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The Caps have a lot to fear in these No. 8 Canadiens


(Graham Hughes/CP)


Some of the Capitals' main concerns entering their first-round series against the Canadiens, which begins Thursday at Verizon Center:

The dangerous power play: Montreal doesn't score a lot at even strength, but led by Brian Gionta its power play ranked second in the league. And the Capitals have struggled on the penalty kill.

The unfamiliar goalie: Jaroslav Halak has started 14 of Montreal's past 17 games, but the Capitals faced Carey Price in the teams' four meetings during the regular season.

The blinding spotlight: Expectations have never been higher for the Capitals, who will be scrutinized by media throngs from hockey-crazy Quebec, especially if former Canadien Jose Theodore starts in goal.

Click here to read the full story.

More morning reading material:

*Mike Wise: "Will old-school Caps fans finally make room for the bandwagon jumpers like me?"

*Alex Ovechkin's parents say thank you. (Bog)

*People who know, love and don't love Alex Ovechkin talk about his strength. (Bog)

*Don't park next to Alex. (Ted's Take)

*Playoff predictions from Storming the Crease, Ed Frankovic and Peerless.

*Grow a playoff beard. (Rock the Red)

The other side

*Pressure's on the Caps. (Gazette)

*Canadiens could give D.C. a run. (Gazette)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 13, 2010; 9:35 AM ET
 
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Next: Backstrom is missing from practice

Comments

From previous thread:

OviFan08: Thanks for the article. Two parts really stuck out for me. First, Backstrom saying Ovi is digging in his pockets to give to a homeless person every time he sees one. The other was how he tracks down players to trade sticks with them. I think the article mentioned he will come back from a road trip with a half dozen sticks. Ovi has said on a few occasions that he can't believe he is playing in the NHL and that it is an honor. Going after things such as sticks is something fans do. Even though he is one of the reasons the NHL is becoming more popular, he is still a fan himself. I think Ovi is one of the truly good guys in the game even though the league would like to market him as the villian.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise - sorry a little too late and you are not welcome.

Posted by: instinct227 | April 13, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Of course, the Caps have to be prepared for a savage series. This is the NHL and the Canadians made the second (or real) season. This is a team with incredible history and pride with very good players and absolutely nuts fans. If the Caps look past this series, they will be seriously hurting themselves. That being said, after last season's looking past the NYR and taking the Pens to 7, the Caps will be pumped and prepared.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | April 13, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Tarik just twittered that 19 missed practice.

Any idea why?

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 13, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If Jose plays anywhere close to the way he has been playing of late...I really don't forsee a problem....knock on wood, but maybe Jose can stick it to his old team and nab a couple shut outs or something...a girl can dream!

Posted by: capscoach | April 13, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Backei better be ok! I nearly had a heart attack when Green decided to block that shot against Boston...didn't notice anything weird about Backs though!

Posted by: capscoach | April 13, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Semin was hurt late in the 2nd on Sunday and looked uncomfortable the rest of the game.

I guess it wasn't too bad b/c he played in the 3rd. I just hope it isn't something that lingers b/c when he is on, I think we are unstoppable. When he disappears (like in Pitt series last year), we seem to have some problems.

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

As I said in previous thread:

The Caps PP was 25.2% this year. Montreal, though second, was only 21.8%; difference of 3.4%. The Caps PK was 78.8%; Montreal 83%; difference of 4.2%. Montreal's 4.2% advantage on PK is not that much more than the Caps 3.4% PP advantage. On the other hand, in 5 on 5, which is generally most of the game, we scored 1.6 times as many goals as Montreal (213 vs. 132). Let's get real folks. If the Caps lose, it will be a huge upset. Yes, I think the Caps get that it is important to stay out of the box as much as possible. That is true in every playoff series.

How about printing something about all of the Caps advantages?

LETS GO CAPS!!

Posted by: chevychase10 | April 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

So Let me get this straight. Two weeks ago, Mike Wise, in all his wisdom was pretty much saying in a column how Crosby is better than Ovie. Now, he is pleading for patience because he doesn't know anything about hockey? Well, we knew that. But it's a bit too late, isn't it? What a fool that guy is.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | April 13, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

While it is completely bizarre that a sportswriter for a major publication would write an article about the fan base of a team not accepting him, Mike Wise is nonetheless right that Caps fans need to embrace to growing popularity of the team. It is nothing but good for the Caps to become a cultural phenomenon. It might even lead to a day when we start to get the calls. :^)

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 13, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

One of the biggest cliches in sports is that the pressure is completely on the favorite and the underdog can just go out and play loose because they have nothing to lose. HOGWASH! Every team in every postseason of every sport wants to win desperately. The pressure is on both teams and this cliche is garbage and holds no basis in truth. Yea, Montreal with their intense fan base and their hyperactive media always has the pressure on.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 13, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

One of the biggest cliches in sports is that the pressure is completely on the favorite and the underdog can just go out and play loose because they have nothing to lose. HOGWASH! Every team in every postseason of every sport wants to win desperately. The pressure is on both teams and this cliche is garbage and holds no basis in truth. Yea, Montreal with their intense fan base and their hyperactive media always doesn't have the pressure on them. SURE THEY DON'T. :)

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 13, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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