canadiens' took the 3-0 lead, game seven was inevitable. It would be the Capitals fourth straight playoff series that has gone to seven games. There record is a humble 1-2, including a drubbing on home ice by the Pittsburgh Penguins last post season.

The Capitals are guilty of relying too heavily on their offense that has, thus far, fallen short of expectations. Besides Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin who both have 9 points (both have 5g, 4a) and Mike Knuble who has 6 points (2g, 4a) thus far in this series, no Capital has more than 4 points or 3 goals. And when that top line is shut down, the Habs are getting by with shots from second and third lines with no damage at all.

Alex Semin has taken the most shots in the post season by any other player, 0 goals. The top scoring defenseman for the Capitals Mike Green has yet to score a tally. Eric Belanger, Tomas Fleischmann and Brendan Morrison all have zero goals. There is nobody adding goal support for the top line and the Caps will suffer another game seven loss if that does not change.

The Caps can not ask Semyon Varlamov to be any better in net for them. The Caps' netminder has done exactly what was expected of him, keep the opposition's score low enough for the Capitals' offense to take over. In fact the Caps concede that the goaltender doesn't have to be perfect to win. That may be true in the regular season, but that logic is slowly slipping in post season play.

The Capitals can ill afford to give up the first goal again to the Habs. When they have done that, it has taken a monumental effort to get back in the game, if they do at all. If the Caps are eliminated in the first round, best bet is Bruce Boudreau gets the pink slip for his team's inability to put a little 'ol puck in a 6' x 4' frame.

Game seven is at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night.

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