Blog Entry

Penguins prove to be too much

Posted on: May 13, 2009 11:04 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 11:12 pm

Did the NBA take over the building without anyone realizing it?

After all this was a lot more like their playoff games have been this spring than the NHL's. A blowout. A dud. A total embarrassment. However you choose to label it, this was so one sided it would have been best served with a mercy rule.

Ugly doesn't begin to describe the shell shocked effort the Washington Capitals turned in at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. The 6-2 final score tells it was completely lopsided in favor of the Penguins, but the other numbers -- a 16-5 shots advantage for the Penguins in the crucial first period, a penalty free game for Pittsburgh, a deficit of 15 on the turnover chart for the Capitals -- tell you just how badly Washington was manhandled.

The shame of it all was that this much anticipated series finale bore absolutely no resemblance to the marvelous show these two teams treated everyone to through the first six games, which featured five one-goal decisions, three of them in overtime. It had been an incredible demonstration of just how compelling hockey can be at its best, with two talented teams led by their candidates for the best player in the game title playing at breakneck speed with passion and emotion as they lived up to ridiculously high expectations.

Until tonight that is. The start was pretty typical and actually pretty close, although it didn't take long for the first sign of how bad things would become for the Capitals to appear. About three minutes as a matter of fact. Alex Ovechkin broke past the Penguins defense and was in alone on Marc Andre Fleury, who had been less than stellar earlier in the series and was coming off the first overtime loss of his career. But the Penguins goalie came up with a great glove save, and arguably turned the game around right then and there.

Ovechkin was stopped again on another good chance by Fleury moments later, but as Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told an interviewer during a television timeout, his team's penchant for turning over pucks was already a bigger problem. That was apparent when Washington took the first penalty of the game before the 12 minute mark and was unable to clear its zone on the kill, which resulted in Sidney Crosby giving the Penguins the lead. That was bad enough for Washington, but when Craig Adams scored eight seconds later after the ensuing faceoff, the Capitals were effectively done.

Even so, Washington's rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov kept his team's hopes alive briefly with big stops off Miroslav Satan and Evgeni Malkin before the period ended, but when Bill Guerin connected 28 seconds into the second period and Kris Letang followed with another goal less than two minutes later, it was all over and so was Varlamov's night.

Ovechkin did get his final goal of the season late in the period but Crosby got that back in the third, as the two superstars played each other to a draw in terms of statistics with eight goals apiece in this series. But this game is still all about team and in the end, it was the Penguins, with a far superior team defense and the experience of having been through this before, that made the bigger statement.
Category: NHL

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:28 am

Penguins prove to be too much

The Caps defense crumbled after the second score, they flat out gave up as a team. The only 3 players on the Caps that showed they wanted this game was Ovech/Federov/Varly. Where was the Caps Defense, showed no support for varly. Although Varly gave up a Soft Goal not contesting the goal scored by Kris Letang, correct me if I'm wrong! Varly clearly shows he's ready for revenge next year. I agree Flaboo Luongo gave up soft goals in his series but for anyone to blame Varly for his effort last night & or series is wrong. He'll be a top goalie in the years to come. Marc Andre Fleury had a stellar night, didn't take many shots but made some killer saves that Ovech could of easily scored. I'd still have a Varly over Fleury any day in the net

Since: Nov 27, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:23 am

Crosby wants it

Crosby does not want to lose again...after last years loss to Detroit the look in his eyes said it.  The way he completely took over this series and is now leading the playoffs in Goals shows just how much he wants it.  He wants it for his team, for his city, and for the sheer fact that he is a proven winner.  The whole thing really reminds me of Big Ben and his rise to the the first big run he just couldnt stand up the to Patriots and lost in the AFC title game...but he came back and ran through the playoffs as a team that had to win out the season to make the playoffs.  Crosby does not want to lose another series, he wants the cup...and to return Pittsburgh to the City of Champions!!!

Let's go Pens!!! 

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:21 am

Penguins prove to be too much

As a Ranger fan I had been rooting for the Caps since they beat my team,  They showed so much grit and determination for a hockey team that I couldn't help but root for them, however in this series they showed both why they are a playoff team and why they are not a Stanley Cup team.  This team has so much talent that just refuses to mesh well together, A defense that can't hold back another high flying offense. (obviously the rangers offense isn't high flying)  The Penguines deserved to win this series and maybe this is the season when Crosby finaly wins his first Cup. Congrats Pen's and a well played for the caps a classic series up untill games 7!

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:20 am

Penguins prove to be too much

I've been a Caps fan since the 70s, and I haven't seen a bigger egg laid than that.  They choked, plain and simple.  The Pens were cool, collected and played hockey.  The Caps were frenetic and lackluster at the same time.  The best team won.  But they didn't win because of any difference in talent, they won because of their composure and maturity.  The Caps lost because they couldn't handle the big stage.  But some teams have to go through this to understand what it takes to stay focused, play the game hard, and block out the world.  It's a shame, really.  I had a bad feeling though after they played HORRIBLY in game 7 against the Rangers and barely won.  They played HORRIBLY against the Pens in the same fashion.  But this is the Penguins, and they burned us for it.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:11 am

Penguins prove to be too much

Unlike the NBA playoffs?  Are you aware of the Bulls/Celtics series that was perhaps the best playoff series in NBA history?  I'm not a major follower of either sport, but I think the NBA series was just a little bit better than this one on the ice.

Since: Apr 28, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:01 am

Penguins prove to be too much

The Pens played a disciplined, steady game last night, and I don't think that any team in the league could have beat them.  To not get a single penalty in a Game 7 shows a maturity that the Pens didn't have last year. 

As for the goalies in this series, you have to take your hat off to Varlamov -- he faced almost twice as many shots through the series as Fleury and was a rookie with what, six regular season games under his belt?  He will be around the NHL for a long time.  What Varlamov didn't have was a disciplined defense to clear players, like Crosby, from in front of the crease, and the Caps' turnovers in their own zone, especially last night, killed them.

Fleury played spectacular last night.  Although he didn't make a huge number of saves, they were critical ones early on -- a breakaway by AO and the save on AO's one timer that clipped the top of his stick.  Fleury's only issue is his puck play behind the net, which showed itself in Ovechkin's wrap around in the second.

As for the series, Varlamov got this series to a Game 7.  If you look at the play, and the stats, it is pretty clear that Pittsburgh controlled the majority of the games in possession time and shots.  Had the Caps been able to even that out more, maybe it could have been a different series.  The fact that they couldn't shows that, for now, Pittsburgh is the better, more experienced, more disciplined, and more talented team as a whole.  Sidney Crosby established that he is one of the greatest players in the league.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2009 8:55 am

Penguins prove to be too much

Shut up JD_102!  Stop trying to sound like you know what you're talking about.  Yeah, he let in a couple of duds over the course of the series, but so did Luongo for Vancouver and I do believe he's considered to be a top goalie, eh?  Get real.

Since: Nov 22, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2009 6:06 am

Penguins prove to be too much

Varlamov played a great series for the Caps. I don't know how you can be so quick to judge a goalie who has only played 6 regular season and has been dropped into the starting GT position. How about comparing the first year NHL playoff stats of Fleury and Varlamov:

Fleury 1W 4L 0SO 3.76GAA .880S%
Varlamov 7W 6L 2SO 2.53GAA .918S%

My point isn't that Varlamov is better than Fleury, but for a rookie goalie to be just dropped into the playoffs he has played immensely well, especially considering the Caps D needs substanial improvement. He does need to improve on giving too many rebounds but give him some more experience and he will definately get better, he showed signs of how great he can be in this series.

Anyway, kudos to the Penguins for winning this series, just wished the Caps woulda showed up for game 7. As for the Caps not wishing to meet the Pens in future, in the past 7 series half these player weren't even in the NHL lol. That had to best series I've ever seen so I can't wait for a rematch...  ...eventually all streaks come to end!

Since: Mar 30, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 1:33 am

Penguins prove to be too much

This kid is a long way off from being a strong NHL caliber goalie. At least a couple of years.

He will never be a top goalie. He has trouble with long range shots (30 feet +), and his glove is slow.

Maybe it's an eyesight thing, he just can't keep focus, distant to close up, at the speed the puck moves. Doesn't really matter, that weak glove hand will ensure he is no better than average.

Since: Sep 26, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2009 12:32 am

Penguins prove to be too much

Funny how noboby is going to remember Simeon Varlamov great playoff save on Sidney Crosby early in this series. That happens when  your team loses the playoff series in the end. I wonder where all those fickle bandwagon fans are now stating that the Capitals found a great goalie in Varlamov. Was that the same great goalie I saw being pulled in the 2nd period of crucial game 7 tonight? This kid is a long way off from being a strong NHL caliber goalie. At least a couple of years. It's also funny how many more times in these playoffs we will now see the highlight of Fleury's great save on Ovechkin in the first period of game 7. I think in the end - the experience in goaltending proved to be the difference in this one and was the Capitals downfall - that and lack of team defense. For any Penguin fan - how sweet was it to see Ovechkin turning the puck over on the penalty kill and having Crosby go in on a breakaway and beat Varlamov like a rented mule? You know some point you got to start feeling for Caps fan - the Caps just can't beat the Pens in the playoffs - what is it now - 6-1 in favor of the Pens. Wow. If you are a Caps fans - you just don't want to see the Pens in the playoffs.

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