Friday, April 23, 2010

PreCAP (Playoffs, Round 1, Game 5, 4/23/10)

45731f2a3c53d457ca3c9753119deed7-getty-98075457rw017_capi_cana (Photo from Yahoo)

The Washington Capitals return to the red-rocking Verizon Center tonight, after a very successful 2-0 road trip to Centre Bell in Montreal that changed the course of this series. What was once a 1-1 tie is now a 3-1 Capitals lead in this best-of-7 series.

Tonight, the Capitals have a chance to end this series. A win will allow them to finish the series 4-1 over the Montreal Canadiens, and will take them to a second round (Eastern Conference Semi-Finals) meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers, the lowest remaining seed at #7. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, this series is definitely not over. We are not out of the woods yet.

Some notes on the game….

  • Montreal has decided to go back to Jaroslav “Shaking Hand” Halak in Game 5, after Carey “Unsportsmanlike” Price was decent in Game 4, before totally collapsing and losing his cool at the end. 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were given to Price in period 3 on Wednesday; 1 for shooting the puck at Caps players celebrating a goal, and 1 for whacking Nicklas Backstrom’s legs with his goalie stick after Backie scored the 6th goal for the Caps, an empty netter.
  • Halak was good Game 1, but fell apart at the end of Game 2 and was pulled in Game 3.
  • Now, a Tomas Plekanec quote from before the series started;
“ [The Washington Capitals] don’t have a shutdown goalie. It’s not like were playing [Martin] Broduer or [Ryan] Miller!”
  • Famous last words for Plekanec and his team.
  • Broduer’s Devils lost their series to the Flyers, 4-1, and Miller’s Sabres are down 3-1 in their series against the Bruins.
  • Meanwhile, while Montreal continues their goalie issues, Semyon “From Russia With Glove” Varlamov has looked fantastic in net the last few games, and should continue in net tonight. Our savior, for the second year in a row!
  • The Capitals offense should continue to hum along tonight. After losing Game 1 3-2 in OT, the offense has scored a total of 17 goals, or 5.66 goals per game. That is insane.
  • While the Caps’ offense is doing great, I’d love to see some production from Alexander “The Other Alex” Semin. Semin hasn’t scored in 11 straight playoff games, and this dry spell must end. Semin is a key part of the Caps’ offense, and we need him to live up to expectations.
  • The powerplay could also use some work, with Alexander “The Russian Machine” Ovechkin’s PP goal in Game 4 being the only time this unit has converted.
  • Whenever the Caps go onto the penalty kill, I want the duo of Boyd Gordon and Mike “Grandpa Slippers” Knuble on ice. 2 shorthanded goals in 2 games; 1 was Knuble – to – Gordon, and the other was Gordon – to – Knuble. Keep it going!
  • Mike “Snubbed” Green was named, for the second straight year, as a Norris Trophy finalist. Let’s see some of that Norris-worthy play from Greenie tonight.
  • Finally, John “The American Hero” Carlson will hopefully show his super-clutch-ness tonight…. game winner, perhaps? Or Semin.

Well, Game 5 starts at 7PM. Before you go, check out the latest poll, and read the accompanying post, Where in the world is Ilya Kovalchuk?”

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