Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

A stunning beginning: Caps drop opener


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)


Canadiens 3, Caps 2 (OT): Montreal's Tomas Plekanec slips one past Jose Theodore at 13:19 in overtime to steal Game 1 of the first-round series from the Capitals. Just another playoff-opening upset. Story by Tarik El-Bashir »

*Mike Wise: For the Capitals, Game 1 of Stanley Cup playoffs doesn't mark crisis, but is cause for concern. Column »

*Interactive shot chart: every shot on the ice, sortable by player and more.

*Caps join the first-round upset victims club. Notebook »

*Game 1 photo gallery »

*Postgame chat transcript »

*Postgame wrapup »

*Bogging the Caps: Canadiens on stopping Ovechkin | Leonsis lookalike | A D.C. kid named Ovechkin | How the Caps have changed D.C.

More links are right this way:

*Weak start for the top seed. (Loose Pucks)

*Plekanec has his 'Jagr' moment vs. Capitals after goalie insult. (Puck Daddy)

*Tomas Plekanec and Alex Ovechkin a Study in Game 1 Contrast (FanHouse)

Habs: How dare you underestimate us. (Montreal Gazette)

*Photos from Game 1. (Caps in Pictures)

*Recap/reaction/etc.: Ed Frankovic, Peerless, CapsBlog, RMNB, Japers' Rink.

Practice is at 11 a.m., so stay tuned for updates. Also, Tracee Hamilton will chat about the loss at 9:30 a.m. Join in here.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 16, 2010; 5:37 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ovechkin struggles, Caps drop playoff opener
Next: Many Caps take their option after Game 1 loss

Comments

Now it's Montreal's turn to get overconfident. Except I didn't think that was our problem.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 16, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

this team comes out tight on its biggest stages---game 7 philly, game 1 NYR, game 7 NYR and game 7 Pitt. montreal dominated the puck. too early to panic this time, but certainly a trend to watch as the playoffs continue

Posted by: fnkyniedls | April 16, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

1. Hot goaltender

2. Ovie simply didn't show up

3. Bonehead penalties

4. Overall not playing their game, just looked like they were gripping their sticks a little too tight.

They will wake up, I predict game two will be a blow out, wake the sleeping giant!

Posted by: PhilR | April 16, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

As upsetting as it was, it is a bit early to panic. It's not like they destroyed us or naything, and Halak made some great saves.

A little worried though that Ovie did not show up to that game...so unlike him. Hopefully he will have a huge game on saturday in response.

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

These OT and close 3rd period games can go either way.

In 2008 the Caps beat Philly in game one 5-4 only to lose game 2...but beat Pittsburgh last year in game 1 and 2 (same type of games without Halak)

That makes them 2-2 in series openers over 3 seasons.

Here is the difference: Halak saved 95% off shots - if the Caps get it to 3-1 in the third we are happy but he stoned them.

That will be tough to do against this squad in consecutive games and over 2 weeks.

Oh and EVERY team is nervous in game one.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 16, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Whoever wins game 2 will win this series. The Caps better wake up.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 16, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

We know our top players can play well. We've never leaned on one or another player to win games.

Some good news is that several role players played well. Belanger, Corvo, Gordon, Bradley, Chimera, Carlson all had good games from what I saw. Did you see that Belanger was 18-3 on faceoffs? (All our regulars were good on FO's with Flash being the worst at 5-5).

Though we dominated the first we did not have a lot of quality chances. the Habs PK was extraordinarily agressive and they played us tight all game.

Saturday should be interesting. There will be line changes, though its sort of a shame because the 4th line looked good last night and any change is going to upset that.

Posted by: Justafan | April 16, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Brendan Morrison and Scott Walker should be playing.....Eric Belanger should not be. Belanger was guilty of mistakes clearing the puck from the D zone and rarely came out of scrums with the puck.

If Knuble would go near the net a little more and BMo would also be in there doing his job then Halak would not see as many of the shots. Guess Walker and Morrison will be rested enough for game 2.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 16, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Lets just hope the pressure is lifted a bit off Green, Semin and Ovie..time for our boys to light it up.

Saturday will be loud...we got this...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 16, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

For this series, I wish the Caps did not have home ice advantage. Nothing brings out the best in OV like playing in Montreal. It seems like the Caps thrive in unfriendly environments as opposed to VC. They need some desperation or something. 1 or 2 losses in a best of 7 series should do it.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 16, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Caps had a good first period, but then they looked like they hadn't any wheels left for the rest of the game. A lot of standing around, horrible passing straight to the Habs players at center ice, and bad clearing attempts. The Habs played a similar game as the Penguins played against the Caps last year. Typical Caps first game effort in the playoffs to be honest. They do it every year and find themselves fighting down to the last game....

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | April 16, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Brendan Morrison and Scott Walker should be playing.....Eric Belanger should not be. Belanger was guilty of mistakes clearing the puck from the D zone and rarely came out of scrums with the puck.

If Knuble would go near the net a little more and BMo would also be in there doing his job then Halak would not see as many of the shots. Guess Walker and Morrison will be rested enough for game 2.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 16, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

You may be right about the scrums, but otherwise I disagree entirely on Belanger. He had one of his best performances as a Cap, was very strong with the puck and created good chances

Posted by: Justafan | April 16, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Lots of Stanley Cup winners have struggled in the opening round..and then settled down as they got used to the playoff pace.

Really it will be hard for Montreal to avoid mistakes - well they didn't last night - and the size mismatch alone should be worth a couple of games.

Lets see if someone gets a two goal lead what happens. Different game?

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 16, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

hard to win in the playoffs when your best player doesn't even get a shot on goal in 73 minutes, stands there and watch Gionta skate right by him and set up the tying goal in the third period.

but if they win the next two, they will be fine

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

also if Ovi has another terrible game on saturday night, you have to wonder if he's alright physically.

if he isn't, you have to question BB on his decision to let him play those meaningless games last week.

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Ovie CHOKES in BIG game.

1. 2008 1st Rd.Game 7 vs. Flyers. Late in 3rd (tied game), Ovie passes up a shot from the top of the circle and instead he elected for a slap pass to Fed, which he did not connect.
2. 2009 1st Rd. Game 7 vs. Rags, NONE factor!
3. 2009 2nd Rd. Game 7 vs. Pens, he was stoned by Fluery on a break away early first game.
4. 2010 Olympics, shootout vs. Czech Republic.
5. 2010 Olympics vs. Canada, NONE Factor.
6. 2010 1st rd. Game 1 vs. MTL. NONE FACTOR.

Ovie is NOT a big game player. He only dominates lesser opponents, TB, ATL, he can't even dominate the Canes.

Posted by: 555Mass | April 16, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It's time to take advantage of the size discrepancy, this is silly. "Hit the hell out of them" better be part of the strategy for Sat.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

This was the classic 1 vs. 8 match up in the first game. The Caps, as President's Trophy winners, have the weight of the city (and the hockey world) on their shoulders playing at home and expected to not only win the series but the cup.

The Habs have no expectations and playing away where they are expected to lose with very little pressure on them. The two mentalities became more and more evident as the game wore on, especially in overtime. While the caps looked almost scared to lose the game, the Habs played to try to steal a game and were alot more loose. Hey, if the Habs lost, no big deal, they were supposed to lose.

The Habs just had to withstand the initial onslaught in the first and then just play their game, feeding on the lack of energy from the caps which gave them the belief that they could win the game.

The Caps, as hard as it might seem, can't be overthinking the moment. Just go out and play the way everyone knows they can play.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

It was one game people! Lets not throw them under the bus yet...this team is feeling ENORMOUS pressure...even compared to the other teams. I am dissapointed but not surprised that they played a bit scared the first game. Had out top line shown up we would have won. They can not contain for a whole series...we will work it out.

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The Olympic Break killed Ovie...and then when Russia choked, Ovie packed it in.

Seriously, all he could talk about this year was playing in the Olympics and stirring up controversy about playing in the Russia Olympics in 2014.

Well you know what Ovie, that's great, but when you can make MILLIONS of dollars and live the good life/lifestyle in Russia, shut the "F" up and think about the Caps (when it comes to hockey) FIRST!

Aside from that...Green has been very good at Defense down the stretch, but I see he's back to the pre-olympic green of not knowing where the DZONE is.

Also, this series is far from over. No matter what happens in Game 2.

Guys will get refocused and they will take care of business!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 16, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I also disagree with some of the comments on Belanger above. He won 18 of 21 faceoffs last night. I can't win 18 of 21 faceoffs against my 18-month old daughter. His line generated 12 shots on goal, produced a goal, and did not give up a goal.

Another interesting stat: Carlson had 5 giveaways last night. However, to be honest, I can't remember any of them so they must not have been too egregious.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 16, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

And I agree, OVIE is not a big game player (yet). He has this playoffs to prove it.

Bottom line, Euros and Russians can't play under pressure. North American hockey players are head and shoulders better in pressure situations...

Why do you think only 2 EURO goalies have won the cup?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 16, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's not time to panic, but if you've followed the Caps in the playoffs the last 30 years...it is time to make an extra run to the liquor store.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | April 16, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

People forget Ovie's head to head hat tricks vs Crosby last year.

He is a big game player....He just needs to learn how to change his game a bit when it's not clicking.

One time last night Semin curled and pulled up and he had plenty of time. That tape needs to be shown and you need to know when to attack, and whne to curl up and let the chasers get in on the rush.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 16, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Someone in Gene's Post game chat actually asked "If this team gets swept, should we fire Boudreau?"

Are we really at the point where people are fearing a sweep and planning on firing the coach? Holy crap.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The two changes I would make for Saturday: swap Morrison in for Fleischmann (-1, only 1 shot, and was literally invisible) and Walker in for Gordon. With Belanger and Stekel winning 29 of 37 faceoffs, I don't think we need a center playing wing on the 4th line (Gordon). I would love to see what Walker brings in the playoffs.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 16, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I think the most egregious error in last night's game came courtesy of Tom Poti's penalty kill, or lack thereof. The puck is on his stick, against a highly-touted Montreal power play, let's not limp-wrist it to the blue line, okay? SMASH that puck out of the zone and do it quickly. Same thing happened in the Pittsburgh game where he coughed it up with a bad decision, leading to a scoring opportunity. WEAK!!!

Posted by: sandyflee | April 16, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

good point KC!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 16, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

BMo plays center, Flash back to wing, sit Fehr, Walker plays. Other than his goal, Corvo is a liability. He looks like the old Mike Green, who by the way, had a solid game DEFENSIVELY. I am tempted to say that BB play Lumberjack. At least he hit someone.

Posted by: doughless | April 16, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Dear bandwagon Caps fan,

Hockey players are very superstitious especially in playoffs. If you were at the game last night, do not go again just yet!
If you rocked the red - rock a different red shirt or pair of underwear.

Die hard Caps fans - you will know how to make the right decision!

Posted by: CapGirl_28 | April 16, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@dougless

Agree on putting BMo back to center and Flash back to wing. However, I would then drop Chimera to the 4th line and sit Gordon. Not because Gordon played poorly or anything, but I just think this gives the overall best lineup and makes the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines better scoring threats.

Corvo played good last night. Most of his passes clearing the zone were accurate and on the tape. He also used his speed well in clearing the zone. Yes he had a mistake or two, but every player on every team makes a mistake or two during the game.

Poti was the only D-man who played bad last night. That clearing mistake was horrible but Poti looked nervous and was making inaccurate passes the entire game.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 16, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

nothing "stunning" about last night's loss. As Boudreau said it himself, we got a lot of shots but not a lot of quality scoring chances. And our "top" players (i.e. Semin, Ovechkin) simply didn't play well. And thats the difference between winning and losing. Your role players can only do so much. And role players played well for the most part although frankly guys like Belanger and Flash need to step up their game. They played like it was a reg season game. I didn't see any uptick in intensity from a few of our players.

Where's JoeK and his "no one can outscore this team" garbage. lol, playoffs are a different animal. Hopefully this kickstarts our top players into bringing a better work ethic to the table.


"Our best players weren't our best players tonight and their best players were," Boudreau said. "Our role players were really good."

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I agree with you that the playoffs are a different animal. With that in mind, I would suggest putting in Walker on that 4th line in place of Gordon and putting in Morrison in for Fleischmann. Fleischmann's game is ill-suited for playoff hockey. He is fairly small in stature and plays small. The Walkers, Chimeras, and Bradleys of the world are well-suited for playoff-style hockey. In fact, the rough-and-tumble Ovechkin that we have known in the past is also well-suited for playoff hockey. However, he needs to play that style. I thought Belanger was very good last night, especially in the circle. He is the right guy for the 3rd line center position.

I know I am probably in the minority on this last point, but Erskine is designed for playoff style hockey. Until last night, I thought that he should be in the lineup for Corvo. However, after witnessing last night's performances, Erskine would be a better replacement for Poti than Corvo.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 16, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Give credit where credit is due.

Montreal played a good neutral zone game, and their pressure in the defense end was excellent. I'm not sure Gomez ended up on the stat sheet, but he played a heck of a game.

The Caps simply failed to adjust. They continued to attempt longer passes than Montreal's pressure would allow, and they didn't chip the puck in deep (same mistake they made against Pittsburgh in the playoffs last year).

The Caps looked good on the forecheck, but that's about it.

It's on Boudreau now.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 16, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I thought Belanger played very well last night. Flash, not so much. Allan Muir from si.com said Belanger stood out as one of the Caps best players last night.

With the exception of game 6 against the Pens last year, why does it seem the Caps lose every OT they go into? I always thought it was due to lack of offense in the 90's, but now the Caps have tons of offense and still can't score in OT.

I read that the Caps haven't won a home OT playoff game since Todd Krygier scored in '98 against the Sabres. That is 6 consecutive losses. I really cannot pinpoint a logical reason for it, just that the Caps seem to be cursed in OT.

Maybe they should pull the goalie in the last minute of a tied game. (That is a joke people, so please don't respond to the last line seriously)

Posted by: sgm3 | April 16, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

OK, I have been reading crap throughout the morning. I have to respond to this BS post.
------------------------------------

Ovie CHOKES in BIG game.

1. 2008 1st Rd.Game 7 vs. Flyers. Late in 3rd (tied game), Ovie passes up a shot from the top of the circle and instead he elected for a slap pass to Fed, which he did not connect.
2. 2009 1st Rd. Game 7 vs. Rags, NONE factor!
3. 2009 2nd Rd. Game 7 vs. Pens, he was stoned by Fluery on a break away early first game.
4. 2010 Olympics, shootout vs. Czech Republic.
5. 2010 Olympics vs. Canada, NONE Factor.
6. 2010 1st rd. Game 1 vs. MTL. NONE FACTOR.

Ovie is NOT a big game player. He only dominates lesser opponents, TB, ATL, he can't even dominate the Canes.

Posted by: 555Mass | April 16, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

---------------------

1. In game 7 against the Flyers 555Mass chose to leave out that Ovi scored the tying goal in the 2nd period. He also failed to mention that in game 1 of that series Ovi stole the game. Literally a one man forecheck and buried the winning goal.

2. 2009 1st Rd. Game 7 vs. Rags, NONE factor! Buzzzz, wrong, he assisted on 2 of the 3 Capitals goals that game.

3. 2009 2nd Rd. Game 7 vs. Pens, he was stoned by Fluery on a break away early first game. Yup, he didn't have a great game, but the air went out of the sails early on a couple of soft goals. Ovi did score 1 of the 2 goals. Decided to leave out the fact that he had a PPG in Game 1 of the series, and a hat trick in game 2.

4. 2010 Olympics, shootout vs. Czech Republic. If you are going to call Ovi a choker at least have your facts straight. Russia beat the Czech Republic in regulation with Ovi having the unbelievable open ice hit on Jagr. They lost to Slovakia in a shootout. Olympic format allows a shooter to go more than once. Ovi did score on 1 of the chances.

5. 2010 Olympics vs. Canada, NONE Factor. Ovechkin played fine, the KHLers were dominated.

6. 2010 1st rd. Game 1 vs. MTL. NONE FACTOR. He did have a rough one yesterday.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 16, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

@coveredwithhisdust

I would be very scared to have Erskine out there against the speed of Montreal. Montreal doesn't really dump and chase too much so Erskine's great attribute (his size) wouldn't be as useful. The Habs are pretty much the worst matchup for someone of Erskine's skills.

I know they won't but I was hoping they would call up Alzner and put him in for Poti. But every one can have a bad game, Poti should be on a short leash and he either plays better tomorrow or he gets removed from the lineup.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 16, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

It's time to take advantage of the size discrepancy, this is silly. "Hit the hell out of them" better be part of the strategy for Sat.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse


I saw Semin skate away from finishing at least half a dozen checks last night. He had no interest in getting involved, just tried to cherry pick the entire game. Poti of course with his usual turnovers but the one thing he does do well is he does box out players in the crease. If Bruce wants to send a msg, he needs to healthy-scratch one of his players who doesn't ordinarily get scratched. One of his skill guys who decided that yesterday's game was a walk in the park.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

and Backstrom played well, and hard. No problem with his penalty. Its nice to see one of our skill guys show a bit of grit in his game and he went into the corners, crashed the net, he played hard. I'd rather see a skill guy get involved like that all game and maybe take a questionable penalty than skate shift after shift accomplishing nothing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The only problem with accepting Backstrom's penalty in the offensive zone is the Habs scored on that PP. IMO Backstrom played well considering he was questionable 2 days prior, but still doesn't take away the fact that he took an unnecessary penalty. I was at the game so I did not see what lead to Backstrom cross-checking Spacek because the puck was out at the blue-line when I saw Spacek take a fact plant. I know that Backstrom had just handed Spacek his @$$ which lead to the Caps retaining possession in the zone. What I didn't see is what Spacek did after he got up and passed by Backstrom for Backstrom to cross-check him. Did Spacek hack him on the way by? Really would like to know because we never see as many replays at the game.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 16, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

and Backstrom played well, and hard. No problem with his penalty.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2010 10:06 AM

He did play well but I have a huge problem with his penalty. He already gave a shoulder/elbow and knocked Spacek (can't remember who the defenseman was) on his a$$, why cross-check him right after, away from the play no less?

That is the definition of a stupid penalty. Especially when you KNOW the Habs have a definitive advantage on the PP.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 16, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I say we look at the bright side of this game...we were very tentative yet still only lost by one...our top line was nowhere near our best line and I truly believe they will step it up next game, Our D was pretty good, Our PP was awful and lets face it...we WILL fix that in practice today, and it is one ONE GAME!!!!

And to Soaring Caps Fan...stop acting like you know what Ovie's motivations are. He had a bad game...he will bounce back. And I would guess(b/c I am not a mind reader) that his slight slump is more due to the suspension than olympics. He doesn't need his fans throwing him under the bus when the NHL is already doing it. And stop complaining...this is Ovie not playing well yet he still kicks virtually every other players ass! One bad game...let it go and stop being such a fair weather fan!

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Thanks for your comments. I agree that speed is not Erskine's best asset. They time him with Carbon-14. However, last year against the Rangers in the playoffs he dealt very well with the speed of Callahan, Gomez (the same Gomez on MTL), Dubinsky, and Zherdev. Speed can be neutralized by playing smart. And despite the bruising, fighting lumberjack stereotype, Erskine plays a smart game.

When I say "smart," I mean that Eerskine knows his limitations and plays within them. He ALWAYS makes the safe play. He doesn't try to make plays that are not in his skill set. He clears the zone, uses the glass well, pins opposing forwards up against the boards and neutralizes them. Hands down, he clears the crease better than any other Caps D-man.

On the penalty kill, he will always ice the puck. He rarely, if ever, looks to transition to offense. In my opinion, Poti is constantly trying to transition on the PK. He wants to make the pretty pass or put the puck into space where his forwards can chase it down. I think that's what happened last night. He elected not to ice the puck and tried to make a pretty play around the attacking forward. Obviously, he failed ...

I think what I am getting at is Erskine plays safe playoff style hockey. The game is much tighter, closer checking, and is founded upon team defense first. Clearing one's zone is more important than the two-line, breakaway pass to the streaking forward. My contention is that Erskine does this well and thus merits him being in the line-up.

My two cents. Thanks ...

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 16, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Ovie is NOT a big game player. He only dominates lesser opponents, TB, ATL, he can't even dominate the Canes.

Posted by: 555Mass

I'd agree that he had a bad game, maybe the worst I have ever seen him play. He was getting out-muscled which you almost never see. But come one he only dominates teams like TB and ATL? Here is this years breakdown Vs East playoff teams.

NJ: 2GP 1G 5A = 6Pts
BUF: 4GP 2G 2A = 4Pts
PIT: 4GP 7G 3A = 10Pts
OTT: 4GP 1G 5A = 6Pts
PHI: 3GP 5G 2A = 7Pts
BOS: 4GP 3G 3A = 6Pts
MON: 4GP 1G 3A = 4Pts

25GP 20g 23A = 43Pts 1.72PPG

Now I realize this maybe a crazy statement according to your assessment but, 43pts and 1.72PPG vs those teams just might be dominating.


Posted by: jdove80 | April 16, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

1) To all newbie Cap fans, welcome to the joy of Caps post season fun! You thought last night was tough to swallow? You ain't seen nothin' yet!!

2) Main reason we lost? BB was totally out coached. The Habs had a game plan and executed it perfectly (as Theo pointed out). If BB had a plan, and I am not sure he did, it sure as heck did not work very well. BB blames the players ("so and so wasn't very good last night) but its HIS job to get them ready, especially MENTALLY. BB failed, and so far - as his 10 - 12 NHL playoff record indicates - he is a very poor post season coach.

Posted by: hockeypuck2 | April 16, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

It was one game people! Lets not throw them under the bus yet...this team is feeling ENORMOUS pressure...even compared to the other teams. I am dissapointed but not surprised that they played a bit scared the first game. Had out top line shown up we would have won. They can not contain for a whole series...we will work it out.

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Great post, capscoach. I needed that little kick, and I have been thinking that it will be very hard for Montreal to keep up that kind of play consistently enough to beat us 3 more times.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | April 16, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Habs had a bad first period but after that they played about as good as they are capable of playing. The Caps obviously did not. They just need to bring their top game (especially the star players) and they should be able to win.

Posted by: jdove80 | April 16, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

This cannot be overstated. I'm not saying that Boudreau is a bad coach, or even that he's worse than Martin.

But he lost the coaching matchup last night.

-----

2) Main reason we lost? BB was totally out coached.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 16, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Never looked at it that way, but you are probably right...BB who I dearly love...was outcoached...but don't expect him to make the same mistakes twice!

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Another interesting stat: Carlson had 5 giveaways last night. However, to be honest, I can't remember any of them so they must not have been too egregious.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 16, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I saw several of them and they were bad. Most of the giveaways were on long breakout passes trying to clear the zone. This was a team-wide problem in the latter half of the game.

What really bothered me is how the Caps played after they got the lead. Basically what happened repeatedly is that a Caps player would gain control of the puck along the side boards, and instead of making the safe play of dumping the puck out of the defensive zone, they try a risky cross-ice breakout pass that gets fumbled or picked-off by Montreal. If they don't learn how to tighten things up a bit and make smart, safe plays when they have a lead, then they aren't going to go far in the playoffs.

Posted by: cainoo7x | April 16, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Would like to see Walker play tomorrow.

Can we get a link to the game highlights on here? We used to get them on the morning reading list. We'll bounce back in game two.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 16, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

the Caps had a lot of shots but only few of them were high quality shots, after the first period they got outplayed by the Habs.

the Caps played worse as the game went on and the Canadiens got better... to me that's coaches making in-game adjustments and players executing them.

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1

I agree with you that the playoffs are a different animal. With that in mind, I would suggest putting in Walker on that 4th line in place of Gordon and putting in Morrison in for Fleischmann. Fleischmann's game is ill-suited for playoff hockey. He is fairly small in stature and plays small. The Walkers, Chimeras, and Bradleys of the world are well-suited for playoff-style hockey. In fact, the rough-and-tumble Ovechkin that we have known in the past is also well-suited for playoff hockey. However, he needs to play that style. I thought Belanger was very good last night, especially in the circle. He is the right guy for the 3rd line center position.


Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 16, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree 100 percent. Anyone suggesting that Belanger had a bad game or that the third line should be broken up did not watch the game last night. They were the best line last night.

And to go along with your other point, the experiment with Flash at center needs to stop now. There's a reason the second line was non-existant last night. I would be perfectly fine scratching Flash as he was invisible. I think I was most angry with him in the third period when he receives a pass in the slot with some space and he doesn't even get a shot off.

B-Mo needs to center the second line and I agree that Scott Walker should be in the lineup instead of Gordon.

I'm not too worried yet. Theo played great, the Caps got nothing from the top line for the second half of the game, and nothing from the second line the whole game. The power play was buzzing but didn't connect, and Backstrom hit a post. If the Caps play their best lines and maintain their focus and intensity throughout the game, I don't think Montreal can beat them.

Posted by: cainoo7x | April 16, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Wondering.... Did OV get hurt when he was hit into the open door at Montreal's bench in the 1st period? It looked painful in person...not sure if they touched on it on TV.

Posted by: joe47 | April 16, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Time to put Walker in the lineup. I guess Bruce was trying to go for offence with the top 3 lines and playing it safe for faceoffs with both Gordon and Steckel on the 4th. Even though Bradley has been pretty good Walker should be in there somewhere. I'd keep Gordon and Steckel for faceoffs so Brads might be the odd-man out.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 16, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I still like the lines of

8/19/22
21/9/28
14/18/16
25/39/10

I think that is the best overall lineup and I like Flash playing as a 3rd line winger. He plays well with Fehr and with less pressure on him. As a 3rd line winger he can do that.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 16, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Halak played great in 1st. He was barely tested from 2nd-OT.

If we play a similar game I expect Halak to stop MORE than 95% of the shots. Halak made 45 routine saves last night.

Posted by: CapsandRavens | April 16, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Brads played fine. Actually, Stecks looked the weakest on the 4th line. he even had a pedestrian night in the face-off circle. Bleanger was AWESOME in the circle. Backie had an awesome game. WHERE IS OVIE??

Posted by: doughless | April 16, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

BMo needs to get back in the lineup and Gordon needs to sit... experience does count and nobody on this team has played in more playoff games than BMo.

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Here's my spin -

Despite the fact that the Caps were way, way off their game last night and Montreal was at the pinnacle of theirs, the Habs only just *barely* managed to win.

As long as the Caps can wake the f@#k up come Saturday, and they do have a historyu of playing well when they're down, we'll be just fine.

Posted by: ModestProposal | April 16, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

What happened to putting more traffic in front of the net?

Once again, this team has no concept of PLAYOFF hockey.

Caps play "cute & pretty" Euro style hockey.

By the time, they figure out how to play "ugly" Playoff hockey, might be too late..

Posted by: 555Mass | April 16, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

If Steckel can't dominate the circle, he needs to be on the bench. That's why he's in there in the first place.

Totally agree about the opinion that Flash's game isn't as well suited for the playoffs.

We need to stay physical and just make smarter plays with the puck, particularly curtailing these long passes across the neutral zone. And OV needs to bring it. For all the hype about his "0" shots, he really did take quite a few shots - but they missed the net. Some blistering shots as well - he just needs to settle down. Would also be good to see him hit someone.

Posted by: joe47 | April 16, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

In the post-game show, Al Koken tried to raise the issue of Ovi's weak play, but Craig Laughlin immediately covered up for Ovi. In his press conference, BB said flat out that Ovi played poorly, and his disappointment was obvious. On the NHL Network this morning, there was a lot of discussion about Ovi's disappearing act and Gary Green made a great point - if Ovi was hurt or sick, BB would have defended him in the post game press conference. I agree - we can rule out injury or sickness.

It is a major concern for the future that Ovi was not really putting much effort into the game last night. For the supposed "best player in the world" who is the Captain of this team, that is inexplicable. Players, even great ones, can have bad games, but the lack of effort in the Stanley Cup opener is difficult to accept.

Besides that, if the Caps are not going to really punish the Habs' quick little forwards, this series is going to have an unhappy ending for the Caps. To let one of their little guys trash talk Theo and then score the winning goal should be totally humiliating to all the Caps players.

Posted by: zmega | April 16, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@ModestProposal

totally agreed! The Caps are 100% capable of beating this team. It think they were just a bit too nervous yesterday.

@555Mass

I was getting really frustrated at the lack of prescence in front of the net...Halak gave up quite a few juicy rebounds, but no one was there. The Caps would take one decent shot and then no one was there to put up a 2nd or 3rd. The good news is thats easy enough to rectify!

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I hope Theo is ok! He played well and I was really angry the Caps let him down in the end...esp. by letting Plekanec score!

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Move Flash to LW 3rd line, put Morrison 2nd line Center between Laich/Semin. Flash is not centerman.. Move out Gordon or put him at center in place of Steckel, and Chimera on the 4th line and pk. His speed and size are a big asset. Never liked Flash at center. They ALL need to back check more...What a terrible time to go on a line change, you have to wait until the puck is in the Montreal zone...Just dumb.

Posted by: topshelf | April 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Seems everyone agrees that Flash is not used well centering the second line. Given other considerations I agree he could sit.

Someone said Corvo stunk and I could not disagree more. In my opinion the players who stepped up their games last night were Corvo, Belanger, Chimera, Bradley, and Gordon.

Posted by: Justafan | April 16, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Move Flash to LW 3rd line, put Morrison 2nd line Center between Laich/Semin. Flash is not centerman.. Move out Gordon or put him at center in place of Steckel, and Chimera on the 4th line and pk. His speed and size are a big asset. Never liked Flash at center. They ALL need to back check more...What a terrible time to go on a line change, you have to wait until the puck is in the Montreal zone...Just dumb.

Posted by: topshelf | April 16, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

think Theo knows his name by now? I bet he knows how to spell it too

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

heres my 2cts. am i mad, hell yes cause my team lost! im not going to critique the players cause im not that good or i would be in the NHL, nor am i Coach worthy.but i do have one request, I love Ovi as our captain and the teams record since he has been named captain,but for whatever reason he hasnt been the same Ovi, and what i mean about that is his WFO style of play, his goal celebrations(jumping into the boards,, the fist bumping with Semin on the bench before the game starts and fun he was having playing the game)i know he gets exited when they score but just doesnt seem the same, all im im tryin to say is just cause yor Captain doesnt mean you cant be the same old Ovi who laughs on camera and says funny things, dont get caught up in that politicaly crap horse-$**t and i have to be mature and that blah blah blah stuff of wearing the C,you can be both, we all fell in love with the fun and let it all hang out Ovi, i think if he can get back to that good things will happen with the teams game and his especially real fast. JUST BE YOURSELF! your ALEX OVECHKIN "the greatest show on earth" and have some GOT-DAMN FUN!!! LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: bigBinMd | April 16, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

there was traffic in front of the net in stretches. Brooksie and Fehr didn't do their parts. Noobs, of course, was there.

Posted by: doughless | April 16, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@Justafan

I agree.

Overall, Theo played great, the bottom two lines played well, and the D played solid (with the exception of Poti). The top two lines played horribly. Backstrom was the only one of the top 6 who played well. Laich played decently. Knuble was below average and the other three were terrible.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 16, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is saying how Backie played fin unlike everyone else on the top 2 lines, but besides his goal, I thought he was pretty useless last night...I thought our 3rd and 4th liners outplayed every one of our top 2 lines.

Posted by: capscoach | April 16, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Very light practice today at KCI. No Alex, Alex, Nick, Theo. I only count 15 players, including five who didn't play last night.
11 minutes ago via TweetDeck"

they played so well last night that they don't need to practice?

practice?? we're not talkin' about real games, we're talking about P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E!!!... the immortal words of one Allen Iverson.

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

My observations:

1. Caps were all over them in first period and needed to score some more goals. Credit somewhat to Halak, but the Caps needed to get in front of him and screen/bother him etc.

2. Once the Habs survived the first, they gained some confidence and started taking the game to the Caps - not a coaching adjustment.

3. While Caps have a size advantage, they don't really use it to their advantage. Our defense are for the most part - tall / talented and that's about it. None of them are rough/in your face / punish you in corners or around the net type d-men.

Yes I saw Chimera and Fehr and others use their size to their advantage at times in the offensive zone, but not enough to show how we would dominate them down low.

4. When OV is held without a shot through most of the game, you are being out-coached. There's enough talent on this team to make the Habs pay for keying on OV or getting him some room by using a system or strategy with your weapons to make it work.

5. Goaltending - Halak played well, and so did Theodore. End of story.

I was suprised Morrisson didn't play and Walker. Walker is the guy to stir the pot and he really shows his value in the play-offs. Morrisson was the second line center all year and now he's out??? Doesn't make sense to me.

Hope Game 2 is Caps victory!

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 16, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"i know he gets exited when they score but just doesnt seem the same, all im im tryin to say is just cause yor Captain doesnt mean you cant be the same old Ovi"
Posted by bigBinMd
----------------------------
Ovie's style didn't change when he was named Captain. It changed after the suspension, when all the pundits were calling him a dirty player and a goon.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@bigbinMD, I totally agree that it has seemed Ovi has lacked joy during the second half of the season. Everything about him seems more subdued--the goal celebrations, the hits, everything. I think it would be great if he could regain some of the fun/looseness (for lack of better term).

I don't think it's awful that the stars aren't practicing today. They played a long game last night and I think it's reasonable to decide that rest is more important right now.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

sorry, but BAckie was hitting folks left and right and made several nice drives to the net / passes that set up scoring opportunities. Noobs played fine, at least in the first. lets me honest about who didn't show: Ovie, Semin, Fehr, Brooksie, Flash.

Posted by: doughless | April 16, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

when you get a three on one break in the OT of a SC playoff game, you GOTTA bury it... especially you're the highest scoring hockey team on earth

Backs basically fumbled the puck away

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Just because those guys aren't on the ice for practice doesn't mean they aren't there. They could be in the film room watching tape of last night.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 16, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

Yeah, Backstrom should have shot it. But you have to give the defender some credit. He did a great job ofblacking the passing lanes.

The 2-on-1 with Carlson and Gordon was another example where the puck carrier should have shot it. Carlson had lots of room and a good shooting angle. He should have shot to either score or possibly lead to a rebound for Gordon.

I think the Caps are looking to pass too much on odd man breaks. I wish they would shoot more. Shooting more would then in turn open up more passing lanes later one.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

This was the Caps first meaningful game in many months, and possibly the first of the season. The 35 point cushion in their division makes them totally unfamiliar with high pressure situations. Forget those games with the Pens - those are for bragging rights and have no impact on the Caps standings. All the other playoff teams in the East have been playing pressure games recently.

The same thing happened last year. Caps have deer in headlights syndrome. BB has to figure how to get into their heads in a positive way.

Posted by: hockeypuck2 | April 16, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

I don't know if he should have shot it or passed it before he got too close to the defender but you at least have to make the goalie make a save in those situations.

mistakes are mistakes, doesn't matter if you make'em in the defensive or offensive zones. those fumbled opportunities are just as bad and costly as any giveaways in your own zone.

Posted by: joek443 | April 16, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Quick observation after being at the game last night. The Caps came out with intensity in the 1st period but Havlat and the Canadiens were able to weather the storm. It almost seemed that the Caps were in shock that they were in a 1-1 game after the 1st period. The 2nd period was a disaster with a lot of TO's in our own end and the neutral zone. Theo made a # of great saves to keep it tied going into the third and was the only bright spot.

I thought that Backstrom's goal early in the 3rd would wake up the team and they would get another goal or two quickly, but the Caps were very tentative and looked like they were simplying playing not to lose. Even after Montreal scored to tie it 2-2, it appeared the Caps were playing to get the game into OT and that Montreal was the more determined team.

I thought we'd get some momentum after killing off the bad Green penalty at the start of OT, but all of the frontline players except Knuble seemed tenative and unsure of themselves. The way that Backstrom played the 3 on 1 was a perfect example of how the team played most of the night. You take the shot to try to win the game and hope for a rebound with Knuble in front. Backstrom simply held the puck until he was behind the net and couldn't even make a pass. Hope they get things in order for Game 2.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 16, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

(you are kidding, right?) I think coaching has to improve, I noticed Caps kept failing to break out of zone, not making adjustments. This has to happen on the fly.

@wizfan

It did look as though the Caps almost expended too much energy in that first period. It's a reverse of what often happened in the reg season when opponents were very psyched to play them, then tired out.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 16, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company