Blog Entry

Washington finds its own stimulus

Posted on: April 26, 2009 6:25 pm
Six games into a first round series that hasn't been nearly as close as its 3-3 status suggests, a couple of things have become clear about the Washington Capitals.

First, they don't need any help beating these Rangers, although the gifts New York provided today in the form of bad giveaways, power play chances and an embarrassing lack of push back certainly makes it a lot easier.

Second, and more important, New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist isn't going to stop them all by himself.

Lundqvist has tried, admirably in fact, and with the help of some solid defensive efforts by his teammates, he has managed to steal three wins for the seriously overmatched Rangers in this series. But in the last two games Lundqvist has looked like someone abandoned on a deserted island, bombarded with shots as Alex Ovechkin and his hard charging Capitals have over run a New York team that doesn't look like it belongs here.

The big difference is that Washington is not being forced to the outside any more, but the Capitals have also figured out there is a high hole over Lundqvist's glove when they shoot from the short side. The result is nine goals over the last four periods against the Rangers netminder, which combined with a total lack of compete level from New York since it went up 3-1 in the series, has turned things around.

Some of that intensity might have been expected from the Rangers on national television today as they came home with head coach John Tortorella's suspension and Sean Avery's return to the lineup to use as motivation. Instead, the Caps cut them off early, showing the swagger they had in staving off elimination Friday to control this one from start to finish. It sends Washington home in position to complete their inspired comeback, not a particularly inviting proposition for the Rangers, who are in disarray, increasingly unable to stand up to Washington's relentless pressure and do not seem to have the leaders necessary to get them back on track.

The glass half full approach for New York is understanding it still has a chance for an upset it probably shouldn't. Washington outplayed the Rangers in two of its three losses, and ran them out of the rink in each of its previous wins and today, describing the Capitals as dominant would be understating things.

Truth is you don't have to scratch deep below the surface to understand why the Caps are one of the league's best teams and the Rangers are not. Washington is bigger, faster, far more skilled and for the most part -- certainly since being pushed to the brink of elimination -- the Caps have played with a level of ferocity that has been too much for New York to handle.

Lundqvist gave the Rangers a chance to get this far, but he can't do it alone. Washington won't let him.
Category: NHL

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2009 6:51 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

You fail to see my point. I understand that a team has a bigger following when it is winning, but there has never been talk of moving the Rangers. Or Bruins. Or Montreal. When those teams lose, sure less people care, but they do still care. Pittsburgh was almost moved to Kansas City. As a poster already pointed out, there was talk of moving the Caps. That's my point. Not just that there are bandwagon, but people who literally know nothing about hockey or even cared about the Caps suddenly do. And you don't have that with every team. The Rangers were losers for a LONG time, yet fans still came to the Garden. You still saw Rangers fans. Where were the Caps fans? Oh, they were blasting Dan Snyder.

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 4:40 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

Really though, about fans "coming out of the woodwork", that happens in any city.  When a team is performing poorly fans do not pay attention as much.  I mean, look at the Wizards, even when they were only getting in to the playoffs as a 5 or 6 seed they were selling out every game.  They were having a down year this year with most of their stars injured.  No one, me included, wants to pay money for a bad product.  It's just that simple.  The way the fans have reacted to the success of this team is great.  There is a young sort of exuberance surrounding the Verizon Center and hockey enthusiasts and beginners alike are joining the Capitals' fan base. 

I hate the argument that people use about, "oh, now that your team is good your jumping on the bandwagon".  People don't talk smack about their team when they are in last place.  That is why you do not hear from fans in Tampa or Ottawa this season.  If either of them makes the playoffs next season, you will hear their voices, cheering their teams on.  It's true that it's embarrassing to be a fan of a crappy team.  So, you don't say anything to anyone when they are in the dumps.  Doesn't make you less of a fan.  You just don't flaunt it.  Now, the team is on the brink of being a consistent cup contender, so fans are voicing their pleasures about it. 

Aside from that, the Rangers have gotten lucky in this series.  They cannot score, and Lundqvist was making every save in the first four games.  The Capitals were hitting post after post, and the Rangers got two "weak" goals in game four.  I mean, Mara's shot was so far off it went back in to the crowd in the face-off circle, deflected off of a Capitals defenders stick blade and creeped in top shelf.  I mean, that shot goes in like 2% of the time.  Then Varlamov muffs a weak shot with his glove and it goes right to Drury for a goal. 

If Theodore stops the pucks he is supposed to in game one, this series would have been over earlier.  Varlamov has been good, and Lundqvist is slipping. 

The first six games aside, which I do agree the Capitals dominated, maybe aside from game two when all the Rangers did was dump and fall back on D, game 7 is all that matters now.  One game, win or go home.  I think Washington pulls it out in an intense game though.  Washington wins 3-1.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2009 4:24 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

The series is 3-3 for a reason.  The Rangers were able to stymie the Caps offense, particularly in the neutral zone, and Lundqvist stood on his head for 3 games.  In the other 3, the Caps proved their dominance.  I like the Caps chances on home ice in Game 7 but know that anything can happen.  The Rangers played well enough in 3 games to get to this point, although I can do without the constant crying about how they have been wronged.  And it's the same old Caps, nothing is ever routine in the playoffs.  Gotta make people sweat.

As for Varlamov, the reason he only played 6 games this season was because he was playing full time for Hershey.  Theodore had his moments in the regular season but Varly is needed now.  And thus far, he has played like an elite goaltender, whether he eventually becomes one remains to be seen.  The preview definitely looks promising.

One last thing regarding Caps fans.  I can remember in the late 70's/early 80's when there was talk of moving the franchise.  Not to mention the many playoff swoons and years of being outnumbered in your own building by opposing fans.  So, whether late to the party or not, it's great to see DC "Rock the Red" for the Caps.  Glad to have you. Here's hoping for another big win tomorrow night.

Since: Apr 26, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 3:57 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

As a life long Capitals fan, I have to say, sad but true. Aside from our Stanley Cup appearance ( a sweep mind you) no one in MD/VA/DC gave a rats backside until we picked up Ovechkin. In some ways I love how hes got our entire area into hockey, but it pisses me off when i see fair-weather fans claim that theyve been through the thick and thin with this franchise. Either way, GO CAPS!

Since: Aug 19, 2008
Posted on: April 27, 2009 3:54 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

Your an idiot. Varlamov played 4 games and won them all...that is not an issue. Our offense has been making up for poor play for Theodore...all that goes out the window in the playoffs when teams get a clean slate. So out goes Theodore and in goes Varlamov because we can't afford to "try" and win 6-5 every game. Look what happened, we are back in it, and this rookie got two shutouts, lowest GAA in the playoffs. Your not a fan because you don't know crap. Get off Henry's jock, you must not realized that the Caps have dominated the series. They figured him out, did you see how many goals he got scored on him...two hands...Varlamov is still on one. When you got Gretzky saying Ovechkin can be the best, many of us realize your a fat hating tard on a couch. Trophies proved it, and the series win will finally prove it.

Since: Oct 31, 2008
Posted on: April 27, 2009 3:41 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

I agree with CincyReds39, before you give your opinion, follow the basic rules.  Plus IMO there are going to be a lot of teams out there cheering for the Rangers Tuesday.  Boston, Pittsburgh, New Jersey... Detroit.  No one would want to go against the Capitals this year, look at how they did in the Regular season.  I know it is playoffs and everything is different, but if that were the case, look at the winners so far...  The aforementioned would probably love to face NYR's over DC anyday now.  I say, I hope the reffing is fair, and the play is clean and if that is the case, the Capitals will advance.   LETS GO CAPS!

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2009 12:38 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

And to whomever suggested that Torts would have pulled Henry after 4-1 is just an utter moron. I don't like to personally attack people on this site, but I feel that it's due here. Why the he!! would you ever switch goalies in a 3 goal game that's not out of reach and in the middle of a period? No coach in the NHL would do that, not Torts, not anyone. Please make sure that you have some hockey knowledge before making yourself look unintelligent.

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2009 12:34 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

Gotta love Capitals fans, just like Penguins fans. Where were you guys 5 years ago when the Caps were picking up 60 points a season? Oh, yeah, not watching hockey. But, alas, the team is good and all the Caps fans are coming out of the woodwork. Congrats. I really enjoy all the comments asserting that the Rangers lucked themselves to THREE wins. Really? I don't think Henrik Lundqvist playing well is considered lucky, I think it's considered "normal." I love that you guys all have this arrogance and confidence, it will make the game 7 victory all the sweeter. Lundqvist hasn't had back-to-back-to-back bad games in two years, and it's not going to happen now. The Rangers may not be an elite team, but King Henry is an elite goaltender. In one game, I'm taking the elite goalie over the elite offense every time. Oh, and as an aside, holding the Rangers down doesn't make Varlamov an outstanding netminder as you all think. There's a reason he'd only played 6 games prior to the playoffs. The Rangers will do enough to put 2 on the board and that will be plenty for King Henry. Ovechkin is a great player, but the way his career is going early on, he's going to be a better golfer than hockey player by the end of it all.

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 9:43 am

Washington finds its own stimulus

The NHL will do the right thing pending their internal investigation....much the same way their internal investigation revealed that John Tortorella was the only one that threw anything at anyone during game 4. In that case, EVERYONE including Caps fans jumped on the bandwagon and condemned the fans behind Torts. People are too quick to give voice to their knee-jerk reactions. Turns out the only bads guy in that scenario was "poor John" Torts, who ended up nailing a female fan in the head with the botle that he threw. So honestly....before calling for someone's head for some perceived infraction, let's just wait and see what the NHL finds out. If Morrisson did bite the guy, then screw him....he's a crazy animal for doing it and he should sit for a while. If he didn, then the Duby needs to be suspended for making a false claim of that nature.

Since: Apr 13, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 9:08 am

Washington finds its own stimulus

Fabe, saying a team has three "fluke" wins in a six game stretch is nonsense. I understand you being a Caps fans and excited about what's going on, but give credit where credit is due... Henrik Lundqvist was the best player on the ice for 3 of the 6 games.

I also hope the NHL does the right thing and suspends Morrisonn for an extended period of time. You don't just "bite" someone accidentally. Duby needed a tetanus shot for God's sake!!!!

Finally, congrats to the Caps for winning two games in a row. But, there is a game 7 to be played. The team with the best player on the ice has won all six... 3 = Lundqvist and 3 = Ovie. Who will be the best player on the ice for game 7?

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