Why would I be surprised? Every playoff series Washington has been in since 2003 has gone seven. Halak apparently turns into Patrick Roy when he sees 40+ shots and Corey’s mom turns into Nostradamus when Vegas likes the Caps. I cannot overstate the feeling of negativity in Washington right now, because this is like Groundhog Day for Caps fans. An NHL record three 3-1 leads blown. A flaccidity inducing 2-6 in game 7s, three of those losses in overtime. It’s so bad the Capitals turned off their official message boards to escape the negativity.
Tonight’s game 7 is a turning point for the franchise. Backstrom might be able to escape the funk of defeat, but Ovechkin’s reputation will suffer no matter how eye popping his postseason numbers are. The goalless Mike Green and Semin will deservedly get heaping shares of blame. After making the playoffs in Boudreau’s first season and the second round last year, any step backward would make this record breaking season a disappointment and for the first time there will be talk within the beltway about whether Boudreau is the right coach for this team. Now if the Capitals win there’s no guarantee they beat Philadelphia, or the winner of Pittsburgh and Boston, or the winner of the West, but I maintain they should be favored in each one of those potential matchups. So maybe I’ll be looking back at all of these doubts and anxieties and laughing in a couple of months, or maybe I’ll be counting down the days until the NFL preseason starting tomorrow.
Analysts boil tonight down to the Caps getting to the net. Usually I’m dismissive of such simplistic solutions, but when Washington was unleashing the Kraken on Montreal Knuble was bumping the Habs’ goalie at every opportunity and it clearly had an effect. The other obvious key is the Capitals’ power play, currently an impotent 1 for 30. Their one goal was in transition – once they get in the zone it’s like they expect their shots to be blocked. I think they need to be more aggressive with their cross ice passes a man up, because Montreal was taking that away early in the series but they were there the last two games, certainly in game 6′s 5 on 3. Poti’s loss can be overcome, but naturally he’s been statistically the Caps’ best defenseman in the playoffs. It sounds like Alzner is taking his spot next to Carlson tonight, a move I agree with instead of Sloan or Erskine. I think talent wins out tonight: Washington 4-2.
About the Author
Written by Ryan Cleaver
Ryan Cleaver was born in Björk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where his parents were giant stone heads. He has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of his hands and he can turn his legs into tigers. On Sundays, Ryan enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. His favorite color is greenish-transparent and his favorite movie is the one you just watched.