Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Capital Collapse

Capitals 3, Lightning 4 (Tampa leads 3-0)
Game Summary

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals looked at game three as a must win game to stay in the series. But their first power play goal did not help. Their first lead in the series did not help. A lead going into the third period once was chalked up as a win, but that did not help. Instead the Capitals have a mental brain cramp in the third period and the Bolts score :24 seconds apart to put the visiting team on the brink winning 4-3.

The Capitals do not seem to be playing the same inspiring style of playoff hockey that did away with the New York Rangers in five games. Perhaps their luck has run out. It is the little things they do not seem to be doing that is so important in post season play. They are losing battles along the boards, not passing crisply or quickly and failing to win battles along the boards and in front of the net. They are not going to the net, they are not grinding it out and they are making poor decisions with the puck.

If Michal Neuvirth is on any other team, he would be outstanding. The saves the Caps' goaltender made should have been inspiring even in the waning moments of the game when the Caps were trying to get the game back to even. I am sure he would like back a few shots, like Steven Stamkos shot form the high slot, he seemed to far back in his net. But for the most part, it was the team in front of him that let him down.

Again the Capitals were given some golden opportunities on the power play. While they scored on a 5 on 3 power play, they were zero for four on the rest of the night. Even taking away Mike Knuble's first period goal when a mental breakdown and six skaters were on the ice. It would have been the Capitals first period one goal and first goal in the game in this series.

The Capitals are lacking some secondary scoring. After a brilliant first game and nearly scoring several times in game one, Alex Semin has all but disappeared from the post season. Out side of a good shot or two, he has become the biggest non-factor for the Capitals. They also have not seen any consistent offense from  outside the top line.

Mike Knuble scored first for the Caps in the second period to tie the game up and one. They would take a 2-1 lead on John Carlson's heavy slap shot. It would be the Capitals first lead of the series. It would not last long as Vincent Lecavalier, a thorn in the side of the Caps this post season, tied it back up about five minutes later in the second.

But the Bolts got into some penalty trouble and the Caps score their first power play goal of the series on a 5 on 3 opportunity and go up 3-2.

The third period doomed the Caps when Mike Green did not return. It shuffled up the defensive pairs and some miscommunication between Scott Hannan and John Erskine allowing an open shot for Stamkos in the slot that would beat Neuvirth. Then the Caps played poorly following the goal, not taking care of Ryan Malone in front of the Caps net and a centering pass bounced off him and into the net making the collapse of the Capitals in game three complete.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not won anything yet, it is still a seven game series. The Caps will have to drum something up in less than 24 hours if they have any chance of coming back in this season. But the odds are against the Caps, and there are more questions than answers after would could be a season that would see the mighty Caps swept in four games.

Caps notes:
  • Matt Hendricks was a healthy scratch for a second game in row. 
  • Brooks Laich, Alex Semin and Marcus Johansson were a -2 in this game. They combined for one shot in game 3.
  • In franchise history, the Capitals have never come back from being down 3-0 in a playoff series.

1 comment:

Graphics Design said...

I love that the so called "Hockey experts" didn't give Tampa a chance to win this, and yet not do they prove them wrong, but they do it in four not seven. No question about it. The Lightning were the team no one was talking about. They have a solid chance of getting into the final. Congrats. Go Canucks!