Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Game 1 Caps vs. Rangers 4-15-2009 Post-Mortem

Not as bad as you might think... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a Viktor Kozlov sighting! Not only did he pick up an assist tonight, he also scored his first ever playoff goal in 22 playoff games. We need him to contribute and his goal at the end of the second period was huge.
  • A.O. had only two assists tonight but had great scoring chances all night long. 13 shots on goal, 10 blocked, and 5 others that missed the net. If this is the best the Rangers can do against him, it will only get better for th Caps because there were multiple times where A.O. would have scored had he gotten a good shot off and he will eventually get on a roll.
  • We actually felt that the Caps did a good job getting traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist tonight. They need to keep it up.

THE BAD:

  • By his own admission, Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore didn't have his best game tonight, but you cannot blame this loss on him because there were no soft goals allowed, just a lack of big and timely saves. What is more concerning to us was the horrible communication between him and his defenders. Too many pucks were misplayed around the net as a result of the goaltender and the defense not being on the same page.
  • The Penalty Killing, was only 2 for 4 tonight and Sergei (#3) Fedorov's Delay of Game penalty in the second period was just a killer because once again, he was not under any pressure in his defensive zone when he sailed the puck over the glass and it was also the second Delay of Game penalty against the Caps tonight.
  • 21 blocked shots for the New York Rangers. First of all, give the Rangers credit for giving up their bodies like that but the Caps have to take smarter shots and not just throw the puck at the net for no reason.

THE UGLY:

  • We didn't bother listening to the Post-Game Show on the way home tonight because we knew the Jeff "Sergeant" Schultz Bashers would be foaming at the mouth tonight. We admit he was undressed by Brandon Dubinsky for the Game Winning Goal, but that was the only time you noticed him on the ice tonight. As a matter of fact, he made a great decision in the second period to give up the offensive zone because if he had pinched, the Rangers would have been off on a 3 on 1 going the other way.
  • At 2 for 7, the Power Play checks in with a 28.6% effectiveness but the Power Play just 18 seconds into the game failed to convert and it wasn't until the third Power Play chance that they converted. If the Rangers are going to give the Caps Power Plays that early and often in the game, the Power Play has to be much, much better.
  • And along those lines, 14 shots on goal for the Caps, only 4 for the Rangers in the First Period, yet the game stayed tied at 0-0. We said that the Caps have to get to Lundqvist early because the longer the game stays 0-0, the more it helps the Rangers and that is exactly what happened tonight.

Ok, so this wasn't what everybody expected but from where we sit, we see two problems. One is easily correctable and the other, well, not so much. First of all we got the impression that the Caps felt as though they were playing the Philadelphia Flyers again. Too many times tonight the Caps were going past the puck to make a hit, they were coming all the way across the ice and got out position to make a hit. While you need to increase your intensity in the playoffs, you also need to play within yourself. The Rangers were playing physical, but this is not a team that is going to try to physically intimidate the Caps like the Flyers do. The Caps showed tonight that they're willing to play physical too, but they need to do it within the context of their own game. The second problem to us tonight seemed to be a lack of maturity. The only way to change that is to get a taskmaster coach, a vocal in-your-face leader, and/or simply grow up. We felt they spent too much time chasing Sean Avery around and that has to stop PRONTO. Finally, folks, this is just one game, while Theodore admits he did not play his best, yanking him in favor of Simeon Varlamov right away isn't going to solve anything.

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