Capitals 1, Canadiens 2 - Habs win series 4-3
Game Summary - Series Totals
A record franchise season in wins, road wins, points, number one overall seed in the league and President Trophy winners. But it all ended in seven games. The Washington Capitals could not figure out Jaroslav Halak or the Montreal Canadiens' defensive trap. All the Habs needed was the first goal of the game, and it paid off for them as they do away with the Washington Capitals in seven games with a 2-1 win.
Shock, would be one word to describe it. That the one thing that would bring the Caps' season to a screeching halt is the lack of offense. The Capitals could only muster a single goal in the waning moments of the game off of Brooks Laich stick. That was all they could do, and it wasn't good enough.
During the season, if I had told you the Capitals were down by a goal or two going into the third many Caps fans would not even bat an eye to say that they were out of the game. But early goals by the Canandiens in three straight games put them on the ropes. A rare sight for a team that had no problem scoring goals.
The Habs got lucky too. Jaroslav Halak played probably the best three games a goaltender can put together in the post season. Credit his defense too, for clearing out the space in front of him and giving him a chance to see the puck. When everyone said that the Caps' size was an advantage, I doubt they envisioned the Habs doing what they did defensively. Or what the Caps lack to do offensively.
Twenty four seconds into the third period, the Capitals thought they had tied the game up off of a great shot by Alex Ovechkin. But NHL official Brian Watson waved off the goal, deeming Mike Knuble was in the crease and interfered with Halak. But the replay showed if Knuble interfered, it was by the narrowest of margins. Instead of that, the Habs come back later in the period and score the eventual game winner.
The Caps lose another series after taking a commanding lead. In the history of the Caps' post season, blowing a series lead is nothing new. But this one stung, with what the Capitals have done all season long.
Questions now arise in the off season for the Capitals too. What new faces will be here in the fall? Nick Backstrom will have to negotiate a contract. Veteran goaltender Jose Theodore will most likely not get a contract renewal in the off season. Non-playoff performers like Tomas Fleischmann and others may find themselves in different sweaters come September. And will Bruce Boudreau be back?
All questions to be answered in due time.