Monday, April 20, 2009

Game 3 Caps @ Rangers 4-20-2009 Post-Mortem

We'll see your 1-0 shutout and raise you a 4-0 shutout... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • We have an Alexander "Slappy" Semin sighting! Slappy had two goals and an assist tonight to lead the Caps scoring charge. We said on Saturday that your best players have to play their best in the playoffs and Slappy did exactly that tonight after having a pretty invisible first two games. The sad part is, Slappy should have had four goals in the first period by himself.
  • Bruce Boudreau gambled on Saturday by starting Simeon Varlamov over Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore and didn't get the payoff he was looking for. Boudreau played the same card again tonight and it paid off big time. As well as Henrik Lundqvist was playing at the other end, Varlamov more than matched him save for save. We'll admit, he got some great luck in the first period when Ryan Callahan hit the goal post on a wide open net, but we've been saying that the Caps were due for some breaks and that was the first big break to go the Caps way in this series.
  • As good as Slappy and Varlamov were, A.O. was even better. He was the best skater for the Caps tonight and while he didn't score any goals, the fact that the Rangers were so drawn to him opened things up for the rest of the team and A.O. was finding them. A.O. had just 5 shots on goal. 4 were blocked and 5 others missed the net for what is a quiet evening for A.O. He did however have two assists and played as well on the defensive end as we've seen him play. He deserved to be one of the stars of the game tonight.
  • The Penalty Killers went 5 for 5 tonight hold the Rangers to just 8 shots on goal during those man advantages. It also helped that the Rangers couldn't stop taking penalties on their Power Plays but the Caps Penalty Killers were playing pretty well tonight.
  • Much has been made over the Rangers blocking 50 shots in the first two games. Tonight they only blocked 13, the same number the Caps blocked tonight. Adjustment made.

THE BAD:

  • The Power Play was officially 2 for 6 tonight. But once again needed some time to get going. You guessed it, it was on the third man advantage of the night again. Imagine if the Rangers were somehow able to take only two penalties in a game???
  • After holding the Rangers to 21 and 24 shots on goal in the first two games, the Caps yield 33 shots on goal tonight, 21 in the first two periods alone. While we won, the game was a little too wide open for our taste. Not the way you want to protect your 20 year old rookie goaltender.

THE UGLY:

  • If looks could kill, John Tortorella would have murdered Sean Avery in the third period as he got ejected for his continuing nonsense trying to get in the head of Varlamov. First of all, considering the one game suspension for Daniel Carcillo of the Philadephia Flyers and Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins for "sending a message" can we expect the same for Avery? Secondly, why was Avery trying to talk smack to a guy who doesn't understand English? Unlike Martin Brodeur, Varlamov had no idea what that little punk was saying to him which is likely why he didn't react to him. Avery showed his ugly side tonight as he cost the Rangers more than he helped them.
  • As a matter of fact, Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin were right, the third period was all kinds of ugly. We're talking Rod Brind'Amour ugly. A win is a win is a win but we were very worried that the Rangers would either find a way to sneak back into this game or get confidence heading into Game 4. We still have not mastered shutting teams down in the third period when we have a big lead.

This is the largest margin of victory since the Caps beat the Ottawa Senators 6-1 in Game 2 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Semifinals so you know exactly where you can stick that broom Maven. Furthermore, with just one goal in 120 minutes of hockey against Simeon Varlamov, how many words are going to be written about how he's in the Rangers' heads? Who can John Tortorella send onto the Rangers bench when the Caps have their morning skate on Wednesday? If we were Boudreau, we'd have the entire Caps team watching the Rangers morning skate on Wednesday...

Ok, now that we've gotten all of that out of our system. The time for celebrating and gloating is over. The Caps are still trailing in the Series 2-1 and Game 4 is also a MUST WIN GAME because as far as we're concerned, being down 3-1 is just as bad as being down 3-0. We've avoided being down 3-0 and need to avoid being 3-1 just as much. We've been telling you that things would start to roll once we started getting our share of the breaks and the bounces and boy did we get them tonight. We're going to need them again on Wednesday night because without a doubt, Henrik Lundqvist has played better and better with each passing game. If the Rangers were overconfident tonight, they won't be on Wednesday and now the Caps have to guard against reverting back to their form of the first two games with overconfidence.

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