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Game 2: Rangers 1, Capitals 0

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 35 shots Washington sent his way, and the Caps got frustrated early in a 1-0 defeat at home.

The big pregame news was Coach Bruce Boudreau's decision to bench Jose Theodore and start 20-year-old rookie Simeon Varlamov, who made 23 saves and looked solid in only his sixth NHL start.

Tarik will be back with postgame notes and quotes. In the meantime, tell us what you think. Is this it for the Caps, who are now down 2-0 in the series, or will they claw their way back in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden?

It's not impossible, but NHL history speaks for itself: Teams have trailed 2-0 in a best-of-seven series a total of 291 times and have come back to win the series on 37 occasions, or 12.7% of the time.

Then again, as Dan Steinberg points out, "In the playoff history of the Washington Capitals, only twice has a team lost the first two games at home. Both times, that team -- down 2-0, going on the road amid talk of catastrophe -- won the series."

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 18, 2009; 3:47 PM ET
 
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Next: Postgame Video Debate: Can the Caps Come Back?

Comments

Henrik was too good today. That being said, I think the main way to beat this guy is to get physical with him. I might even take an interference call if the puck is there just to start getting into his head.

What's the book on Henrik anyway?

Oh, and great game by Varly. Caps do a better job clearing those rebounds when he's in the net.

Posted by: Raber | April 18, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

You have to start Varly in game 3.. He looked really good tonight and the only goal was hardly his fault. The Caps just came out flat in the game and never were able to get it going. To many sloppy passes and individual play. You may need to think about putting Brash/Clark in the next game. Something's gotta give. Pothier looked good too.

Posted by: ovys8 | April 18, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

GOOD DEFENSE ALWAYS BEATS GOOD OFFENSE.

once McPhee and his crew of monkeys acknowledge this fact, maybe this organization can take the next step forward.

The only silver lining here is maybe the owner gets out of his comfort zone and finally fires the architect of this overhyped overestimated roster. Its not a playoff roster, it just looks pretty in the regular season standings.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

ovy--You may need to think about putting Brash/Clark in the next game.


boudreau shoulda done that today. He makes his roster moves too late. Clark and Brash are better than Gordo/Fehr in a playoff series. At least Clark should be in there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if the proverbial sky is falling now? This series could be over in 5 if not a complete sweep.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Varly is the future, and the future is now. He kept the team in the game and gave us a chance to win. No change necessary. Use this series to get him used to NHL playoff hockey so he is ready next year.

Posted by: SeattleRob | April 18, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd say some added grit is what we need. Like I posted in the last thread, the only goal of the game was a misplayed 2 on 1 by Poti, otherwise it's a totally different game and it coudl be easily 0-0 headed to OT right now. Varlamov gets the reigns from here on out I'd say.

Posted by: TheVampireCorndog | April 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Caps looked much better last year than they do this year. I'm not seeing much through two games that makes me hopeful for a comeback. And this Caps team is mentally weak to begin with, so this kind of loss (a shut out) could really get to them and result in a sweep.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Nobody told me the game was early today. Glad I didn't watch it based on the comments at the end of the live chat, but sounds like Varlamov did the job we need a goaltender to do - so problem solved seemingly.
Our offense is not going to get shut out every game, a couple of close losses does not indicate sweep. Hardly.

Next game is kind of important though.

Posted by: austinsteve | April 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Caps can -- and will -- still win this series.

Posted by: uncatim | April 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

this is a finesse hockey team that isn't willing to do whatever it takes to win. They don't fight thru enough checks, they don't make life hell for the other goalie when they need to in a game like this. We don't have any Averys and Otts and Hartnells who are willing to change the momentum when things aren't working. Thats when you need those kinds of players, to stir the pot and mess around in the crease, get the goalie off his game, draw a penalty etc. I agree with the comment this team is mentally weak. They definitely are.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I will say that Varly looked pretty good in net (although he wasn't challenged all that much) and the defense looked tighter. But the turnovers, the inaccurate shooting, the awful PP, OV's bad play and the poor decision making killed them today. If this were Game 1, I think they could take something away from the result. But a shutout loss in Game 2 is troublesome.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Gordo and Fehr were two of our better players today (well, at least Fehr).

Honestly, I'm not sure who I'd bench after this game. The stars are the players who were letting me down today. Nylander made one bone headed play (icing on the PP), but he played really well the rest of the game. The 4th line had more pressure than any of our other lines until the end of the game.

I agree though that a Brash fight or Clark getting physical in front of the net could help spark this team.

I'm getting tired of the trolls on this blog posting how Mcphee should get fired after games like that. This is a young team, they're getting nervous, and it's showing.

The only thing Mcphee could've done differently this year was sell our future for a veteran and a shot at playoff success. Even if we lose to the Rangers this series, at least we'll still be good next year.

Posted by: Raber | April 18, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Same old Caps. I have been watching this team for over 20 years, nothing ever changes. Scorers can't score and they always run into a hot goalie. Green playes a horrible game, Semin really didn't do much, and they played like sh*t the first two periods. The regular season sure doesn't mean much, playoffs do, you gotta get those dirty goals and the Caps are doing it. I don't think its over, but it won't suprise me if they go down in 5. The Cubs are jinxed, but so are the Caps.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | April 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of fans calling other fans trolls because they dislike McPhee. McPhee bloooowz chunks. Keep giving him an out, that'll help!

Posted by: maven1918 | April 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

McPhee could have upgraded this defense prior to the deadline. Fans like to conveniently forget that little fact. The big dummy hasn't made a single trade since September.

Posted by: maven1918 | April 18, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The other thing that really concerns me is the ice time that Green and OV, in particular, have logged in the first two games. With only one day off between games the rest of the way, that could become a real cause for concern. I'm not sure how long those two will be able to last. OV looked tired through most of this contest.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

done.

Posted by: DER27 | April 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

uncatim: Tell me in the 2 games what you've seen that would make you think we will this series?

Come on, guys. Let's stop underestimating the Rangers. Yes we are the 2nd seed but I'm sick of everyone just assuming we are supposed to win this. The Rangers are every bit as good. The way the play is the way to win the Cup.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

LOL forgot about Nylander. Sorry, he needs to go before anyone else.

Posted by: maven1918 | April 18, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

They're done. Yet another first round exit.

Posted by: something1 | April 18, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

will=win

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

BB's system doesn't seem to be the kind of system that wins playoff series. It doesn't seem to do well in tight checking type games which is the type of game that happens in the playoffs....by the way, who is the leader on this team?

Posted by: charlottechris | April 18, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This series is far from over.

Game 1- Theo dropped the ball for us on his weak goals. We outplayed them there.

Game 2- King Henry stole the game plain and simple.

This isn't the caps being blown out and totally sucking, these are close games. I am nervous but I will still keep the faith.

Bold move on Varly though. I was particularly impressed with that beautiful poke-away late in the game. That first goal was hardly his fault and I would bet theo couldn't make the save either.

Lets just keep cheering the caps.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 18, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

OUT -Coached; OUT-played; OUT-psyched; OUT-hit!
If the caps think they can beat Lundquist with shots taken from a 45 degree angle from between the face off circle and the blue line - they are just plain stupid.
CRASH THE NET!!!

Posted by: johnbear1 | April 18, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

we came out flat today.... but teh big thig was varly yea he played good but if u look at this game and the last game he was not even challenged that much if u look at teh shots theodore faced in game one out of those 25 shots the two top corners that he let in were good shots id id nah see varly getting that many scoring chances on him so i dont no wat i can say about that cues i mean even if theodore saw action to day i sure he would have only let in that one goal too... so there is not much to be said about that... i think we shoudl have given hima chnace today to redeem him self but that was not the case... like i think he shoudl get anotehr chance becues he has brought a team back before and he has looked good in played before liek last year wen he stole game number two from the wilds and he won the avs that series so i think he can do it for us too like that.... but he shoudl have got todays start that did not happen. but my main point was that varly wa snot challenged that much today in those 22 saves that he made so that might be under consideration... i Say if theo does go in nets next game and wins it we have chance to coem back becaues he wil no wat he has to do and he is a goalie that can catch fire like he does in every 1st round games he has won 4 frist rroundss give him some credit and in those he came back form3-1... now if varly starts next game we lose wat do u do wen teho gets teh start and we come back u prase him? and then wen he has a bad game u all firegtwat he did for us all f***in season.... some off you... put it this way he won 33 take those out u think u make teh play offfs???? i dun think soo.... and if u guys are ganna talk soo much why dont u go in nets for teh caps and see what u can do......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Posted by: rahul_rayray60 | April 18, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

We'll be lucky to get this thing to five games. Sincerely I mean this.

Caps gag in April again. Some things really don't ever change.

Posted by: edeleon | April 18, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to think we're the Phoenix Suns of the NHL... flash and dash in the regular season but none of the intestinal fortitude to get it done in the playoffs. Somebody needs to step up. Big time.

Posted by: donknutts | April 18, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The best news about today was Varly's fantastic play and BB's bold decision to shake things up and not to make excuses and settle for a veteran goalie who, obviously, is no longer the charismatic goalie a Stanley Cup contender needs. Whether it is this year or next year, fixing goaltending (assuming Varly continues to be good) could be huge.

I still think we will win the series but I am 60% not 100%. If Varly gives us the goaltending we need, then the offense has to catch on fire and display the hunger, team play, aggressiveness etc. that made us the number #2 seed.

Perhaps away games will bring it out. This team rises to the occassion. It took them a while to find their rhythm in the playoffs last year. If it takes us a little less time to win (say 2 games rather than 3) we will win.

Don't you think we played much better in game 2 than in game #1?

Posted by: caraveli | April 18, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Theo Can do it for us in madison Squre Garden!!!!!!!!!!!!1 he has done it before he can do it again

Posted by: rahul_rayray60 | April 18, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

As least the Suns could advance a couple of rounds in the playoffs.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

this is a finesse hockey team that isn't willing to do whatever it takes to win
cstanton1

Your exactly right dude, finesse works during the regular season when you are playing a different team every other night, you got muck it up. Laich, Steckel, and Fehr are going to have to pick up the garbage.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | April 18, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree with CharlotteChris, BB's system is not one for the playoffs.

However, witho out that one mistake on the goal against us, I thought we played a pretty responsible, tight checking game. Its just that our players are not used to that, and I think they end up holding their sticks too tight, and don't play relaxed.

Varlamov was good in net, and I have no problem with him starting him the rest of the way.

LOOK AT IT THIS WAY Caps fans, does a two game lead for the caps, or even a 3 game lead = victory in the series? They've blown plenty of leads in series in years past.

They need to just win 1 game. I predict they win Monday 2-1, and we'll be right back in it

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

We will see what this team is really made of on Monday. If we lose that game, I think everyone can agree, it's over. What a disappointment it would be if we didn't get out of the first round. No matter how good the regular season was for us this year, if we don't get out of the first round, it's not a successful season. I would say last year was more successful if we don't win this series.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Entire team, Coach BB and GMGM, are ALL MORONS! Do they really think any of them (yes, even OVIE)can over power Lundqvist with their shots? No traffic in both games. Bring on Spring and hello World Championship Hockey for Ovie and friends.

Posted by: 555Mass | April 18, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If the Rangers can play such a disciplined game here, then they can do it at home.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Another thing... can we start dumping and chasing on the PP? This whole carry-the-puck-from-end-to-end crap works against the New York...Islanders, maybe, but never against the Rangers. They're standing guys up on the blue line and we're conceding the puck every time, wasting precious seconds of PP time. Enough of the stickhandling exhibitions, just dump the puck in and keep it in the zone. WAKE UP CAPITALS! THESE ARE NOT MARCH GAMES AGAINST TAMPA BAY!!! IT'S THE PLAYOFFS.

Somebody needs to do something, and fast.

Posted by: donknutts | April 18, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. In watching both games, I just get the feeling that the Rangers are controlling the action. It seems like the Rangers are making the Caps play into uncomfortable opportunities. I have a sense the Rangers really are forcing the action and completely handling this series.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This series is far from over.

Game 1- Theo dropped the ball for us on his weak goals. We outplayed them there.

Game 2- King Henry stole the game plain and simple.

This isn't the caps being blown out and totally sucking, these are close games. I am nervous but I will still keep the faith.

Bold move on Varly though. I was particularly impressed with that beautiful poke-away late in the game. That first goal was hardly his fault and I would bet theo couldn't make the save either.

Lets just keep cheering the caps.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 18, 2009 4:07 PM |

King Henry and the Rangers impeccable nature to just have our game plan. We played a good game, but they played a better one. That with the work of Lundy = stealing 2 home games from us.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

BTW, it's obviously gonna get lost with the result of the game, but I have to give credit to BB for starting Varly. Very bold move—obviously it didn't work out, but I'm glad Theo sat.

Posted by: donknutts | April 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I hope BB stays with Varlamov. The experience will be good for him. Our guys were in their crease several times but their sticks were being tied up or something. They didn't look as threatening as when the Rangers were in our crease.

Anyway, the next game is a must win or we are toast.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The Rangers are a poor road team (HA) and a good home team. So maybe the inverse occurs at MSG like it did at Verizon. That's about the only thing that keep me hopeful because the Caps play sure doesn't.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

BTW way...

2009 Callahan = 2008 Briere

Geez, I'm starting to hate that guy

Posted by: donknutts | April 18, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

And the irony; Ovie and the guys preaching to the media about how they need to get in the crease. And the only time they started doing that tonight was with 8 minutes left.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

How many times this year have the Caps said they need to get to the crease? How many times have they sad bad losses help them focus? I feel like they say the same stuff over and over again, and yet nothing changes. That's either a lack of leadership on the ice, lack of leadership on the bench or complete idiocy.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe people think there will be any changes in NY. It's over folks! Accept the fact and you will be less pissed off!

Posted by: 555Mass | April 18, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Series is not over but.......who is the guy on this team who will stand up in the locker room and lead them?

Posted by: charlottechris | April 18, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Quick summary of my impressions that I was posting in the live chat.

1. Varlamov proved me right. Played a great game and held us in. Even god would not have had a chance on the Rangers goal. Bad mistake by Ovie, Green and Kozlov (not covering for pinching Green) and perfect execution by Naslund and Callahan. Varly even got across in time, but Callahan just roofed his one timer. No chance.

2. Boudreau fooled everyone with his goalie choice. Well played, Bruce. While I'm very depressed now I still hold out hope that we might be able to turn it around because Varly is our #1 now. No doubt he'll start game 3.

3. I'm sure that my amazing video reply to Mike is what convinced Bruce to start Varly. OK, kidding. But... in his in-game interview Boudreau confirmed what I said. The players have confidence in Varly and not so much in Theo (even though he didn't say that you can read between the lines). Remember also that unlike us the players see both of them in practice. If you've ever played any sport yourself you know that a lot can be gathered from watching practices. Players know who can do what and they know that Varly is a better goalie by now.

4. The Rangers played a perfect road game and Henrik was excellent. However, Ovie and Green looked totally gassed and not sharp. Can't remember so many blatant giveaways in 1 game from those two. Weren't sharp offensively either. They were both really struggling to do what they normally do easily. I really hope both of them haven't picked up injuries in game 1 that we don't know about. They both looked like they were playing through injury to me.

OK, that's it. Too depressed to hang out on here. Let's hope we can turn this around, but obviously it's not looking good now.

Posted by: ranndino | April 18, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly we had a 2-0 lead against the TB lightning (coached by Tortorella) in a playoff series which they eventually won. I would really like the Caps to do to this Rangers team what Tampa did to us.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 18, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

To be delt next year for more 'hartnell' type players-

- Fedorov
- Kozlov
- Semin

Yes, I said Semin. I personally don't think he has the make up for a North American style game, and that's what we need to play to win in the playoffs. In NA, the rink is smaller, and checking is tighter. The only successful team that doesn't play NA style hockey in the NHL are the Red Wings, and we're a LONG way from having that much talent on both sides of the puck.

I feel like Semin could get us 3 players, or 2 and draft pick. If we can get 2 x 20+ goal scorers, and a defensive, good skating d-men, it would be worth it.

Am I crazy for saying this?

Who replaces Fedorov as a starting 2nd line center?

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is we don't match up well at all with the Rangers. They're a grind-it- out kind of team, with hard nosed defense, good goaltender, they make everything we do difficult. But this team played like it was just another regular season game today.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't get that either. They handled us in both games at home. What makes people think that anything will change at MSG? The thing the Rangers want to do is just sweep us, get rest, and move on to the second round. I don't expect them to be relaxed game 3 at home.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The Rangers had something to do with the way we played today. They are well coached and we have to find a way around what they are doing.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 18, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike Green should play forward.

Posted by: 555Mass | April 18, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line, this team is NOT BUILT FOR THE PLAYOFFS! They need to add some more pieces, and play a more team, 2-way game where everyone is responsible.

I guess we all knew this, but thought we could get by the Rangers at least.

Watching the Philly/Pitt games, we are really not a complete team.

SOMEONE, please point out one Stanley Cup Winner that was known for 'fun-n-gun' play?

Please point out one Stanley Cup Winner with out a vocal, leader in the locker room?

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Just a note: the last team to go down 0-2 after 2 home games and come back to win was the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, a 2 seed in the first round who went with a young backup goaltender (Cam Ward) in game 2. Lots of similarites there. Those Carolina Hurricanes went on to win the Stanley Cup and Cam Ward won MVP if I remember correctly.

Posted by: cubixplicit | April 18, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The box score shows Ovie with 5 giveaways, Green with 7.

Definitely keep Varly in goal.

The Caps need a much better effort next game.

The odds are not with Washington. The Rangers need to win only two games out of five. The Caps have to win four out of five, with three of the remaining games at MSG.

Posted by: rw-c | April 18, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Sit a forward, I really don't care who, and put Clark on the first line. He'll go the the net. He may not even need to do anything, just him coming back and going to the net might be enough.

Posted by: OldCapsFan | April 18, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

well all is not going well for NY fans...i have been watchin the indians bat in the 2nd inning since the game ended. they got 14 runs

Posted by: SFcapsfan | April 18, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

87% of teams up 2-0 go on to win the series. *sigh*

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

@floms.....Edmonton,and the Pens 1980's.

Posted by: RichC3 | April 18, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

@RichC3, maybe so but it was a different game then. Now-a-days, its the tight checking, balanced teams that advance.

I think we need something to spice things up. Hopefully Clark and Brash coming in can do that.

Locker hit it on the had in the post-game too, we've been horrable 5-on-5, and that was the case a few weeks before the season ended.

Look at the positive. We don't have the pressure of playing at home. Maybe going on the road Monday and winning is all we need.

If we can win Monday (I predict we do 2-1), we'll be very hungry and will have the confidence to tie the series in game 4.

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@ floms

Yes, I think you're crazy. The biggest rule in hockey is don't trade a special talent for a bunch of average guys. It never works. Semin has played well in both game so far, btw.

This whole thing with Euro style not working in the NHL is a tired stereotype that has been proved wrong so many times by now that I can't believe people still hang on to it.

"The only successful team that doesn't play NA style hockey in the NHL are the Red Wings".

Yeah, and they're pretty successful, eh? As in winning the most Cups in the new era.

We have a good combination of Euro style players and NA grinders. Also, Ovie is not your typical Euro player exactly. More like a Canadian power forward.

As for the run and gun style it worked just fine for the Oilers even before the great influx of Euros into the NHL (and yeah, I know they had Kurri).

All of this is magnified now cuz we lost 2 playoff games, but let's be reasonable and look at the facts before jumping to emotional conclusions. We outplayed the Rangers in both games, especially in the first one. Terrible goaltending let them steal game 1 & we looked tired in this one + Henrik was perfect and they blocked a ton of shots.

I bet if you ask the Rangers they don't think this series is over at all. They're scared of us. They got lucky a couple of times and won 1 goal games. We're still a much better team. We just need to put the offensive game of game 1 together with Varlamov in net and we should do well. In both games so far we missed either one or the other.

Once again, the calm and reasonable assessment is that we lost 2 very close games that could have gone either way. It doesn't mean that we suck all of a sudden and our whole roster needs to get blown up.

I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me because most people make up opinions based on emotion rather than logic, but be it as it may, that's what I think. I think Boudreau will agree with me if asked... Again :)

Posted by: ranndino | April 18, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the key stat is when your best two players have 12 turnovers it is going to make life difficult.

I also agree with the run and gun statments...in the playoffs teams play so much tighter it is hard to get into a shootout.

Time to get the captain back in the game. I think Flash might be a good choice to sit.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | April 18, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@555Mass

What do you mean Green should play forward? He does most of the time. He needs to learn how to play D. He was terrible today. At least 3 passes directly onto Ranger sticks.

Posted by: TJ91 | April 18, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

A BIGGER SLAP in the face.....if we loose this series....

would be NYR getting smoked by Boston in round 2. That would bring all the haters out.

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Lost by one in Game 1 and lost by one today. I wouldn't have started Varlamov today and I think it's a huge mistake. The Rangers had exactly one scoring chance today - it may be two or three in the final stats - but it was one. And they scored. Easily. I love Varly but his one chance to "steal a game" didn't happen; It's the same backdoor play this defense has been beaten on all season - goalie makes no difference because the second runner isn't getting covered. BB has no choice but to run with Semyon and we'll take our chances. I happen to think it's far from over but there's no doubt desperation roiling in the air.

For the Caps fans at Verizon that spent the entire afternoon booing - and particularly at the end of the game - you can take that junk somewhere else. I've fought it for a very long time because there's a pretty good core of fans, but, D.C. has the worst - WORST - sports fans in America. You people are an embarrassment. What a bunch of losers.


Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

If they win one in NYC,hopefully that first one. I think they can come back. Sometimes they thrive on the road. I'm just not ready to give up on them yet. I guess it's the Varly Era now.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 18, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

also I think that I think it is hard not to turn on the intensity, but rather to be used to having the intensity. They are playing harder and faster, but they are all playing almost relearning to play that way. if that makes any sense.

Maybe I am way off.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | April 18, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

People can boo if they want to. They paid for the seats. And with the way the PP looked today, they should've booed. In fact, most booing came after failed PP opportunities. Caps looked like amateurs with the man advantage. It seems to me that you think the booing is reactionary and unreasonable. Of course, so was your statement about D.C. having the worst sports fans. Not much difference between the two.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

and, just to pick names...MIke Green was horrible today. You may not want to hear it but he was awful. Not a lick of defense - as with the first game - and no offense. Being that the argument was that his offensive made up for his defensive shortcomings, what do we have now?


Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

You're right, Green was awful. So was OV. Two of their top players looked bad.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

the non-calls in the first period were atrocious. Not only did all of Tortarella's whining seem to do that trick, I think he may have, um, "done favors" on the refs before the game. I counted 3 holdings and 2 trippings that weren't called on the Rag in the first alone. And several of the calls that went against the Caps were just an absolute joke. It was so one sided, I thought I was at an NBA game.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

saintex: After watching the game you think starting Varly was a huge mistake? If it were Theo, we would've lost 3-0. How could Varly have a chance to steal the game? He didn't get any "goal support." He certainly did keep us in it all the way to the end. Fans have every right to boo. The team seemed so disinterested in the game. They decide to shoot from the blue line, they were lazy and played like it was just another regular season game.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

D.C. does have the worst sports fans. The booing ran through the PP, I agree, but the entire final two minutes of the game - down by one - was booing. Feel free to disagree, we all do, but it was ugly.

Let's count bad fans: drunk and privalaged Redskins fans, no Nats fans, no Wizard's fans, booing Caps fans. Anything you want to add?

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

DC is the ultimate winners town...every few years if you lose you go back to where you came from. If you win you move to the town. so it would make sense that the fans would be the same way. its a shame we can't do that with franchises, haha. j/k, kinda.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | April 18, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I love the optimism but the truth of the matter is the Caps have too many finesse players to win in the playoffs. As many of you have stated its about crashing the crease and being physical. Too many perimeter shots at crazy angles. Not enough play in front of the goalie. Varlamov performed well and his upside is very promising. More defense and grit needed. Ovie is trying to do too much. The secondary scoring which shows signs of life late in the season better come back fast. Adjustments need to be made but I'm not sure what can be done at this juncture. They better play a complete game Monday or they could be swept as strange as it sounds.

Posted by: jnjensor | April 18, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Varly had one chance to steal the game, and he didn't.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Caps fans have been great all year. Skins fans are intensely interested in their team. Nats fans are non-existent. (D.C. is not a baseball town.) And why would anyone show up for a Wizards game this season? (I would say, though, that even when they're playing well, Wizards fans seem disinterested, even when the arena is sold out.) Still, fans in D.C. are not as bad as fans in, say, Atlanta, who never show up for any of their teams' games. Just look at the Braves. They were at the top of the NL for more than a decade, and they still had trouble filling their ballpark. So I don't agree with you at all.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, this loss was Varly's fault.

I didn't want to say this before, but I had a bad feeling about this game. This group always seems to play like crap in day games, especially early. Time to regroup.

So, who starts in Game 3? Varly looked good, but we still lost.

A for effort from line 4 and Erskine who was very solid if his usual not graceful. Not to make excuses, but the lack of crispness I noted after game 1 was evident again. I'm thinking its the ice.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 18, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The team does know that if they don't get out of the first round, the regular season isn't really a success, right? You're only judged on how far you go in the playoffs and right now it's looking like it isn't going to be very far.

Fans can boo, because they expect a lot more from this team.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

If it is the ice, it's getting no better in MSG.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino:

That maybe true, maybe my emotions are getting the best of me with the 'trade Semin' remark.

However, I think other than the Wings, every other team is built and coached to a NA style. The Wings can't win it every year. They're an anomoli. Kind of like the Patriots were 2 years ago.

Mucking, grinding, grit, ugly, simple, translates to wins in the playoffs. We need more of that.

I sometimes feel we're a team with a mixed identity because of how diverse our line ups are.

BB's system is not a responsible, 2-way system. Its a system that I feel can get us a lot of wins in the regular season, but will burn us in the playoffs.

If i'm coaching against the caps, here's the game plan:

"Ok boys, they're prone to making mistakes. Simply get in the shooting lanes, don't over-commit, check their d-men, and watch out for bad line changes and over-pinching d-men. Sooner or later you'll get an odd-man rush"


Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

saintex: you're kidding right? EVERY team in every sport does that! All sports fans are like that, in every city, it's not just D.C. When a team plays bad they get booed, big deal. Drunk football fans, drunk baseball fans, it happens.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

@maven:

Raber: "The only thing Mcphee could've done differently this year was sell our future for a veteran and a shot at playoff success. Even if we lose to the Rangers this series, at least we'll still be good next year."

maven: "I'm sick of fans calling other fans trolls because they dislike McPhee... McPhee could have upgraded this defense prior to the deadline. Fans like to conveniently forget that little fact...."

Try reading.

Posted by: Raber | April 18, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

you can boo, the team can suck in a game. Call it even.

I moved here three years ago and had already heard about D.C. fans. Like I said earlier, I didn't really believe it because fans from other places generally badmouth other cities. The fans here are not good and that's from someone who's now had a chance to see it up close. I don't hate or dislike and D.C. teams, and I love the Caps and have season tickets, but the fans are poor.

I realized last year when the rink was littered with junk after losing game 7. Classy.

The series is long from over - even winning one in NY brings it back home.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

and one last thing: not all sports fans in all cities are like that. You are making assumptions, for whatever reason, based on what you see here.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

name me a certain city where none of the team's fans are like that.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The response was "not all". Is your justification for being poor fans that "everyone else is doing it"? Be careful of that lemming hill that your friend are jumping off.

Lincoln and St. Louis.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Varly had one chance to steal the game, and he didn't.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:05 PM

Steal the game in what way? As in just keeping it tied? He needed a goal. He had a chance to keep the game scoreless, he couldn't steal the game if he didn't have some goal support.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau is getting badly outcoached in this series. If Clark is even remotely able to play in Game 3 he needs to be on the ice. This teams needs leadership in a bad way, and they aren't getting it behind the bench.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | April 18, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Saintex, you're pissed because the caps lost and fans booed, and that's fine. But you're making some blanket statements about fans in this area that are making you look like the bad fan.

Posted by: jpbryant | April 18, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

No, I'm not saying that fans acting that way is okay because "everyone else is doing it." What I'm saying is don't just single out Washington D.C. and say it's a city with terrible fans.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

so, what will Torts cry about this time? That the Caps dare to skate within 10 feet of his goalie? How dare they! I have no respect for that man (what extremely little I did have was gone after last season when he sent his Tampa thugs out on the ice with less than a minute left to start fights. Stay classy, John.)

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 18, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

McPhee and the coach need to go. How bad is it to get to the playoffs and then start blasting your goalie? Theodore is what he is and it changes nothing other than to deflate the team morale by disparaging him.

And why didn't McPhee get a better goalie long ago and be prepared for the playoffs? Shameful incompetence.

Posted by: hz9604 | April 18, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

why didn't GMGM get a better goalie? With what cap space? What better goalies were available?

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 18, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

So now everyone bashing Theo and Schultz have no one to blame but OV, Green, Semin, and Backstrom. 35 shots no goals. where's the offence? OV is the A-Rod of hockey, 0 goals after scoring 56 in the regualr season.

Posted by: jwash4472 | April 18, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"And why didn't McPhee get a better goalie long ago and be prepared for the playoffs? Shameful incompetence."

Who would he have gotten? Go ahead, list some goalies who were available last year during the offseason. I'll wait.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | April 18, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't boo the team in what was a very tight, and generally well played game. Am I disappointed? Yes. Do I feel the need to boo? Nope.

I'm singling out D.C. because it's where I live now an it's what I see. Seems reasonable.

The debate on goalies - all season - has been that in the playoffs the goalie needs to step up and steal a few games, make some big saves, bail out the defense. On the Rangers goal, that was an opportunity and it didn't happen. You're right so say the game would then have only been 0-0 but it's still a game that can be won. We can't chant all year long about wanting a goalie to step up and get it done and then see the only chance the other team has - really - to go in. We've made a ton of goalies look really good this season by hitting them in the chest with 40 shots. Semyon, a very good talent, stopped a lot of shots at this chest today, and well done. But the team fell apart on that single goal and that was the difference - he didn't bail the team out. They left him hanging and it happened. I don't feel any better or worse about this lose than the game 1 lose - even Steven.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Saintex, why don't you go back to where ou moved here from if you can't stand the fans? After teh regular season the Caps had, fans here should be able to bo oif they can't score 1 goal on 35 shots and look bad doing it. They pay the money, they shoudl be able to expect something. Get out of town you moron!

Posted by: jwash4472 | April 18, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@jwash, sensitive? I think you just answered all the questions.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey Caps fans, the season's not over. You can watch the Pens move to the next round of the playoffs as you mourn another lost season.

Posted by: observer23 | April 18, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

No real surprise here. The Caps really aren't a top team. They're barely .500 since March in the regular season. Below that mark if you consider the last two losses. This being the 5th playoff appearence in the Leonsis\McPhee era (has it been nine already!) and barring a miracle it will be another early exit. Five playoff appeareances out of nine seasons. Hmmmm.... That's about the same odds as any of the 15 teams have of making the playoffs on any given year. No great feat, that. Oveckin, Jagr, it doesn't really seem to matter who the players? Winning starts at the top of an organization, so perhaps it is time to start looking up to changes at the top if the Caps are ever to be anything but average.

Posted by: festus75 | April 18, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Floms is right. Semin doesn't seem to have a playoff metality. I trade him for two canadiens or americans who know what is takes to win a Stanley Cup. Flash too, Europeans don't understand how important it is to win a stanley cup and more important WANT to win a Stanley cup.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | April 18, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree with that there, Saintex. Yes, Varly had a chance to keep it 0-0, but in no way was the game over after that goal. We had more than 2 periods to try to tie, and we didn't.

If he stopped that, that would've been a 10 bell save, I don't think even Roberto Luongo could've stopped that. What Varly needed was some help from his offense and he didn't any.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Geezes, two one goal games and welcome to groupthink apocalypse.

Don't think people aren't going to remember the names of people who are vocally giving up on the Caps already here.

Posted by: austinsteve | April 18, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to calm down. The Caps are in a hole to be sure, but...

Without poor goaltending from the Caps, the Rangers can't score either. The difference in this series is Lundqvist. It is that simple. Could the Capitals do things to generate more offense, sure, but they're not getting outclassed, or even outworked (as they were against Philly last season)

Lundqvist is playing brilliantly and they took advantage of one mistake by the Caps. Then they just played defense the whole rest of the game.

With Varlamov in goal, if the Caps can get a lead, the Rangers will have a difficult time coming back.

Posted by: benz9 | April 18, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

it would be nice if maybe the refs stopped being Torts' best friend and called a freaking penalty on occasion. The first period was completely demoralizing.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 18, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

austinsteve: and exactly what would you do if you remember??

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Quick thoughts:

The slowest paced game of all the playoff games I've seen this year so far. The Caps played the 1st like it was a high tempo regular season game, the 2nd they layed down for as has been par for the course this year, the 3rd they began to do some of the things they should have done from the outset.

Unlike every other playoff team, the Caps hesitate before shooting the puck. By that time, at this juncture, its too late and the goalie/Rangers are ready for it.

Caps keep trying to pass when they should be shooting. The rangers are clogging up the lanes and keeping their sticks at the ready; the Caps did not adjust. Instead, they continued shooting from the perimeter and bad angles.

Until the 3rd period, and then only marginally, the Caps did not crash the net. No one took the puck to the net. Before you say it, standing next to the net and taking a few whacks is NOT crashing the net.

Varlamov looked solid. The goal was not his fault. Its Poti's job to keep that pass from going rink wide, especially since no one else is there to cover the other guy. Had Poti played more physically, that pass wouldn't have been made. That goal was on Poti. Otherwise, its 0-0 heading to OT.

Nylander brings nothing to this team and has no business playing. Leaving him in was pointless.

The Rangers played a very good game, full credit goes to them. Caps scoring chances were minimal and very few were of good quality.

The Caps didn't play with the fire and urgency of a team down in the series at home. The crowd was removed from the game. They didn't deserve to win. I hate to say it, and am shocked by the lack of balls to the wall passion I've seen Vancouver, St Louis, Calgary, Columbus and Pittsburgh put forth all ready. I'm saddened by that. I'm angry that they keep looking to pass when they should shoot and get into the crease. Lundquist is too good for what they're throwing at him. Sorry folks. Thats just how I saw it from Verizon.

Posted by: oo7 | April 18, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I never said, nor believed, the game was over at 1-0. I never would have thought the O wouldn't have scored at least one. But in the grand scheme that was the chance to keep it even.

I think we may come back home at 2-2, at least I hope, and we'll move on from there. I would suspect that Semyon starts the rest of the series and I hope he does well.

and my final bit on fans: I don't want to send the team that I care a lot about off on the road, down 0-2, with boos ringing in their ears. Call me crazy.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Even though I think this is a pointless exercise, I believe the following goalies were available: Emery (psycho), Kolzig (sort of kidding), Theo, Huet (obvious choice, but $ an issue) come to mind. Maybe also a few others who were terrible or old (Joseph, Cloutier, Graham, etc.) Slim pick'ens. Theo isn't really the problem. But if anyone wants to make a case why any one of these (other than Huet) would have been an improvement, I'm all ears.

Personally, I think our "problem" is King Henry. Looking pretty wall-like. If we don't do something to rattle him, we could be in trouble.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 18, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

@benz9

Exactly. If the Caps can get up by a goal or two, the Rangers will have difficulty getting back into the game. That was my whole thing coming into Game 2. I think the Caps needed to score the first two goals. That probably would've salted this thing away, considering how poor NY is offensively. But scoring was obviously the problem.

And saintex, I can agree that Green and OV and others played awfully today. No excuse for that. But you can't necessarily expect Varly to make that save. And you certainly can't expect your goalie to shut out the other team. A 1-0 deficit midway through the first period shouldn't have demoralized this team, but it did. And that's on every singly mentally weak player on the Caps.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

To be delt next year for more 'hartnell' type players-

- Fedorov
- Kozlov
- Semin

Yes, I said Semin. I personally don't think he has the make up for a North American style game, and that's what we need to play to win in the playoffs. In NA, the rink is smaller, and checking is tighter. The only successful team that doesn't play NA style hockey in the NHL are the Red Wings, and we're a LONG way from having that much talent on both sides of the puck.

I feel like Semin could get us 3 players, or 2 and draft pick. If we can get 2 x 20+ goal scorers, and a defensive, good skating d-men, it would be worth it.

Am I crazy for saying this?

Who replaces Fedorov as a starting 2nd line center?

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

crazy? no. stupid, yes. feds and koz are unrestricted free agents so i'm pretty sure they are not tradeable. and semin scored 30 plus goals in less than 70 games so i think he can play over here.

how about this. we let koz and feds and morrison leave and sign a guy like bowmeester? that way perhaps we can keep semin along so he can futher "adjust" to the NA game. varly is your starter. alzner takes his spot on the blue line and perhaps oscar takes koz spot and laich moves over to take feds center spot.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 18, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Europeans don't understand how important it is to win a stanley cup and more important WANT to win a Stanley cup.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | April 18, 2009 5:46 PM

Thats just absolutely moronic. Step away from the computer, before Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and the other European Stanley Cup Winners die of laughter.

Posted by: oo7 | April 18, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The Capitals aren't being outworked? What game did you watch? They are doing nothing, nothing at all, to make Lundquist work for his saves. No one is going to the net, no one is trying to set a screen, they can't even recognize when a Ranger is going to block their shot. And don't even get me started on the ridiculous amount of blind passes into empty space.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | April 18, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I can take some small amount of solace in the fact that the Yankees are losing 20-2 to the Indians. 20-2?!?!? Indians put up 14 runs in the second inning. That's ridiculous.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

All,

Something to think about if the series continues the way it has - could be the best thing that ever happened to this team in the long run. Can't cruise through 2 months, and then flip the switch. These guys are young still, and they're still learning what it takes to win from April to June. They are stocked for the future and they'll be in the mix for years to come.

I do agree with earlier posters on lack of leadership - the vets on this team are hardly leaders. Say so long Feds, Nyls (can they buy him out?), and Theo (same question) after this season. Varmy is definitely the future, and yeah, we need someone who's willing to stand in front of a goalie and take abuse.

Posted by: rnscaps | April 18, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure somewhere, Puckguru is smugly sitting back saying to himself, "I've tried my best to forewarn all the Caps faithful that ALL OF THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN --------- AND WHY! But, all I received for my uncanny insight was ridicule. Now, all of a sudden, these very same people are preaching to the choir. Is that hilarious, OR WHAT?!

Posted by: Puckguru | April 18, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@CDon, you're right - I didn't expect Varly to stop that shot because we've seen that play vs. the Caps all season long. It was poor defense that hung him out. Had he stopped it, it would have been the steal we were looking for. That's all I'm saying. Nothing more. I don't blame him. To carry that to the next step, had that been Theo - rightly or not - he would have been crucified for not stepping up and "standing on his head" to save the game. That's what the fans want and that didn't happen today. Same defense, different goalie. If you look at today's game the defense - barring that play - didn't give up nearly as many opportunities as they did in game 1 but the end result is the same. Make sense?

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I have said this since mid-March. This team peaked too early. They also began believing what the read in the newspapers and online and since then have been a mediocre team. They started believing that all they had to do was show up and they would win. When they saw that they had New York in the first round it was no different than when they played Atlanta, Edmonston, Tampa, or the Islanders. A half-assed effort and either a loss or a win by a goal. Very very disappointing. Don't be surprised if this is a sweep.

Posted by: MKadyman | April 18, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to call Russians, Asians. That way I can get around the Europeans not having the desire to win the Cup.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't see a sweep. I do think the NYRs has now forced the Caps to go seven to win this thing.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

I can agree with that assessment. I also believe that if Theo doesn't make that save, fans lambaste him. (Varly did make a couple of great saves today that Theo may not have.) But what I saw from Varly on the one that got in was a glove quick enough to get a piece. Varly, at least, reacted to the shot. We saw on Wednesday that Theo didn't even react to two of the goals. He just stood there. But yes, as to your previous point, I can see that.

Posted by: CDon | April 18, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@ oo7;

Like I was saying, Detroit is an anomoli IMO. And I love watching them. Its a thing of beuty. Just like the Patriots two years ago. Detroit has world class puck moving euro defense and offense. Together they play as a cohesive unit, controlling the puck, and making it look easy.

But if Euro hockey in a NA rules/rink is the way to a cup, why aren't more teams trying to go with that style of play?

I think the playoffs bring out an identity crisis in the caps. They ahve just enough euro skill to make them a threat offensively, but not enough on th eother side of the puck to play as a complete team. Come playoffs, we're not really a puck possesion team, we're not a dump-n-chase grind it out team. And I'm sure BB told the boys to play more responsbily, so we're not a fun-n-gun team anymore.

What is their system?

Posted by: floms | April 18, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

@CDon, very true that Varly has better reactions that Theo. The two that JT let in the other night cost the team big time and Varly may have save one, if not both, of them. I'm so tired of watching the second skater, on the backdoor, getting the goal - I think we can all call it every time it develops...it's like clockwork. For most of the season the offense has been able to overcome it but the playoffs are a different story.

I think a 2-1 in NY on Monday can right the ship. No need to light up Henrik - though I'm not opposed to it - but we only need x amount of offense to put these games away.

BTW, the Rangers win at about 60% when they are outshot, and only at 40% when they outshoot the opponent. I have no idea how to coach to that weakness.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Saintex that somehow that first goal unnerved the team. Maybe because we already had lost the first one.

It is interesting that we were able to score 3 goals against Lundquvist in the previous game. If we had Varly in goal we would have won it. With Theo's loss, a bad momentum was established and we entered #2 on the defensive while the Rangers got emboldened.

I don't agree with some that the Caps lacked energy and played badly, though I have to say that penalties and turn-overs showed lack of discipline. I thought we did have play-off level energy but, obviously, the level of skill and energy needed to win still had to be taken up several notches. I am sure we will. Will it be too late by then? I don't know. I do agree with rachel that we have a mixed identity somehow. With an unstable goalie, it may have been harder for this identity to jell.

I thought cubixplicit made a very interesting point:

"Just a note: the last team to go down 0-2 after 2 home games and come back to win was the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, a 2 seed in the first round who went with a young backup goaltender (Cam Ward) in game 2."

Personally I have a great deal of confidence in Boudreau.

Posted by: caraveli | April 18, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

oo7: Great points. I agree with you on everything you said. The Caps are making Lundqvist look like superman. He's fantastic, but he's not superman and he can be beaten. How many quality shots did we have? Not many. We either decided to shoot from the blue line or from severe angles. Any goaltender will stop that easily.

I agree with someone who said they just need to dump and chase. They're trying way too hard to try to go through all the Rangers players to bring it up the ice. Their erratic passing is getting picked off and leading to scoring chances for the Rangers, I think we had like 18 giveaways. They need to stop trying to finesse everything and do all this no look passes.

We will all see what this team is made of on Monday. I think everyone can agree if we drop that game, it's most likely going to be over. Something I find interesting as well is if Theo doesn't get another start before it's over, what happens next year? Will he backup Varly?

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I think this team is still a work in progress. Sounds crazy given 108 points (I think that number is artificial given the SE had three non-playoff teams), but still think they're figuring it out.

Keep the faith folks - its not over yet. Two one-goal games, and frankly this series should be 1-1 right now. Believe Caps will rise up and win game 3, and then its a series again

Posted by: rnscaps | April 18, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest here -- Greenie was teribel today. And his goof on the Rangers goal was arguably a worse mistake than Schultz's in game 1. At least Shultz was in the right position before getting schooled. Greenie completely abandoned his teammates.

When he scores, it's worth the risk. He's a huge offensive force. But today he was nothign but a liability. Awful.

And BB -- what's the whole playing coy wiht the golaies. Like the Rangters really care. (Well, I guess they'd care if it was JT) Worry about your own team's psyche, as it looked pretty shaky today.

Posted by: sinbin | April 18, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I remember when the Caps were up on the Pens 2-0, and Suzy Kolber on Sports Center said that it was actually an advantage fo the Pens. I didn't know what she was talking about, but she turned out to be right. Let's hope this 2-0 is actually an advantage for the Caps.

Posted by: BigMogilny | April 18, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

o for 2 and way 2 soft plus 2 many caps that get outworked for the puck.....2 bad 2 sad......... bring out the golf clubs
oh yeah could someine contact GMGM and let him know he has some work 2 do cause his trade deadline moves didnt pan out... again

Posted by: wendel2 | April 18, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I think I was the only guy who wanted Varly and Brash in. Well, there were others who wanted Brash, too bad BB didn't put him in.

All the pushing and shoving, it looked like Rangers played at home. Brash could really make them less comfortable. Now going to MSG Brash definitely needs to play, but it would be hard for him after missing previous game and game 2. Mistake.

That was arguably the worst game by Ovechkin for entire season. Unfortunately nobody else could carry the team. All the Russians except Varly struggled. The rest of the team didn't show any creativity, just shooting from the long range, that's all they could do.

I wish someone like Aucoin was there, seriously. The team really look deflated energy wise.

Posted by: CodePoetry | April 18, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the "it's not over" bangwagon. I agree with everyone who said it has been a close series so far and the Caps have outplayed the Rangers in both games. I think the change in scenery will do them good, less pressure.

The Rangers just collapse infront of Henrik everytime we have it deep. They just need to keep shooting because there are lots of rebounds. Also, the rangers go down to block shots alot. They need to fake the shot, skate around and then shoot.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 18, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

varly move was interesting. i thought gabby should have made a goalie switch early last year (even if they scored 19 goals)to send a message not to knock into the goalie and get some juice going when olie knocked a few people on their behinds. switching out early this year obviously paid off. tough decision at this point.

as for the offense, players need to be in position for rebounds. scratch that, forwards need to be in position for rebounds. this where laich, auchoin, clark, & QL styles of play pay off. however, hockey demmands that the whole team does it to win the playoffs.

the caps need 3-5 shots in a row in the same play, not 1 pretty shot that rebounds to the rangers.

Posted by: am_jim | April 18, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

fyi that means someeone has to be in position weak side (the opposite side of the goalie as the shooter) for when it bounces off / gets kicked by king l.

Posted by: am_jim | April 18, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The team that in February and March was supposedly "waiting" for the playoffs, is now down 2 games to none. The goaltender and defense kept it close today (can't blame them), but the offensive guns couldn't deliver. Somebody asked me once how I can remain a Caps fan if they break my heart every Spring? I don't have an answer other than I'm loyal, but the playoffs have been torture since the 80's... This year is especially tough because they had such potential! Can they come back, maybe, but history is not on their side. I can only hope there is maybe some magic yet to come...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | April 18, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

This team is toast. Break out the golf clubs.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 18, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@BigMogilny

Refresh my memory on when the Caps had a 2 game to nothing edge against the Pens and blew the series. Who started off with the home field advantage? What year was it?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

@saintex,

If Washington fans are so bad, then whose fans are good? Philadelphia fans are fans for booing Santa Claus. And NY fans are infamous.

I assume you're a Caps fan (or are you a fan of someone else but follow the team 'cause you live here.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan, I'm a ticket holder and a big Caps fan. I don't much care what they do in NY or Philly. We know they can be "difficult" (I can't type profanity to get through...) but that doesn't excuse our behavior, does it? It's like I said earlier, we shouldn't measure ourselves against horrid fans we should be what we are. I'm was not happy at all to send the guys off the ice, down 0-2, hitting the road, and struggling to get back on track, with boos ringing in their ears. The boos were there, they were loud, and if folks didn't hear them then it may have been because they didn't want to hear them.

Fans can boo all they want - I obviously disagree with it in this case - they pay their money and they have that right. I pay my money and I can call them out. We don't have to agree.

Posted by: saintex | April 18, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah could someine contact GMGM and let him know he has some work 2 do cause his trade deadline moves didnt pan out... again

Posted by: wendel2 | April 18, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

trade deadline moves didn't pan out...again? you mean like the ones last year that essentially won us the SE division. or the ones before that got us laich, green, flash, etc? or do you mean not getting a rental-free agent to be and giving up alzner and/or varly. seriously, what are you talking about?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 18, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1, do you know anything about hockey? does it mean something when a team finishes second in the regular season? your SOO right about Mcphee being a monkey, wait when did you win the Hobey Baker, or have a clue about building a team. Can you remember what Clark did this year, oh wait nothing. Thanks for your knowlegde. I think i'll let Boudreau do his thing, and i hope no one listens to your nonsense. I hope all of you who think you know anything about hockey keep posting, can you count? there are still games to be played. You are all obviously Caps fans considereing the fact you have all given up, i would appreciate it if you stopped hating, and watching the games. Thanks, keeping being soooooo smart and having a clue about what to do with a solid team. Calder Cup? Whats that.

Posted by: joshekurtz | April 18, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@Puckguru: hahahahahaha. That post was awesome. And what a fabulous time for you to return and give your two cents (when the news is doom and gloom).

Seriously though, if the Caps just get in the crease some in game 3 and get Henrik thinking about things other than the puck they've got a shot. They're not really producing offense by being the nice guys right now.

Posted by: Raber | April 19, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a bias over one particular nationality or diversity on a hockey team. I myself am first generation Russian. So I have nothing against Russian players, or Sweedish, Finish, or anything else.

However, I think you need one or the other. Either have world class Euros on both sides of the puck, and that's what you look for in the draft and develop in your farm club, OR

you go with mostly NA players with that style of play, with either a goalie or a couple skilled Euro forwards znc d-men.

We drafted highly skilled Europeans, but have NA d-men and complimenting fowards drafted and seasoned in the farm system.

Posted by: floms | April 19, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

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