Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Capitals frustrate Lightning's system in 5-2 win

By Katie Carrera

For two days the Capitals focused on nothing but how to foil the Lightning and its smothering neutral zone system. The plan Coach Bruce Boudreau and the rest of the staff came up with centered on forcing Tampa Bay to make the first move, even if it meant the defensemen would pass back and forth in mind-numbing fashion until the Lightning flinched.

When Washington established a lead it was able to put that strategy into full swing, bringing frustration from the Lightning and boos from the crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"All it was, was just see what's going to happen. We had a play that we could do if we wanted to and we just tried to wait them out," Karl Alzner said. "We were just trying to see what's going to work against these guys and they stick to their system real well. They're patient, very patient and so you saw a couple times when they did come after us we made a couple plays. It's not pretty, but it worked. You've got to do something like that sometimes."

Boudreau wagered that Lightning Coach Guy Boucher would engineer a way to counteract the solution, but what he was most pleased with after the 5-2 victory was how well all of the Capitals' stuck to the plan for an entire game.

"We had a chance for the first time in a long time, we just focused and practiced on beating Tampa it was what our whole focus was," Boudreau said of the two days off. "It was just about going over a lot of video on them, and we don't have the luxury to do that a lot of times and we did. That I don't think was half as important as the commitment the players had tonight. You could see every one of them were committed to doing the right thing, and they did. We got a couple lucky breaks and won the game."

The commitment was everywhere on the ice as the Capitals drove the net, appeared to knock Dwayne Roloson off his game (in Matt Hendricks's case literally so) and build off momentum gained on each shift.

"We kept the puck in there and we kept the puck deep," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "We had the puck longer in their offensive zone every shift, and that's what we need if we're going to create chances like we did today."

--Speaking of Hendricks, aside from his high-sticking penalty that led to the power-play goal by Brett Clark, it was a pretty good night for the gritty forward. The Capitals had chances against Roloson early, but when Hendricks went barreling into the crease and prompted the veteran goaltender to start punching away, things started to change.

Henrdicks answered Steve Downie's challenge after that incident and continues to help fuel the Capitals with his own brand of intensity.

--Alex Ovechkin's power-play goal was his first since Oct. 30 in Calgary and just his third on the man-advantage this season. This was also Ovechkin's first four-point game of the year.

--It was Backstrom's first two-goal game since Dec. 1 in St. Louis.

--The Capitals scored five goals for the first time since Dec. 21 against the Devils with a power-play goal and four-on-four tally to go with it. "Power-play, four-on-four, empty-net: All of those things were good," Boudreau said. "And we had chances for more, but that's the most offense we've had, even if we didn't score, in an awful long time."

By Katie Carrera  | February 4, 2011; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom, Tampa Bay Lightning  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Varlamov to start against Lightning, Semin out
Next: Limiting Lightning's transition game a key for Capitals

Comments

"We got a couple lucky breaks and won the game."

sometimes your own hard work creates your lucky breaks. do it again on sunday boys!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 5, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Need that kind of effort every game if we want to go far in the playoffs.I still think # 17 needs to get in more games to counteract the crap that's coming down the road. When Semin comes back, I would sit Beagle and Gordon.

Posted by: roccky | February 5, 2011 1:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but what an idiotic thing for Boudreau to say.

Here I was on the other thread giving him credit for implementing a new strategy, the "4 Corners," to counterract the Trap.

And he comes out and says we got some lucky breaks.

No. NO. NO! The Caps got no "Lucky breaks" tonight. If anything, the phantom call on Chimera, went against them.

Caps got 4 goals from hard work and Tampa got 2 goals from beautifully placed shots by Purcell.

Jesus H Christ, Bruce, can't you see your team played well?

Excuse me for giving him credit. Maybe it was Green on the fly who invented that 4 corners thing.

OK, let's make Green the coach then.

Cuz Boudreau obviously has no earthly F-K clue.

Memo to George McPhee and Ted Leonsis - get this character off the bench while we still have a chance. He doesn't even know when he does something right. I hate to simply call him an idiot, except that WHEN THE SHOE FITS...

CINDERELLA MUST GO! NOW!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 5, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

^^^^^ DRUNK

Posted by: cnewso01 | February 5, 2011 1:39 AM | Report abuse

^^^^^IDIOT

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 5, 2011 1:43 AM | Report abuse

^^^^^x2 NOT WRONG IDIOT

We kid because we love, tomin. A couple more of these late night anti-Boudreau screeds, though, and you'll forfeit your right to fence-sitter-dom.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 5, 2011 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Cmon Tominsocal, BB was showing a little humility and expecting more great play in the future. You can bet he gave the guys plenty of credit in the room. Lighten up, man.

Posted by: Justafan | February 5, 2011 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey, well, I don't know what the fk to say. The team plays its best game in 5 weeks. You'd think the coach could stand up and say, "Lookit, we just had a great effort against a great team. But unless we copy and paste repeatedly from now until the Playoffs, it doesn't mean squat."

Instead, after one of our most solid efforts of the year, he talked about lucky breaks. I watched the game. Did you watch the game? Did the Caps get even one lucky break?

It was Tampa who benefitted from the officiating and it was a Tampa goal that was off their player's glove. This was a solid Caps effort with nothing lucky about it. The coach should at least say as much.

I'm off to the beach tomorrow. Y'all can argue about it.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 5, 2011 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy.

It was a great game plan and great execution. A joy to watch, but you're right, it was due to a lot of hard work.

Finally.

Posted by: Justafan | February 5, 2011 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Tom in SoCal clearly wants Ron Wilson back, where he takes all the credit for wins and blames all the losses on the players. Everything in hockey is "lucky breaks" to lifers because they have been conditioned to have almost 0 ego or personality.

Get a grip son.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 5, 2011 6:33 AM | Report abuse

How about a standing ovation to Bruce and his coaching staff for finding a unique way to break the Neutral Zone lock/Trap? I'm being serious.

For a long time, there was only one way to "break the trap" -- a league-wide post-lockout commitment to enforcing holding and interference penalties. But, in the 2010 playoffs, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Chicago played a trap style of hockey. The trap is how Montreal beat the Caps and Penguins and it's the defensive style employed by Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Montreal, and Minnesota. Watch Philly; they stand four guys up in the neutral zone within the game's first ten minutes. If any one of those teams gets a lead - whether it's with 5 minutes to go in the game or 5 minutes into the game - they stand up four players in the neutral zone. The games with this style of "commitment to defense" are ridiculously boring. In the pre-lockout era, New Jersey would score early and turn on the trap and the game would be over. A few weeks ago, I watched Philly score in the first three minutes and, the rest of the game, there were four Flyers in the neutral zone from there on out. Watch Tampa, Atlanta, and Minnesota, they camp four guys in the neutral zone from the drop of the puck. It makes games ridiculously boring. But, we must recognize, TSN and Hockey Night in Canada applaud those teams for their "commitment to defense."

If the league isn't going to enforce the interference and holding penalties, then bravo to Bruce for taking matters into his own hands and finding a new way break the trap.

(SIDE NOTE: Watch the Caps newfound "commitment to defense" it involves employing a trap style of hockey. This team was built for speed in a post-lockout, post-trap era. Unfortunately, the league seems to have regressed to the rodeo that was the pre-lockout, trap era.)

Posted by: Matt23185 | February 5, 2011 6:38 AM | Report abuse

How about a standing ovation to Bruce and his coaching staff for finding a unique way to break the Neutral Zone lock/Trap? I'm being serious.

For a long time, there was only one way to "break the trap" -- a league-wide post-lockout commitment to enforcing holding and interference penalties. But, in the 2010 playoffs, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Chicago played a trap style of hockey. The trap is how Montreal beat the Caps and Penguins and it's the defensive style employed by Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Montreal, and Minnesota. Watch Philly; they stand four guys up in the neutral zone within the game's first ten minutes. If any one of those teams gets a lead - whether it's with 5 minutes to go in the game or 5 minutes into the game - they stand up four players in the neutral zone. The games with this style of "commitment to defense" are ridiculously boring. In the pre-lockout era, New Jersey would score early and turn on the trap and the game would be over. A few weeks ago, I watched Philly score in the first three minutes and, the rest of the game, there were four Flyers in the neutral zone from there on out. Watch Tampa, Atlanta, and Minnesota, they camp four guys in the neutral zone from the drop of the puck. It makes games ridiculously boring. But, we must recognize, TSN and Hockey Night in Canada applaud those teams for their "commitment to defense."

If the league isn't going to enforce the interference and holding penalties, then bravo to Bruce for taking matters into his own hands and finding a new way break the trap.

(SIDE NOTE: Watch the Caps newfound "commitment to defense" it involves employing a trap style of hockey. This team was built for speed in a post-lockout, post-trap era. Unfortunately, the league seems to have regressed to the rodeo that was the pre-lockout, trap era.)

Posted by: Matt23185 | February 5, 2011 6:39 AM | Report abuse

O.K. Let's give credit where credit is due.....A simply wonderful job by the Coaching Staff on what they did last night. Let's keep it rolling!!!!!!

Posted by: CB28031 | February 5, 2011 7:02 AM | Report abuse

If we are going to give credit where credit is due, then we have to credit Hendricks. His run at Rollie made an impact. We had all the momentum, but still didn't score. I know it may have been a matter of time, but why chance it. he gave the goalie something to think about and it was never more evident than on Ovie's goal, with Knuble getting his attention. Also liked Bradley kicking ARSE. Steckel even stepped up for Boyd a few times. I was just waiting for Erskine to pummel Clownie. Even though the night truly belonged to the top line, the whole team played their roles and that gives me confidence in us.

Posted by: tomdchancar | February 5, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

tominsocial1, on Sunday take a valium and a bubble bath, grab your blankie and enjoy the game. Ugly step-sister wannabes whose shoes are too tight NEED a trip to the beach. Bou-bou has a media style that some people love, some people not so much. but if you're gonna freak out over a couple comments after a great win, might wanna find a new way to relax.

Posted by: lexes | February 5, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Note to the editors: the timestamp on this post is incorrect (AM/PM reversed) and causing it to show up in the wrong spot on the front page.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | February 5, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Nice statement last night.

Any word on Crosby's status for tomorrow? I hope he plays. I don't want Pittsburgh to have any excuses when we kick their asses. It would be great if both us, and the Packers won handily tomorrow.

First period tomorrow has the potential to be crazy.

Trade deadline wish:

Schultz, Perrault, Holtby, 3rd round pick to Ottawa

Fisher, Phillips to Washington

Posted by: underpants2 | February 5, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Tomin,

While at the beach, please visit the doofus brigade.

I usually agree with much of your posting, but this one was a little out there. As someone else mentioned, hockey players are born and bred humble people which is one reason why I like watching hockey more than any other sport.

Enjoy the surf of the Cali cold ocean.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 5, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me what the appeal of Fisher and Philips is? I have seen several posts lately about this and it's bizarre.

Fisher has never had more than 30 assists in a season - hardly the 2C we're looking for. Philips best days are behind him and is -27 this year.

Why would we trade anything for them? even players with marginal value?
They are not the answer.

Posted by: BringThePain | February 5, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

BringthePain, I agree wholeheartedly, all this talk about Fisher and Phillips is just STUPID! Neither of those guys is going to elevate this team's offense in any appreciable way. While I dont think MP is the long term answer at #2C or #3C, that trade will do nothing for us other than rob us of Eakin (who could be a superstar in waiting) and rob of us a key Dman in a year when the current group is playing the best D this team has seen in ages. If this team can commit to going 60 mins every night, with Semin and Fehr getting healthy, I think we will see that we have more of what we need to make a run at the Cup right here already than we think we do. Not saying there arent players out there who could help us, but I dont see Fisher and Phillips as being those players, and certainly not at that price.

Posted by: opticlguy | February 5, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

What idiots pay any attention to what any coach or players say after a game, especially when it goes well. Remember the scene from Bull Durham when Crash Davis is coaching Nuke LaLoush: "you have to learn your cliches, you have to work on them, you have to memorize them, they are your friends" (or something like that). Was he supposed to say "We really kicked their butts. We have devised a scheme that will keep them totally confused as long as the NHL is in existance"? geesh!

There is a good arguement that Hendrix is the most valuable Capital this year. What a great motor!

Posted by: giscone | February 5, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company