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Morning Reading List: Game 4 Aftermath


(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)


The Capitals' backs are against the wall after a loss in Game 4 that gave the Rangers a 3-1 advantage in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Washington hasn't advanced past the first round since 1998 and despite heightened expectations this year, they could be on the verge of another early exit from the postseason. Also, check out the notebook.

From Mike Wise: It's time for Alex Ovechkin to get cooking or else the Capitals will be cleaning out their lockers early again this year.

Here are the highlights from last night's loss.

The Hockey News' Ryan Dixon gives you the easiest rallying cry for the remainder of this season. The Caps were down 3-1 to Philadelphia last year, "We did it before, this time let's finish the job," but there are a few problems with that notion.

Dixon also discusses the stories surrounding various playoff netminders, including Simeon Varlamov.

Pierre LeBrun offers some historical perspective on the Capitals' struggles.

You can also check out Greg Wyshynski's take, The Washington Times recap and the NHL.com recap.

Through the Rangers' Looking Glass
Like it or loathe it, the Rangers are in the driver's seat of this series and here are your New York recaps from The New York Times, The Daily News and Newsday.

Also from Newsday is more on team captain Chris Drury, who in addition to scoring the game-winner last night helped persuade Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy to sign with the Blueshirts.

In the System
While the Capitals struggle, the Hershey Bears are in firm control of their first-round playoff series as they lead Philadelphia 3-0 after a 3-2 win last night.

By Katie Carrera  |  April 23, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Video: Mike Wise Says It's Not Over

Comments

Read all the articles you want and write all of them that you want but the fact is this series and year is over.
The lights are off and the party is over and the only ones hanging around are the drunks.

It's going to be a long summer.

Posted by: jotay131 | April 23, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Where has Green been this series? The only time I've noticed him is when he loses the puck. Is he playing injured or something? Seems to be a couple steps slower than normal. Caps need more traffic in front of Lundqvist. He's not going to let in any shots that he gets a good look at unless they are cross-crease passes.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 23, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

They just don't bring it like the Rangers do. They need more toughness and grit.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 23, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Still in shock. Can't believe we're down 3-1. Could've NEVER predicted this would happen before the series began.

When the Rangers move on (which they most likely will) I can't wait till we see how the opposing team attacks Lundqvist. I'm not taking anything away from Lundqvist but we have BARELY tested him except the 3rd game. We've outshot them 149 to 99 in 4 games. Probably 100 of those shots were from 45 feet out. If we win game 5, I think it's too late. I think Lundqvist has gotten into their heads.

I mean, can this team REALLY win 3 in a row? They just haven't shown they're willing to go in front of the net and that seems to be the only way to beat Lundqvist. On the power play, they're was no one in front of Lundqvist, all 5 guys were stationed on the perimeter. There's no way they're going to score like that.

But, we could've (should've) won that game last night. They got two gifts, one off Erskine's stick and a mistake by Varly. We hit 2 posts. No luck.

By the way, whenever Mike Green decides to show up in this series, it'd be great.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 23, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

When will this team learn to show up for an entire 60 minutes? All of the woulda, coulda, shoulda stuff is bs, and means nothing when you play stretches of games just going through the motions. Leave that for a Tuesday night in March against the Thrashers.

Posted by: rickylooper | April 23, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Dave in the previous post. It's interesting how the problems we had, (the goaltending and the defense) is now fixed but it's our offense (the thing that should come secondhand for us) is struggling.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 23, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

The caps have only beaten themselves in this series...Henrik hasnt helped either.

The Rangers are a crap team and I still believe that. There is no other first round series that can be close to comparison as this one.

Avery even tried to give us the game..If I was a Rangers fan, I would boo him every time he touches the puck. He is a cancer...

All the pressure is off now...we are supposed to be done...Im gonna somehow try to enjoy every game the rest of the way.

Im trying to remember how I survived this last year.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 23, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

It is very sad the season has come to this. The caps are more than capable of digging themselves out of this hole, but the question is: will they?

I keep the faith and I hope we can at least win friday. Ending the playoffs in your arena sucks.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 23, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe some of the things I read in here any more. The Capitals have DOMINATED the Rangers, COMPLETELY DOMINATED. The Caps played a complete game yesterday. There was a ton of traffic in front of Lundqvist, especially in the second. When are fans going to just take a look at what has happened so far in disbelief instead of trying to add insight in what needs to be done. It looks like friggin' boys playing men out there, except for Lundqvist of course.

I am tired of reading the crap about the odds of coming back too. There are not two evenly matched teams. The Rangers didn't do anything differently in game 4, Lundqvist made some nice saves, lucky saves, and had his ear drums rocked by two shots that hit the post that he was badly beaten on.

This series is not over because the Caps are THAT much better than the Rangers. The years that the Caps blew 3-1 leads were not because they choked, it was because the teams that came back on them were superior teams. This is the same case, except that the Caps are a superior team. One at a time boys.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Well here it is. Once again we got comfortable after we beat a team. We come out in the 4th game down 2-1 and play half-ass for the first half and then decide we want to turn it up for the last half of the game after lundquist is warmed up. You dont win playoff games like that.

Also there are only a few players that have stood out to me in this series (Bradley, Gordon, Laich, Jurcina, pothier and Erskine). These are the only guys that i have seen going balls to the wall for 60 mins. Something wrong with this picture. I could throw backstrom in there as well. I really only noticed Semin in one game this series. OV hasn't been bad the last 2 games. Kozlov I actually noticed last night, and Federov seems like he hasn't really been there. Point is we need all these guys to come out for 60 mins if we want to win a series. Everyone has to hustle and drive the net(which we did 1 game).

Its frustrating to watch them tear up a team for the last 30 mins of a game and know that if they would have done that earlier they wouldn't have been in that position. The last half of the game the puck was barely even in our own end. If this effort would have occured before we were down 2-0 they may have never even scored those goals and we may have had more opportunities.

Sorry for the rant just frustrated.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 23, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The little salute to the fans in MSG by the Rangers is nice, however, I would have been embarrased to partake in that if my name was not Lundqvist last night. Take him out of the game and it's a blowout in the Caps favor.

BTW, Varly did have the one bad goal but his save percentage was still above 90%, and he gave us a chance to win.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Fanhock1... Your not seeing reality. The rangers are not dominant and neither are the caps. Men vs boys? LOL come on, what games have you been watching, there is a reason nearly every shot comes from the outside and that is the rangers team d keeping the puck there, your caps arnt able to get inside and screen lundqvist while getting the puck through the d at the same time. Face it, these teams are very closly matched, and this time the rangers are comeing out on top. If the had to replay all the games perhaps it would be reverse. The rangers have a slot of experianced guys and they are working hard for everything, maybe the caps problem is like yours, underestemating a good team.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Caps have COMPLETELY dominated this series, but they are down 3-1. What does that say about this team? We are the CUBS of NHL. No luck and cursed!

Posted by: 555Mass | April 23, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1: I don't know if you will be back in here today or not dude but you are full of crap. You stated in the middle of the night that the Rangers have been playing playoff hockey for some time now. They earned less points than the Caps in the last 21 games so that's not true. If playing "playoff hockey" as you put it is getting dominated then you are spot on. The Rangers are benefitting from outstanding goal keeping but it won't be enough to bring the Rangers much further this year. I still think the Caps will come back. Will you be here to say you were wrong?

By the way good goaltending will win Stanley Cups, but not if the rest of the team does not show up. The Rangers are a joke.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Yet another 1-goal loss. Couple the Rangers' defensive zone coverage & tendency to block shots along with King Henrik and you definitely have a team that can rival the best offense. It's easy to point the finger at the Caps for not performing when it counts but this hurts more because we really are unable to do anything against a team who shields their top goalie pretty well. They got away from that in game 3 and we ran around easily (cross ice passes anyone?)...

Before this started, I definitely wanted Montreal instead of the NY Lundqvists... you just knew the goalie had the power to make the biggest difference.

Posted by: rh71 | April 23, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

oh and about Green... something is really wrong when you don't see him even attempt to rush the puck up the ice or join a rush (much like Pothier did last night). I think I've seen it only 2 or 3 times from Green this series... and one was because he was just coming out of the box. Something is wrong.

Posted by: rh71 | April 23, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Fan...how many points each team got in the last 21 isn't relevant and shows your ignorance about hockey and each teams mindset. And to win more than lose and to have 3 or more goals in 11 of those 21 games with the best pk in the NHL in must win games to make the playoffs is alot more than the caps costing into the post season with games they could have lost and still had at least the third seed. The rangers brought that fight into games 1 and 2 the caps had to develope it, and by the time they started to they were down two games. It happens, alot, and regardless of how you try to spin it, all the teams that make the playoffs are capable of beating each other in a series if the play well.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Also, the rangers may not be as good ofensivly as the caps or have their flashy players, but they have 3 solid lines and a great pk, great goaltending and as a group a very good d. Last time I checked haveing those things counts, and winning with good D, a great pk and a netminder who can shut down any shots that get through still counts in the "W" colum. Get over it, the caps one dimentional aproch is failing, you need more than flash and dash on offense and the PP, and one player can't carry a team if he is a wingger, the rangers when on their game can beat any team in the NHL, and yes, they did win against the bruins this year, as well as the ducks on the road and except for a two week stretch were in every game, even those they lost. You can't make the rangers a bad team just by wishing it.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

This is the biggest load of crap.
"the Caps have dominated." How odd that they are down 3-1. Becasue they don't show up for 60 minutes. Get real. I love the team too,but you don't dominate a series and be in this situation. That's a crock.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 23, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

If the Rangers had a solid D, they would be able to avoid getting peppered all series long.

They are stealing it...and we are playing like easy theft targets...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 23, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

anyone who knows anything knows the rangers havnt been peppers...wait oh yeah, those 75+ shots from to top of the circle whith no screen in front of lundqvist! LOL great job, the caps forwards kept him warm, kinda like warmups when they make the umbrella and shoot at the goalies pads! Try getting only quality shots , if anyone watched any rangers games, when the announcers start talking about how few shots the rangers are giving up lundqvist let's in a weak one, he gets board and loses focus. So I'm happy to see pointless shots taken from the bluline, males guys on the caps feel
Good and gives the Rangers the puck back

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Well last night was disappointing. I agree something is just not right with Green. Maybe it is physical, maybe it is mental. Whatever the case is, I hope for his sake that he gets it in order.

Several things stood out to me last night. First, I expected us to come out like gangbusters last night. Getting an early lead would have not only silenced the crowd but would also have planted the seed of doubt in the Ranger's heads. Instead it seemed to me like we sat back. I don't understand that strategy after we were so successful in Game 3. Second, Flash on the first PP unit did not work. Okay, maybe try it at first, but by the third or fourth PP I am not sure why Brooks Laich did not replace him. I know I am biased when it comes to #21, but he seems to have the skill set and character we needed to be on the ice at that point more than Flash. Finally, Avery will continue to play like a horses rear end until every time he gets put in the box the other team scores. If we had scored on even one of those PPs, not only do I think our chances of a win were better, I think Torts might have killed him (ergo no need to even talk about possible suspensions).

Posted by: Kim-3 | April 23, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: Don't try to make yourself out to be some hockey expert by stating I am ingnorant. Your TEAM has not shown up, Lundqvist has. I was at both games 1 and 2 and the Caps dominated those as well. Your boys scored a goal off of a shot that was going wide and bounced off our our D-man's stick, and the other was off of a rookie mistake. Otherwise your Ranger's had pressure in the Caps zone on few other occasions. THAT is the game I saw last night, and that was the Caps men dominating the Rangers boys.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

@ridgely1
Have you been watching any of the games? NYR scored one goal and the other was scored by a Cap last night. And in game 2, scored on 2 on 1. NYR scored 3 goals in last 3 games. You don't call that being lucky???? My point is this team gets ZERO breaks!

Posted by: 555Mass | April 23, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

The rangers block tons of shots and out work the caps. Winning by one isn't luck, it's a good team game. Just because the caps got 4 in one game, 3 more than they needed who cares. The rangers scored enough to win, the caps can't muster that much when it's needed. If lundqvist was the only player showing up how is it the caps can't get good shots and can't get into good scoring position even on the PP? The caps arnt that much better, most of those points that they had more than the rangers in the regular season is from being in a crappy division. The rangers had to play 3 other tough teams six games each, if the caps had to play the flyers , pens, and devils instead of the rifraf they played I bet they bairly make the playoffs if at all. Don't get high on yourselves with the number 2 seed.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: Explain to me how a team gets outshot 17-4 in the second period against a team in which they are evenly matched. The Caps did create traffic that period too. I will never take anything away from Lundqvist, he has been a great goalie since entering the league 4 years ago, but the rest of your team is out-classed. I know Gomez and Drury have rings, and are classy NHLers, but again, they are getting dominated in this series. Lundqvist 3 Caps 1.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Desperately seeking something to lift my spirits I found this Caps related article on The Onion:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/bloodstained_gary_bettman_i

Not their best work but better than reading all of the coverage about how unlikely it is that the Caps will turn this around.

It's not over until it's over.

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 23, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Rangerfan44,
After discussing it yesterday, I guess it made sense for Torts to play Drury after all. He sneaks that tight angle shot through on one of the few mistakes Varly made. I wish they had sat one hand Drury out.

The series is not over yet, but our backs are against the wall. I sure hope that I still end up having to pay for my game 7 tickets. I haven't given up hope.

Posted by: _Mark | April 23, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Look Rangerfan44: Look at these quotes.

"Almost every whistle," Lundqvist said, about his glimpses at the scoreboard above. "The last three minutes I didn't have time to look. I felt they were circling all the time."

"They come hard when they come," Lundqvist said, after his heroics. "You are never safe against this team. They're so fast, they come right away. It felt the same as the second game in Washington."

He's not giving props to HIS team in these quotes. You know why? They're not helping!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

fan, in that period I counted 8 shots from the top of the circles, if the rangers just shot usless shots at the net they would have had more than 4. They also had a 2-0 lead, it's their game to play it safe, they kept the caps to the outside and limited their real chances. You make it sound as if there were 17 shots from the mid slot, also the rangers missed I think they said 8 shots in the 2nd, so that helps the stars look worse. I personaly don't give a hoot about shots on goal, as long as they are low percentage it doesn't matter, the rangers have a winning record when outshot, the caps take alot of low quality shots, that doesn't make them better

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Ragsfan44, we didn't play the bulk of our division games until the end (last 20~ games). At that point we would have had at a minimum a 3 seed anyways. Boston, Jersey and the Caps slept walk the rest of the way to the end of the season. And then we played our "rifraf" division.

Maybe somewhere in there you do have a point that if we had played playoff teams at the late point we wouldn't be where we are in the series, because our schedule didn't help. But, umm what happened to the middle part of your season? Maybe if you guys hadn't self imploded you would have been the 2 seed?

So bring back the patrick division!

Now get off this board, troll

Posted by: caps28fan | April 23, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Also, the "rifraf" that the Caps played gave a lot of teams trouble. We seemed to do better in general against some of the tougher teams during the regular season. Now in the playoffs, we can't seem to get it turned up again consistently.

Posted by: _Mark | April 23, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

LOL fan, any team against the wall will come hard! If it was the rangers trying not to go down 3-1 it would have been the same. So your saying that since they came on in the last 3 min they were oh so much better?well they wernt there for 57 min before that, so what dose that say?

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Caps28. Yeah if the rangers hadn't had a bad stretch they would have been a higher seed. But that just proves that these two teams are closer than 7 vs 2. For most of the season the rangers played at a top 3 or 4 in the east level. And add to that the end of the season was all teams in or still fighting for playoff position, they had the hardest last 10-15 games in the east, and they made it in, they are a good TEAM. The caps right now are a collection ofngreat individual players, and that is the gl and coaching staffs fault, not the players

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: It's too bad that you have blinders on to the point that you don't believe the Caps are a better team. When the Caps played the Rangers in the 93-94 playoffs in the 2nd round on the Rangers way to the Stanley Cup I knew the Rangers were a better team. As a fan you should be able to accept when your team is good, and when your team is lucky. Here's the entire article I pulled the quotes from.

The reporter for that article seems to believe the Rangers are in an unlikely position.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/rangers/2009/04/22/2009-04-22_try_as_capitals_might_henrik_lundqvist_is_finding_right_answers.html

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I would gladly take the old Patrick division lineup again. They would be tough games and there is plenty of passion still between those teams. I don't see the same intensity or rivalrys with the Southeast division teams. For me it's still the Rangers, Pens, and Flyers that evoke the most emotion because I still remember sitting in the Cap Centre for the knock down drag out games with the nasty opposing team fans swarming. I guess I just can't let those memories go.

Posted by: _Mark | April 23, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: What is this last 3 min junk. After the Drury goal the Caps DOMINATED the remainder of the game. D O M I N A T E D!!!! It wasn't only the last 3 minutes.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

There is some luck yes. But let's not forget that game 3 was nearly 1-1 instead of 2-0 and that callahan in total has hit 5 posts. There is luck both ways. This rangers team is a better TEAM, the caps have better players. Haveing better players doesn't always work out, and really they have better forwards on the top two lines, the rangers have better d and more balance and better goaltending. I called rangers in 6, and I didn't expectva 3-1 lead, I expected 2-2 at this point and for the rangers to steal game 5 on the road and otherwise have home teams win, so yeah, it's kinda inlikly they have a chance to win in 5, but I think it may still take 6

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Until the Caps start wanting to get dirty we wont win... Guys like Fehr, Liach, Steckel and some of our prima donna's need to crash the net and get the dirty goals.. Im sick of seeing shots from the blueline and lundquist saving them...

Im also sick of taking off the first 2 periods... Enough... get dirty and win the next 2 games! Lets at least get this series tied...

Posted by: darrylrbaker | April 23, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

With all due respect to Katie, who does a fabulous job on the reading list, the link she posted for the Bears is just a blog entry from Tim Leone. Here is the full article:

http://www.pennlive.com/hersheybears/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/sports/1240459806252940.xml&coll=1


Posted by: tess2201 | April 23, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Fan, they difnt dominated everything. Their PP sucked, they couldn't get high quality shots, they couldn't get to rebounds, and the rangers still had scoreing chances and varlimove still had to make a few good saves. Skating in figure rights than shooting from 60 feet isn't dominating, it's looking like a cat with no claws

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't matter right now who wins this one anyway...cause with the current play of both teams, whoever wins is going to get smoked next round against Boston. So Rangers fans, if you make it to the next round make sure you come back here when your down 0-3 so we can tell you whats wrong with your team.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 23, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised the Caps didn't come out with the same intensity as Game 3, not getting the first goal gave the Rags hope. The Caps don't take the puck to the net enough.
And seeing Dino's name on the screen was enlightening; the Caps need someone like that who is tough and can score down low.(like Clarkie used to be)

Posted by: Max231 | April 23, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I doubt the rangers or caps would star 0-3 against Boston. They are going to sitting around for a week, any team will lose it's edge a bit, I am never shocked to see those teams strugle to get going again. Happens to the rangers when they swept atlanta, took almost two games too look look the same in the second round. Anyway, the games against Boston this year for the rangers were all good games, and any team has a chance in round 2.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

PART 1
Haven't had time to read any comments yet and I'm sure many are reacting emotionally because we lost and are down 3-1. The fact of the matter is that we played a great game last night and Henrik simply stole it from us again. After the first 10 minutes when I was thinking "wow, the Rangers really came to play" we completely took over and dominated the game. We had tons of great chances to score and Lundqvist was under tremendous barrage, but somehow managed to only let in one. The Rangers got 2 very lucky goals (a crazy deflection and an unfortunate error by Varly) and held on thanks to their amazing goalie and a couple and some luck (a few shots off the frame). I mean this game reminded me of a game in the Olympics when Russia or Canada play a country like Italy or France. That's how much we dominated. Don't say we didn't bring it last night and don't blame the players. We brought it in wave after wave and it's remarkable that they were able to survive.

What's really frustrating to me as a Caps fan is that if you really look at every game objectively we could have easily swept the Rangers 4-0 at this point, but instead are on the verge of elimination. Think about it.

Game 1. We totally outplayed them and outchanced them, but Theodore gifted it to them.

Game 2. Once again we dominated the entire game, yet they were able to hang on to 1 goal on a counter attack due to amazing goaltending by Henrik.

Game 3. We dominated and won.

Game 4. We dominated once again, even more so than in game 2 and yet we lost again due to absolutely mind boggling goaltending by Lundqvist.

Posted by: ranndino | April 23, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

PART 2
So no, I would not blame the players. They've done what they can. Like Boudreau said in one of his interviews people tend to judge based solely on the results. They're welcome to do so, but objectively speaking we've outplayed the Rangers in every game in this series and have performed very well. With a bit more luck and even average performance or 2 by Lundqvist we could have finished them off last night by winning all 4 games.

This is the reason I still believe that we can do it. While it looks frustrating to us think about the pressure Lundqvist has been under. He looked absolutely exhausted and almost shell shocked in his post game interview on Versus last night. He was saying what an unbelievably skilled team we are and I'm sure he's wondering if he can keep doing what he's doing.

As for us, I hate to say it because I don't like it when teams run goalies, but if that's what we have to do to get Henrik off his game we have to stop being nice. If you've watched the other series when teams found it difficult to score they have not shied away from running opposing goalies. Calgary has done it to Khabi, the Flyers have done it to Fleury, the Ducks to Nabby and so on. We're real desperate now and gotta do what we gotta do and not worry about sportsmanship or being nice.

I hope that all those bandwagon fans who don't know that much about the game will not blame our team and will continue to support it until the very end. Remember that we came back from 3-1 to even it at 3-3 last year and it was in a much more even series than this one in terms of play.

The fat lady hasn't sung yet and the next game is at home. Come out and give our boys all the support they need. They've played great, but have simply run into a goalie that's playing out of his mind. They deserve our support. The people who have given up already aren't true fans and I really have no respect for them. You have to look past just the results when evaluating performance. The only reason the Rangers are even in this series is Henrik.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: ranndino | April 23, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

If the caps are eliminated someone on the caps should give Avery a cheap shot and insure an injury. So what if you get suspended the start of next season.

Posted by: rockbroker | April 23, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

AnywY I can tell you the rangers problem. They have a HORID powerplay and don't have a game changer on offense, so if they don't follow their system perfectly, they get bear badly, like game 3. But if they are dicipline and stay in their game they are hard to beat.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: so all of the nationwide articles about how lundqvist stood on his head to yet again to beat an offensively superior team is BS. A goalie doesn't get the accolades that Lundqvist is/has been getting by making 30+ routine "clawless" saves. Yes the Caps need to generate more traffic but Lundqvist made unbelievable saves while being screened in the 2nd. Not sure if MSG channel or Versus was giving live action views from behind the Rangers net in the 2nd but Comcast here in DC was. There were a comple of sequences where Lundqvist made saves on shots that he did not see. Again, I won't take anything away from Lundqvist, good positioning by the goaltender is key to have shots hit you when you can't see them. Out of the Caps 39 shots at least 25 of them were good quality shots that Lundqvist made nice saves on. Remember, a great goalie, especially when hot, can make great shots look routine.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 23, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

@Ranndino.. You said it in your post.. We need to crash the net.. I agree with everything you said, However.. Our shot selection last night was horrible.. Go back to game 3 and see where all the goals were scored. Last night it was back to taking 50ft shots... Lundquist well stop all those any day not matter how tired he his.

We can come back if these guys commit to playing like they did in Game 3 and not like Game 2 and 4. I dont count 1 because we were sloppy and JT was horrible!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | April 23, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

When the Caps finally show up for the playoffs and win a round, I guarantee you I will not spend my time on the other teams board trying to argue about who is better. What a tool.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 23, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm fairly confident they win Friday, but when they go back to MSG, what then? Do they run into the "hot goaltender" problem again. From now on it's 1 and done and that's something this team is not good at handling.

Posted by: ejohnsto | April 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Sadly Its over. The Playoffs are totatly different. Goaltending and strong tough defense usually wins. Something most Caps fans including myself forgot in the total offensely awesome season they had. They still havent found a true no 1 goalie and are missing at least one Pronger type of defensemen to be a real contender next year.

Posted by: musicburgler | April 23, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Can ANYONE plese explain how Avery didn't get suspended for his BS antics in game 3? That is the textbook example of "sending a message" but yet, the most guilty HACK in teh NHL is playing last night. I guess the Rags have the home ice advantage because they play in the NHL HQ backyard. What a farce this game has become. The officiating this season, regular and playoffs, is just the worst I've ever seen.

Posted by: jwash4472 | April 23, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Prior to the series starting,some hockey "expert" on one of the websites (I forget who it was) said that the Rangers will be unable to hold off the Caps offense and that NY has to hope that most of the Caps' goals come in bunches in a couple of games where the Caps win big and that NY can win 4 squeakers. So far he is exactly right. We won big one game and they won 3 squeakers. I think we will win big in game 5, but can we win a squeaker(s) in games 6 and 7?

Amazingly Caps were 1 1/2 goal favorites last night.

The most impressive thing about Lundquist is not that he has made so many brilliant saves ( because most of the saves have been routine) but that he has not made one mistake in 4 games. Our goalies have made 3 mistakes ( Theo 2, Varly 1) and it cost 2 games. This reminds me of the playoffs against Billy Smith. Same thing . He just wouldn't make an error.

Lastly, the "absence" of Green is mystifying. Not once ( I think) have we been able to work the back door play with him on the power play and he just has done very little overall. You have to give the Rangers credit for allowing mostly harmless shots from the perimeter. In game 3, all 4 goals came from within 15 feet. Does this tell us something? Is it possible we will see Chris Clarke in game 5? He goes to the net and a brave performance would certainly inspire the boys. Sit Brash, move Steckel back to the 4th line and let Chris have a chance. We are desperate.

If we lose this series, it will be one of, if not the most, disappointing losses in our playoff history and a tremendous amount of goodwill that we built up in this area will go down the drain.

Posted by: pdanziger | April 23, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

If you don't count the goalies, the Caps are better than the Rangers. I think that's been fairly obvious throughout the series. The problem is they aren't SO MUCH better than the Rangers that they can consistently overcome the goalie differential. So, you end up with three very close games that just happened to go the Rangers' way, plus one game where the Caps blew them out. The holes are obvious - our physical, "defensive-minded" defensemen are relatively slow and not particularly talented at defending people (unless they "raise their game" to a level of basic competence, like Erskine has done this series), and our "grinders" aren't actually very gifted at that, since they almost never score (even when they have those "good shifts" that get everyone excited) and don't seem to be especially talented at shutting down the other team's top lines or killing penalties. Guys like Gordon, Steckel, and Bradley, while you can't fault their effort, are simply not good enough players to be our only real grinders/defensive forwards (not counting Brashear, who's more fighter than grinder). I think we COULD do OK in the playoffs with our current roster, and would probably be tied or leading now absent Theo's meltdown in game 1. But it's not gonna happen consistently when our roster has neither high-caliber defensive defensmen OR high-caliber defensive forwards. If we had a few legit defenders to match up against NY's few competent offensive players, the Rangers would probably have two goals this series, or else the Rangers would have to take more offensive risks, thus, giving our offensive talent more room to operate. As it is now, the Rangers can play an almost completely defense-oriented game -- which is basically the only way to consistently shut down the Caps' offense - but still know that they'll probably score enough to win because the Caps have so little defensive talent.

Posted by: bbposter09 | April 23, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Eveyone has over-analyzed last night's game. The bottom-line is this:

1. Rangers had better goaltending
2. Rangers dominated defensively.
3. Rangers dominated faceoffs.

Nothing else matters. Our only hope at this point is to:

1. Crash the net more.
2. Disrupt their defense.
3. Win Faceoffs.

Is this really so complicated?

The time for grind and grit over an entire 60 minutes has arrived. If the Caps figure this out they can easily come back. If not - let's enjoy the game on Friday as the last of an otherwise fun season.

Posted by: eyechip | April 23, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The fat lady is warming up.....big time.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Listen Caps fans, I'm a Rangers fan and you're being way too hard on your team. I was there last night....the Caps dominated that second period and most of the third. You've run up against a hot goalie, which is often the difference maker in the playoffs. I don't mean this disrespectfully at all, this series reminds me of 86 when the Rangers ran up against Roy in Montreal, outplayed them and couldn't win the series. Ovie was a monster last night. The Rangers game plan is to weather the storm and try to get a puck or two in the goal and they've been successful. Don't get on Ovie, he's been very good...though Green seems to not raising his game much this series. The one thing that the Rangers did last night that was very successful was to try to keep the Caps to the outside, so that Lundqvist could see in front of him.
Also, Avery is killing the Rangers. I'm a Rangers fan and an Avery fan (he has to be on your team to love him, trust me), but his penalties have been BAD. That last penalty was awful. It presents a big problem for Torts since Avery also brings a lot of speed and forechecking ability (which is why he was out there at that stage of the game anyway). In game 5 if i'm a betting man, I say we see more Sjostrom and less Avery.
This is one of those series where the Caps can't do much more than what they're doing, the Rangers are just grinding it out and riding some very hot goaltending. If I'm the Caps GM (former Ranger by the way), assuming that they lose the series (and I'm basing it on the percentages and not being a jerk), I go into the offseason and build a new line to compliment Ovie's line....a grinding, banging, put the puck in the corner, go after it and wear down the defense type of line. Thats what I see that you guys don't seem to have. In the regular season your current set up is going to work well but the playoffs are a different style altogether. This all being said, look at the ages of your best players....you have a bright future down in DC, even if they lose game 5, give them a nice cheer at the end, they deserve it and wiil no doubt learn from this going forward.

Posted by: JK111 | April 23, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

As fans we have to hope that the Caps can win a game at home for their fan base. But the problem is they will be pressing too hard and grinding their sticks into sawdust.

I'm not sure anyone else sees this but for me, I see a team that has no galvinizing force that will get them over the top. I keep saying it and I will say it again. Bring in some grit on wing and defense. You can't win in the playoffs without it. Mcphee was never on a Stanley Cup winning team so he just does not understand the importance of the youth/veteran approach. It's also about signing and trading for the right veterans. The Nylander Kozlov Poti and Theodore are servicable professionals but not the type of gritty, edgy guys you want when it comes playoff time. Ladies and Gentlemen the playoffs are about chemistry, balance and a undying committment to winning. It is not all about talent. We have the young guns and then what do we have?

Posted by: diner99 | April 23, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

ranndino-

I totally agree with most of what you said (ok I skimmed it, but I caught the major points) but I do disagree with one major thing- I didn't think we looked good last night aside from the 3rd. Honestly I was sitting there in the stands yelling at them, seeing if maybe I could wake them up. I don't know if the Rangers just had us running around more but our guys looked so tired and slow. We picked up the shots in the 2nd but it still felt like we were working on their pace, not our own. Very frustrating. In the 3rd I thought we could totally catch up and get it to OT, but thats where the goalie comes in. If (Gd forbid) the Rangers win the cup, only henrik's name should be on there.

And speaking from experience, I'm still proud to be a caps fan, still love our guys. Walked out of MSG heartbroken but jersey on and head held high. It's frustrating as hell but a)We've been through worse times b)considering its been 1 1/2 years since we were in the bottom of the league, our transformation is still pretty impressive.

It's not over yet, but even if we get knocked out Friday you still gotta love our guys. And just hope that sometime soon we can overcome this round 1 curse...guess it serves me right for wanting to play nyc vs the habs...

PS- to my surprise (bc I've been a Jurcina hater) Jurcina has really impressed me the past couple games, while Green looks like someone shot his puppy. Seriously, is Greenie ok?

Posted by: mrszilla | April 23, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

JK111-

Thanks for that... nice to hear it coming from the other side. Honestly you guys have really surprised everyone, so I give you props for that. We are pretty hard on our team (at least in here) and we do forget how young our team is. We expect a lot from them because we know they have the potential, but maybe all they need is more time.

And I agree about Avery. I can see how he could be so useful, but honestly, if I were GM, you couldn't pay me to take him on my team. The best thing we have done this series is exploit his aggression, sending him to the box constantly. Stupid calls or not, the guy just gets himself into trouble 24/7. Now if only we could score on those pp...

Posted by: mrszilla | April 23, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

JK111- very good and reasonable points.

Avery's shot was a minor penalty and nothing more. If you're going to start handing out suspensions for that, then you better have 40-player rosters. Until you go to no-touch icing, Avery has every right to pursue the puck. He doesn't have the right to take a roughing minor, but in a close game...there's no way that can be any more than a minor penalty (if he used his stick then maybe a double minor).

Avery has reverted to dummy mode; that's six minor penalties in two games. It's clear that Washington isn't listening to his constant chirping. The only Ranger who might be inside their head is Lundqvist.

NYR have scored three goals in 3 games since Washington switched goalies. Total. Varlamov has a 1.00 GAA in 3 games (you can't ask for much more than that).

If Washington gets another 7 PP chances on Friday and Varlamov can hold NYR to one goal, there will be a Game 6. Oh, and crash the net. If Washington had a player like Detroit's Holmstrom (a net crasher who can screen the goalie and score a ton of dirty goals) this series is over.

Posted by: jcurrin | April 23, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't last year against philly have been the real eye opener?

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 23, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan44-

different year, different team (on both sides) and most importantly- different opposing goalie...I think you can carry over experience but unfortunately that doesn't automatically lead to wins. Otherwise the Habs would probably win every year.

Really like Varly though, more than Huet. Thought Huet was good but a headcase, he would get visibly shaken by the constant goal crashing, Varly is a cool customer. If it's because he can't understand the chirping then so be it, we'll all sabotage his english lessons.

Does anyone else think the expectations on our team are hurting us?

Posted by: mrszilla | April 23, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

mrszilla, I understand why you guys are hard on them, its very frustrating. I think I'd rather my team get blown out in a series than do everything right because at least that way you don't second guess everything happening.

I think the one thing that you guys aren't acknowledging is the Rangers' depth. Guys who are playing on the third and fourth lines are playing very well. While they don't have a true offensive game breaker, they also don't have a weak line or a line that doesn't buy into the game plan. Yes Lundqvist is their MVP but the team concept is big.

I like what I've seen from Varly, but I'd reserve judgment on his future till I see him for a full year in net. You never know what might happen if teams have a full year to scout him and find out his tendencies. Every year you have a september call up in baseball who absolutely crushes the ball and then tank the following year when pitchers figure out how to pitch to him. I'm not saying Varly is going to tank because he shows talent, but being a successful goalie is not just about talent, its also about making the right adjustments. He also doesn't seem rattled by the playoffs, which is big.


Posted by: JK111 | April 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I've watched 80 of 82 Caps games this year and despite all odds I still believe we can beat the Rangers.

To do so is pretty simple...play every minute as if you are trailing by two goals, play 60 minutes of hockey instead of the usual 30-40 minutes, hit everything that moves and create traffic at the net.

If we're not pepared to do that and sacrifice the body then we don't deserve to win. And in this regard I have yet to see Koslov lay someone out with a hard check...last night he took a guy into the boards as if he wanted to make love to him.

Come on Caps you can do better and we who keep the faith deserve better.

GO CAPS!

We've worked hard toget to this point...let's not fold like a cheap suit

Posted by: capper3 | April 23, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Other than Lundquist and that r-tard Avery, the other players are unregisterable on anyone's radar? Better team?!!! *snicker* There were other people on the ice for the Rangers besides the goalie and r-tard?!! Wow, how forgettable they are! The Caps are really only playing against one person and that's Lundquist. To give credit to what passes off as a hockey "team", is laughable.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 23, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

LeftCoastCapsFan, your post would have a lot more credibility if the caps weren't down 3-1, particularly since there are more than a few Caps who haven't bothered to show up yet in the series.

But other than Lundqvist and Avery, how about Dubinsky winning 15 out of 17 faceoffs last night? Or Callahan's hustle through this whole series (Callahan is so underappreciated). Have you watched the Rangers' penalty kill at all this series? Did you see Drury, nursing what is most likely a broken hand, gutting it out last night and scoring the game winning goal?

So before you "snicker" that the Rangers aren't the better team this series and say things about how there's no one on the ice besides the goalie and Avery, you might want to look at the final score of the first 4 games. Your failure to acknowledge that the many little things that the Rangers have done to control this series (and I give a lot of credit to the Caps who have played well) is insulting to real hockey fans, including the many good Caps fans out there.

Posted by: JK111 | April 23, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

JK111: I am happy that you are pointing out the obvious of why we lost as everyone seems to be looking at the less-than-obvious in over-analyzing last night . As I said earlier: the biggest aspect of our breakdown was the face off. Allowing Dubinsky to win 15 of 17 was horrible.....leading to their first goal just one clear result. It also hampered many an offensive opportunity for us. Look at our face-off stats for Monday. If we put up those same numbers we would have won last night.

Posted by: eyechip | April 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately JK111 is absolutely right. The Rangers are the better team in this series. Once this year is over, the ownership will have to address the overall scope of work done by GMGM. Yes, he signed Ovechkin. I mean if you would have taken Malkin you would have gotten a winner either way. Yes, Semin has talent but he is equally enigmatic as a Jagr. Atleast Jagr won those Cups because he was on the back of #66. Backstrom was another great pick but any of the top 6 picks in that draft were said to be ready. We may be turning the corner or drafting, however our pro scouting seems to be lacking. We are unable to make the right signings in free agency. We tend to take finesse over grit. You have to build your team for the playoffs. The trade deadline gives each NHL team an opportunity to tweak their squad. Everyone that is having success in the playoffs made the right tweeks while we stood pat. Tell me Guerin or Recchi, Morris or Leopold would not have helped this squad "Grit Factor" and I will tell you i'm selling some swamp land in Florida.

Posted by: diner99 | April 23, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Agree with JK111 on a number of points, but the bottom line is that Lundquist has essentially won two games by himself (Games 2 and 4). The faceoff percentage was horrific but the Caps dominated the last two periods and had enough quality chances to score 4 or 5 goals against a goalie not of the caliber of Lundqvist. Even the two shots that got past him either hit the crossbar or post.

This is one of those series where a hot goaltender carried the team with lesser talent on his back. Read Pierre LeBrun's column today about the 1993 Quebec-Montreal series and you'll see the similarities of Lundquist and Patrick Roy. Also, Varlamov made a rookie mistake that gave Drury the 2nd goal...big difference that experience in goal makes.

I'm a huge Caps fan and am hoping we can break through againt Lundquist, but I don't see us winning 3 straight.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, so how come all of a sudden they start dominating on face-offs. What did they (or we) do differently? I think that had a big effect on the outcome of the game.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 23, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The better team will win this series by the very fact that they win it.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 23, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I probably should say organization rather than team.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 23, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Define a "real" hockey fan. Because in all honesty, I've never claimed to know more about hockey than anyone on here. In listening and reading what I can on the games, no one else on the Rangers' team is being cited as having any impact other than Lundquist and Avery. And no, I'm not spouting out the opinions of others and passing them off as my own. I actually agree with them, with my base knowledge of hockey that you're quick to look down on me for.

And if you're insulted by my comment, then you probably have nothing better to do than take posts personally. *snicker*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The people who can't stop complaining about Fedorov's play in game 4 should note the following:

One of the shots off the post-cross bar was his. It was a laser and had Lundquist beat. The great game had by Kozlov was just as much due to his being on Fedorov's wing. Sergei kept carrying the puck into the zone and almost all of his passes to Viktor were tape-to-tape. In addition Fedorov played 20 minutes plus. Given Green's slump maybe someone should think about moving Sergei from center to defence for game 5. No one on the team can make a better outlet pass than Fedorov.

Posted by: dwollkind | April 24, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

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