Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Caps vs Habs Game 4

Semyon Varlamov is the man. Mike Green and the rest of the Caps defense owes this guy a beer. Varly turned into the Varly all of Caps nation fell in love with last year. His second period prompted Joe B to proclaim "He's back." And without Varly coming up big in the second period this series looks a lot different.

Alex Ovechkin finally broke the Caps power play drought in the first period but a a minute later the Canadiens beat Varlamov to tie the game. I don't blame Varly for that goal because the defense in this game really let him down. The second period looked a lot like game 1 and game 2. A lot of mismanaged puck handling between the blue lines, poor defensive play, and a lot of pressure made things tough for the Caps in the second period. Varly saw 21 shots and only surrendered 1 goal on a Canadiens power play. The saves Varly made were incredible. He was the Caps penalty kill and kept that Caps in a game that could've been ugly fast. The Caps just couldn't get anything going in the second period.

The Caps ended the second period with a short handed breakaway by Boyd Gordon leading to a Knuble goal. And when he scored Bell Centre went dead silent.

The third period saw Ovechkin and Chimera score to go up by two. They put in an empty netter, got a little lazy and saw the Habs score and then put in another empty netter to win Game 4 and take a 3-1 series lead.

I saw a bunch of issues in the game and although I don't think any of them preventing the Caps from winning this series but it is a slight cause for concern going forward.

The biggest issue I had with tonight was the Caps got away from what made game 3 so good; the Caps weren't crashing the net and getting rebounds to score goals. The Caps had a lot of good scoring chances but there were a lot of rebounds just laying there with Price out of position and if the Caps had done a better job getting to the net this game would've been over in the first period. Defense clearly isn't the Caps strong suit so they need to make sure they get the puck in deep, forecheck, and get the rebounds and score. Score early, score often.

And that brings me to my second point of concern... Defense. SOmething is wrong with Mike Green. He seemed to shy away from getting hit tonight and he was out of position of the first Canadiens goal. The Gomez breakaway from game 2 had Green lagging behind the play. I don't know if he's hurt, sick, or just terrible in the playoffs but something's wrong.

Also on the defense is Tyler Sloan. Shaone Morrisonn was out tonight and I can see why Erskine wasn't activated for tonights game but the defense can't have Tyler Sloan, forward converted to defenseman out there going forward. Sorry Sloan, I don't like it when you're on the ice.

Game 5 on Friday should be a good one. I have complete confidence the Caps will close out this series on Friday and send the Habs back to Canada crying.

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