Monday, April 26, 2010

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Caps vs Habs Game 6

It was like Deja Vu. The Canadiens come out and score 2 goals quick in the first and the Caps go down earky and have to come back. Now Game 6 was different because the Caps came out firing and with determination and they played physical hockey. But they gave up a penalty and the Habs power play killed us again. Cammalleri has killed the Caps in this series and he didn it tonight on the power and then he did it again 2 minutes later on a play that looked exactly like the power play goal.

And even though he allowed three goals, and yes he should've had that third one, I still can't blame Varly for this game. He's not losing games. He's not really winning games for you but he hasn't lost a game. Yes two early goals in back to back games looks bad but the defense and penalty killers haven't helped him out. I would stick with Varly in Game 7. He's been solid. And at this point in time, going to Theo isn't going to win Game 7 for the Caps. Yes, you can't let the Canadiens score twice in the first 10 minutes in back to back games. But you also can't give up stupid penalties and be in the box. The Caps penalty kill and defense has been a point of concern all season and getting Joe Corvo at the trade deadline hasn't helped. If they Caps win Game 7 and you can get Jurcina back for the Flyers, that will help. And Mike Green needs to get his stuff together.

The biggest problem with tonight's game isn't a problem with anything the Caps did. The problem is Halak. When you out shoot a team 54 to 22 you're doing your job. 54 shoots and you only get one past Halak. Halak was on fire tonight. To be fair, the Caps could've done a better job at crashing the net and getting rebounds (which I've been saying since Game 1) but when you take 54 shots...

Fleischmann had an empty net chance but took too long to shoot and didn't get the puck up enough. He shot the puck into Halak's midsection. I saw a ton of good shots that were all met with saves from Halak. There were a bunch of rebounds the Caps could've had but if you're not crashing the net and still getting 54 shots on goal... Gabby can only ask so much.

I do have one complaint. The Caps had a 5 on 3 and only had 1 shot. Boudreau had to be furious. I was furious. They spent a minute passing, waiting for a lane through the middle to open up to make a pass to the net but it never came. When they finally took a shot it was blocked and the puck went out of the zone and the 5 on 3 was killed. At some point you need to stop worrying about perfect shots, or looking pretty, or having a highlight reel goal and just put the puck on the net and hope you get a bounce or deflection or rebound in your favor. You're not beating Halak taking 54 one timers so you need to get rebounds and just whack the puck in the direction of the net and hope for the best.

I saw Semin hesitate on shots, waiting for a perfect look that never came. It's hard to say there wasn't enough shooting when they had 54 shots on goal but there wasn't enough shooting. The Caps have been held to 1 goal on back to back games. That's a first for this season. It shouldn't be happening.

In Game 7... I don't know what to say. I'd go back to some form of the original lines, Ovie-Backstrom-Knuble, Semin-Belanger-Laich, Flash-Fehr-Chimera, Steckel-Gordon-Bradley. I don't know if I'd healthy scratch Flash and throw Scott Walker in but it's an idea. I might see if I can Erskine in on defense for Morrisonn or someone, just to have a bigger body in there.

Game 7 should be a good one. If the Caps don't come out and play hard and crash the net and block shots and play their hearts out... Even if they win Game 7, if they look flat, it might not be a long run in the playoffs. They need to play with intensity and heart and kill the Canadiens.

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