Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It might seem a little early to start talking about the Washington Capitals as a team of destiny, but nights like this one start building a case, a foundation for greatness, if you will.
The Capitals gave the Montreal Canadiens a stark lesson in seizing the moment and stealing a win as they came from one goal down late in the second period to roll over Montreal by a 6-3 score.
The Capitals now lead the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 3-1 and can wrap it up Friday night in Washington. Given the way the Caps surgically carved the life out of the Canadiens on Wednesday night, one might fairly suggest Game 5 has become little more than a formality.
“We had our teeth in the apple. This smelled like a win,” Montreal defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said.
Courtesy of Alexander Ovechkin. Habs Inside/Out has the explanation that makes sense.
Jacques Martin, the coach of the Montreal Canadiens, says the Capitals made the most of the Montreal mistakes.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
The latest to exercise his chompers is Caps defenceman Mike Green, who apparently told Sports Illustrated that the Habs “don’t have very much.”
Well, that’s an inconvenient truth if there ever was one.
But at the same time, it’s just not cricket to do so much jawing in the playoffs. Whatever happened to not giving one’s opponent bulletin board fodder?
“They don’t seem to be afraid of it,” said Josh Gorges, who admitted it’s tempting to shoot back because “it’s kind of fun in a sense to say things and talk in the media, but it’s not our style, it’s not the way we handle ourselves.”
Washington Coach Bruce Boudreau claims Montreal Coach Jacques Martin was spying o the Caps practice today.
from Tracee Hamilton of the Washington Post,
This is how you break a team’s back—you get some breaks at home [Game 2], you get a strong performance from your goalie, you get everyone involved in the offense, you swarm the net and create opportunities, and you deliver a spanking to your opponents—on their ice.
You keep your skate blade firmly planted in their necks. And you turn their own weapon—a loud and boisterous crowd—against them. By the end of the game, Ovechkin and “TAY-OH” were largely forgotten; the boos were directed at Le Tricolore.
from the Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,
Alexander Ovechkin said at Sunday’s practice in Arlington, Va., that he believed Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak looks shaken.
“I watched the replay when Fehr scored the goal and his arm was shaking when he drank water,” Ovechkin said of Halak after he allowed Eric Fehr to score on a breakaway in the first period of Game 2. “So, he’s nervous. He knows all the pressure is on him and that’s a good sign for us.”
Halak did not address reporters after last night’s game, and he declined again today, choosing instead to send a message through the Canadiens PR department that he won’t get into a war of words through the media.
That’s fair enough, and frankly whether Halak wants to talk to reporters or not is his prerogative.
But when an opponent claims you look nervous and that the pressure is getting to you, then you choose not to address those comments, does it not in some small way prove that he is right?
from Tony Gallagther of the Vancouver Province,
We all are learning to love conspiracy theories here in Vancouver with respect to hockey, so much so that we could be made honorary Americans who seem to celebrate the genre like nobody else.
So here goes, although sadly many Vancouver fans have suspected this one before.
Did you notice when the Montreal Canadiens were up big in their game against the Washington Capitals and were threatening to take a 2-0 series lead against the league’s most promoted team and most promoted player in Alex Ovechkin, they suddenly ran into a series of highly questionable penalties.
Odd how that happens, sort of reminds you of how a team threatening to take a big lead in nationally televised NBA game suddenly runs into weird offensive fouls and travelling violations while the trailing team seems to be able to pull a gun and not get a foul.
Nicklas Backstrom’s 3rd goal of the game was also the game-winner.
Series tied 1-1 and now shifts to Montreal for two games.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
For the first time, Boudreau suggested perhaps not having played games with a real sense of urgency down the stretch during the regular season may have been an issue for the Caps in Game 1, a 3-2 overtime win for Montreal.
“It’s been awhile, other than the other night, that we had a real meaningful game for us, so maybe it was a wake-up call,” Boudreau said. “It is a big deal [losing Game 1), but we’ll just take it one game at a time and go out there and play as good as we can tonight and see where it goes. The one thing I do believe, if it even got down to 3-0, I don’t think we ever think that we’re not capable of winning.”
Captain Alex Ovechkin agreed that perhaps the Game 1 result will refocus the Caps.
“I think it was just a wake-up call,” Ovechkin said. “You’re right, we didn’t play our best game or an intense game probably [for] the last month, but in the playoffs, you concentrate 100 percent, and every time you have a chance to do something, you just concentrate. That’s probably the biggest thing, but today is a new day and a new game.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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