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Caps take series lead in Montreal


I'm at the end of a day that began at 3 a.m., so I'm going to be brief tonight.

My game story's here and covers quite a bit of tonight's momentum stealing 5-1 romp in Montreal that put the Caps up 2-1 in the series, and here's Tracee Hamilton's column. When you're done with that, come on back for a few additional notes and quotes:

*Semyon Varlamov was outstanding in the first period, stopping all 10 shots he faced to keep the Caps in the game while simultaneously discouraging the hard-charging Habs. He's now 3-0-0 with a 1.63 goals against average and a .940 save percentage at Bell Centre.

Not only did Varly help the Caps take the lead in the series, he also made sure Coach Bruce Boudeau won't have to answer any questions about his goaltending situation for at least 48 hours.

"He's probably going to start [Wednesday] I would venture to guess," Boudreau said.

*Speaking of questions Boudreau won't have to address for a couple of days, feel free to add defense to that list. Jeff Schultz and Mike Green each finished plus-2, while Green picked up his first point of the postseason after setting up Brooks Laich's goal.

"I thought they were pretty solid tonight," Boudreau said.

*The NHL real time stats show that defenseman Shaone Morrisonn didn't take a shift in the third period.

I'm checking with the team for an update.

*Verizon Center is so loud that I often cover my ears for the unleash the fury video. Tonight, I experienced something I've never seen or heard before (and mind you, I've been in the Shark Tank for a big game and I've taken in my share of playoff games at Joe Louis, Mellon and MSG). My ears are still ringing from the pregame and first-period cheering, the jeering during the U.S. National anthem and taunting of Jose Theodore.

"That was crazy," Eric Fehr said. "I couldn't believe when [Jose Theodore] went in net in warmup and they began chanting, 'Tay-oh'. That was crazy. But we were able to quiet them down in the second period, which helped us for sure."

*Boudreau once again produced the quote of the night. When asked about his power play which, in order, has gone 0-5, 0-2, 0-4, 0-3 and 0-7 the past five games, he shook his head and said, "We suck."

Tonight, they mustered five shots in 11:29 of power play time. Ovechkin played the point. He played on the wall. He played in front of the net. None of it worked.

That's it from me tonight. Practice tomorrow is at 11:30 at Centre Bell.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2010; 11:57 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps get a regulation-size blowout

Comments

Bon Noir mon ami!

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 20, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

So one good period and a W and all of the sudden everything is all flowers and rainbows. Well first of all, Green sucked tonight. I know everyone doesn't care though because we won so obviously nothing else matters /sarcasm. He made a number of failed clears and just overall crappy passing. Second of all, Varly had to play amazing in the first period. If he just lets in one of those shots we probably lose this game. And the third period was exactly not how to play a lead. They started getting all fancy with the cross ice passes and the one and done rushes instead of just dumping it in and forechecking down low. This is a 7 game series, so don't think that one good period means were all of the sudden unstoppable.

Posted by: zackattack4492 | April 20, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Dang... hope ShaMo is ok. He's been great for the last couple months.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 20, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Fehr, he screened a goalie! He finally figured out that his big body is perfect for that sort of grit work!

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2010 12:09 AM

That was an awesome screen by Fehr for sure. Good thing the Canadiens didn't feel like even trying to move him out of the way. Their goalie was probably annoyed about that goal I bet.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 20, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Zack, did you watch either of the last two games? Caps have been dominant for 4 straight periods now, so the optimism is totally warranted. As for the 3rd - they were up 4-1 and were not giving up good chances, so they weren't trying to run the score up. Stop whining about nothing.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 20, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

zackattack - what the hell game were you watching? mike green played terrible? you could say that for games 1 and 2, but not tonight. As for Varly having to make saves in the first to keep us in the game...uh, yea that's what a goalie needs to do on the road...especially in an environment like Montreal. Some Caps fans are way too damn negative. they just won 5-1 and you are in here spouting non-sense. Enjoy the win dude!

Posted by: coooooooooley | April 20, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Oh ye of little faith.

I mean, sheesh...

Posted by: Justafan | April 20, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Just because we paid dearly for Corvo doesn't mean we have to play him. I kind of feel like we're like that bad poker player, who has bet a lot on one hand, and now that it's almost showdown time, he realizes that it's the losing hand, but doesn't want to fold just because of how much of his money is in the pot.

I bet 99 out of 100 people actually watching every Capitals game would predict that there is no way Corvo gets re-signed for next season. I say just let him go right now and, besides, Erskine is the closest thing to an enforcer we have, and if there is ever a good time to have an enforcer, it's the playoffs.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 20, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Pat Sajak's at the game in LA and he's not wearing his Caps sweater? C'mon home Pat.

Posted by: Justafan | April 20, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Green had a few bad plays, but every defender will when playing that many minutes. Overall, he played a much, much better game tonight. Him and Schultz.


When our defenders get in the forwards face and eliminate any space they have, they can't score. Tonight they did a consistent job of stepping up on the rushing forward, eliminating any space they may have had. Poti stood up a Hab at the blue line on more than one occasion, as did Carlson and ShaMo to my knowledge. I saw Schultz hit someone, which was very surprising.

I think this is the #1 problem with our defense...defending the forwards on the initial rush. Tonight the Caps showed us what happens when they eliminate that space. Granted, it took a while, as Varlamov had to come up huge in the 1st, but when they started to roll they started to roll.

As for the comment about how they didn't play a good lead game, that's beyond ridiculous considering the only goal the Habs scored was on a Powerplay, after Varlamov made a huge double-stacked pads on the initial shot.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Corvo has not been great on the PP, but he's had a good series so far. He's elevated his play since the reg. season.

Posted by: Justafan | April 20, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I have faith that Green can get it going. I think he's probably been a little dinged up recently--I have been a little scared about a few shots he's taken lately and even though they haven't caused him to actually sit, I think he's less than 100%. I think that was probably the case at some point in the playoffs last year too. And I think he's giving it his all, really. I wish it was OK for them to talk about injuries that they're trying to play through. I think Ovechkin is hurting too. I think he hurt his leg in game #82.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 20, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

peu de foi!!!!
grand jeu Varly

Posted by: dugza | April 20, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Kings up 5-3 right now...about 4 1/2 minutes left.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Justafan, I will watch more closely. A lot of folks seem to be complaining about Corvo, and maybe I'm unduly influenced. He is +1 so far in the playoffs, which is not yet something Schultz can say, and which I like better than the -4 or whatever he was for the Caps during the season.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 20, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Justafan, I will watch more closely. A lot of folks seem to be complaining about Corvo, and maybe I'm unduly influenced. He is +1 so far in the playoffs, which is not yet something Schultz can say, and which I like better than the -4 or whatever he was for the Caps during the season.

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 20, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Theodore is gonna be picking splinters out of his ass for the rest of the year...Varlamov is going to win the conn smythe.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | April 20, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

youaresquishy, Green hurt his ribs before the playoffs last year, which is why he couldn't get a decent shot off. Him and Ovie might be hurt, it's hard to tell - but with Ovie, Montreal is focusing their defense on stopping him from getting shots.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 20, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

@zackattack: Sorry to hear about your hemmoroids, man. Must have distracted you from watching the game last night. The Caps team that showed up and played in Montreal is the one we all know and love the best. They were tight. They were much, much better on their passes, especially Mike Green, by the way.

Now, go ice off those roids and get ready to WATCH on Wednesday.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 20, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

@zackattack:

You are officer material.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 20, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that fans are going to complain about the effort. The entire defensive group had a strong game, including Green and Schultz. They will always have the bar higher than any other pair. Green gets criticized for thinking offense first and plays a solid defensive game and fans want to complain about his production. He can't win with some of you. The Caps played a PERFECT 3rd period. Dealt with a some bogus penalty calls and still outshot Montreal 15-9. Not sure what some of you want. This was the biggest blowout of the playoffs thus far. The only other games to be decided by more than 2 goals was when Detroit won 7-4 and the last goal was an empty-netter.

Montreal will come back even harder next game. The Caps may even need OT to get the next game. Varly will be under more pressure than he was today for the 1st 10 minutes. If the boys can survive that with as few as 1 goal against they should be set. The sooner they can the crowd out of the game the better. Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 20, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Great game last night. I am dismay that the Canadians did not show respect for our National Anthem. Getting on Theo and Ovi is part of the game, but that display during our National Anthem crossed the line.

Posted by: adhardwick | April 20, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Great game last night. I am dismayed that the Canadians did not show respect for our National Anthem. Getting on Theo and Ovi is part of the game, but that display during our National Anthem crossed the line.

Posted by: adhardwick | April 20, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Postgame thoughts:


--The Habs' fan base showed an ugly side of Canada that--before the Olympics--I had not known existed. This, by actually booing the US National Anthem. Those who have read my previous posts on the subject may know: While I sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" proudly, I also believe that "O Canada" serves that purpose better--if only by virtue of the fact that it was written as such from the beginning, rather than being a British drinking song with new lyrics.

That said, It was a no-class move on the part of the Bell Centre crowd and a disgrace to what is arguably the NHL's most storied franchise.

I propose that, when the series returns to Washington, we show OUR class by standing respectfully when "O Canada" is sung, either remaining silent or--if we know the words--singing along. THAT'LL show 'em!!.

--I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Habs are the NHL equivalent of the New York Yankees. I loved how the Caps silenced the building, then got the crowd to actually turn against "Les Glorieux"

--It was only a matter of time before the greater mass of the Caps' lines began to tell on the smaller Habs.

--This game (IMO) did perhaps more than any other (in the series so far) to prove the old adage: "Go to the net and good things will happen"

--I am pleased that Varly did so well. That said, I hope Theo gets another chance to shine. I know he has it in him.

--Also proved last night: Ovechkin's Law ("To solve any hockey problem, score more goals") is a universal constant.


Well done, gentlemen. Now rest up and put another nail in their coffins tomorrow night!

GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 20, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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