Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cardiac Caps Outlast Penguins 2-1

In a game as exciting as promised with the last 3 Art Ross trophy winners on the ice, the Caps escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Sydney Crosby scored first at 4:09 in the first on a shot that the young net minder Simeon Varlamov should have had, but I'm going to cut the rookie some slack on that one.  The defense certainly wasn't helping him out early in the game as the Caps spent far too much time battling the Penguins in the defensive zone. 

Varlamov let in a deflected goal at 12:54 in the second period.  I worried about what that might do to Varly's confidence, but I forgot that worry when he made that highlight reel save on Sydney Crosby's shot.  Crosby had a wide open net until Varly threw himself back towards the other side of the net and deflected Crosby's shot right at the goal line with his stick.  That stop saved the game and got him another #1 star.

Other observations:
  • Caps were terrible on faceoffs, winning only 47%.   They kept throwing everyone out of the circle.  I loved Alex Ovechkin's shot off the faceoff.  
  • They also had 22 giveaways to the Penguins 6.  They need improvements on those stats to win this 7 game series.
  • The Brooks Laich - David Steckel - Matt Bradley line is awesome.  They are battling hard, crashing the net and that resulted in a goal by David Steckel to tie the game at 1-1.  Steckel deservedly got the 2nd star.
  • I'm glad Ovie and Mike Green learned that in the playoffs you sometimes need to dump the puck in.
  • Nicklas Backstrom's, 2 assists, patience in feeding Tomas Fleischmann early in the 3rd period resulted in the game winning goal.  Backstrom just gets better and better.  
The last 17 minutes of that game were excruciatingly painful to watch as I just wanted it to be over.   Thankfully it ended with the Caps still up 3-2.

I'll be Rocking the Red Monday night at the phone booth.

Let's go Caps!

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