Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Stay patient Caps

One of the more interesting things I've observed while watching the Caps play this series against the Rangers is their calmness and patience in playing their game. It's unusual watching the Caps take their game to their opponent.  That is not Caps hockey.  It is Adam Oates hockey.

Yes, they lost last night 4-3, but their play in the playoffs this year is vastly improved over the last several seasons and that's encouraging.  Last night, they looked a little "loose" as goalie Braden Holtby described their practice.  I'm not happy to hear that.  They made mental mistakes, like a too many men on the ice penalty that was eerily familiar to how the Rangers started the first game of the series and went on to lose that game.  The Caps strayed from their patient, confident game in the first series game on the road.

But, they also fought back and tried to get that last goal to tie the game in regulation.  The Caps, with Alex Ovechkin leading the charge, put pressure on the Rangers and threw pucks at the net.  Nicklas Backstrom missed the net, on a shot he'd like to do over, with about 30 seconds left in the game.

They only lost by one goal after killing penalties for 12:00 of the first 26:32 minutes.  Tough for any team to get the flow back to their game, after that, so I'm glad they kept pushing.

Regardless, much to like and, at least, two more games to watch in this series.

Some role players I've enjoyed watching:

  • Steve Oleksy, the journeyman blue liner, makes things happen.  His great outlet pass to Marcus Johansson to get the 2nd goal in the first game.  He took a puck to the face and came back and played.  He started game 2 with 7 hits.  I liked watching him hound Rick Nash in game 3.
  • Eric Fehr giving great hits and rubbing a guy out of the crease on what would have been a goal in game 1.  Protecting the puck under on him after blocking the shot on the PK in game 2.
  • Jay Beagle busts his rear end every time he's on the ice.
And, of course, it's delightful to see the return of Game Over Green.  That was fun watching Mike Ribeiro make the Rangers shot blockers look silly by faking his shot and then passing the puck to Mike Green for the GWG.

One thing that still annoys me is the lack of shooting, at times.  This team can beat Henrik Lundqvist, but they can't shoot from the perimeter to do it.  King Henrik doesn't let those goals in his net.  The Caps stop putting pucks on net against him, at times, and that's not going to win the series.  The Swedes - Backstrom and Johansson - need to shoot more.  They both missed on perfect setup passes from Ovie  Mike Ribeiro falls prey to this, too.

Please, shoot the puck Caps.  As Gretsky would tell you, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

On to game 4.  Don't know how I feel about this one.  The Caps need to win it.  Don't get me wrong, I still don't have any expectations for the Caps this season, but I feel like they can win this series if they want it.  That's always the key.

Let's go Caps!

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Ryan Womeldorf


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