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: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 2:31 am

Washington finds its own stimulus

Tortorella being supended will cost the Rangers huge I think in this series. I think he knew Lundqvist is tired and probably would have pulled Lundqvist after 4 to 1, which Schoenfeld did not do. Tortorella has already pulled the plug early on Lundqvist giving his exhausted goaltender significant rest and more rest here would have set up a rope a dope type rebound for game seven. I'm sure Tortorella was looking for something like this to happen, but did not count on being suspended. Lundqvist is one exhausted goaltender. He has been bombarded relentlessly by Washington, and it's beginning to take its toll. The hole Washington has discoverred in his glove hand. Well he is too tired for the team to correct this in time with practice. All they can do is advise him, and maybe take a few extra shots on that Glove hand side in practice. At the pro level you need months of practice to correct some things such as this, if it can at all be fixed. Predictions for game 7? 7 to 1 Washington.

Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 2:13 am

Washington finds its own stimulus

These two teams don't belong in the same rink. The Rangers fluked the three wins, by a combination of luck, Lundqvist, and Washington's playing in only overdrive mode til the brink. Now New York's wakened the monster that is Washington. Washington would be a contender without Ovechkin. Today they simply dazzled, bullied, and all but embarressed New York. Look for Washington to continue its inspired play to the conference finals, where I think Boston's just too much. Ovechkin has heart and huge courage so it will be interesting. This team is learning how to navigate the playoffs. Hopefully San Jose will do the same. I think that might happen as well come tomorrow. Both teams comming back from the brink would be miraculous. Come on Thornton... finish it!

Since: Apr 3, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2009 11:20 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

Don't worry Washington will show up to play game 7. or at least Ovechkin will. They remember all to well what it felt like to lose a Game 7 and i just don't see it happening again this year. the team is to tough to do that

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2009 10:35 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

I think it will depend on how well Varly handles the pressure which will be a little more intense but so far he's shown to be pretty cool under pressure. I think the big difference now is that the Caps are starting to get greater contributions from their role players ..guys like Bradley and Poti who don't score very often. Plus i think Ovie is starting to settle down and find his groove. If they continue to get solid goal tending, OV continues to heat up, and they get solid efforts from their role players they will be a tough beat for any team.

Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: April 26, 2009 10:02 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

Washington has to approach Game 7 as they did the last 2: a win-or-go-home-early game for them, not as an elimination game for NYR.

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: April 26, 2009 9:47 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

Yep, it's not over yet.

Trap game? Focus on evening the series instead of winning the series?

At least they remember last year...

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: April 26, 2009 8:56 pm

Washington finds its own stimulus

As a Caps fan, I have to give a lot of credit to the Rangers for bottling up the Caps offense in Games 2 and 4, and doing enough to get the win in Game 1.  Henrik Lundqvist has been phenomenal in some games and dismal in others.  I think Jose Theodore may have had a similar fate if he were allowed to play past Game 1, but Boudreau was ready to pull the plug.  I really like Boudreau's confidence in Varlamov and Varlamov has definitely earned the starting role.  Washington has looked a lot more dominant in their wins than the Rangers did in theirs, but anything can happen in one game.  Even though the series is tied at 3, the Caps got out of a similar hole last year against Philly only to lose a heartbreaker in OT in Game 7.  Here's hoping that a repeat performance is not in the cards this time.


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