Capitals 54 shots, Montreal 22. Montreal 4 goals, Washington 1 goal.
The Capitals' power play continues to be struggling. Tomas Fleischmann can't hit an open net, literally. Alexander Semin shoots high when he should shoot low and shoots low when he needs to aim for the top corner, and it's not promising that he wasn't able to get it done when Boudreau put Nicklas Backstrom as his center for the first two periods. The Caps continue to give up those outside shots. The net-crashers that wear 21 and 22 didn't have great positioning in front, and neither did the guy in 16 (whom we cut slack for a "good" offensive zone penalty, pushing Andrei Markov into Jaroslav Halak to start something, and then redirecting a Mike Green pass into the net).
I watched this game because I couldn't sleep. My internet conked out at about the 18:00 remaining mark of the first until the beginning of the second. I watched on, knowing that the Capitals are capable of a comeback. But it certainly would help if I didn't experience minor heart pains, having to sit through two and three goal deficits every night.
Jaroslav Halak stole this game, plain and simple. But the Caps shooters were missing juicy rebounds, not going top shelf with the rebounds they did get, trying to pick the corners too finely later in the game. Halak saw everything, every single shot--that's unacceptable for a team as big as Washington. They continue to have trouble with the Montreal power play: while keeping everything to the outside, it's too easy for Montreal. Their PK, meanwhile, is aggressive to disrupt the Caps' power play.
And Mike Cammalleri, can't the Caps stop this guy from scoring even once?
With that out of my system, lots of positives to look at as well.
Being a newer Caps fan, the most heartbreak I have been subjected to are the two Game 7 losses and the Peter Bondra trade. I'm still optimistic. And when I look at this, I think...no way this happens again. Already happened twice this series. Another time? I doubt it. Habs take three of four in DC? I doubt it. Caps can't build on this desperate effort some more? I doubt it. They know they blew this lead (and I hope Bruce Boudreau really drills it into them that it's on them).
Mike Green was stronger. John Carlson continues to be strong. Tom Poti was strong until he was forced to leave after getting a deflection in the face--I hope he's back soon.
And the Caps can attack this PK Subban dude whom the announcers gushed over like he's Drew Doughty, and Marc-Andre Bergeron as well. Both were carefully managed by Jacques Martin, Bergeron essentially playing the power play and only the power play, and Subban getting minimal minutes as well. They can attack Hal Gill, who looked to have trouble handling the puck under forechecking pressure (as was Jeff Schultz).
And Alex Ovechkin is still getting it done. Maybe a few too many of his trademark rush up the left wing (Gorges was reading it perfectly) but he was still being effective in the offensive zone. Backstrom looked like an Ovechkin clone, but a lefty. Chimera, Gordon, and the rest of the "grinders" continued to play effectively, though I think ideally they get more ice time (with the Caps down though, of course Backstrom and Ovechkin eat up those minutes). Only Fehr of that group broke ten, and he only had 9 seconds to spare.
Interesting to note : 5 Caps skaters did not have a shot on goal. Joe Corvo had 10. Not a typo.
At least the shots from the point are getting through. Put some bodies in front and they'll go in.
Bottom line: they play like this Wednesday night, they win Game 7 and have a date with Philadelphia over the weekend.
Unless Halak channels his
Counter down to...1. For now.