Monday, April 19, 2010
A second period blowup resulted in the Montreal Canadiens finding themselves in a 4-0 hole at the end of 40 minutes and began the 3rd period short handed due to an implosion from the Montreal players. After a strong start to the game, the Canadiens surrendered four goals in the 2nd period, the first coming off a shorthanded rush by Boyd Gordan and Mike Knuble. From there the Caps received goals from Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr, and Alexander Ovechkin. Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak was replaced by Carey Price after the 3rd goal from Fehr.
It's amazing how the Canadiens started to self-destruct right after the Boyd Gordan goal, their defensemen started running around in their own zone and giving the Capitals forwards time and space with and without the puck. Teams will not succeed against the Caps by standing still while watching them move the puck - they're too talented. Laich and Ovechkin's goals were virtually identical in the fact that both players made subtle plays to move into the soft areas of the offensive zone giving themselves separation from the defense and just enough time to get off quick shots that ended up in the back of the Montreal net. The Canadiens efforts to entice the Capitals player into taking penalties failed miserably as Washington did an amazing job of keeping their composure, resulting in stupid penalties including a 10 minute misconduct by Scott Gomez and an extra minor penalty for Tomas Plakanec.
A goal by Plakanec on a Montreal powerplay early in the 3rd gave the Canadiens and their fans a shot of life as they cut the deficit to 4-1. However, the Caps thrive on playing games with large leads, and a 3 goal lead is plenty enough to allow them roll their lines and stretch the ice. This resulted in Washington being able to capitalize (no pun intended) on chances taken by the Canadiens and their ability to pull away from the defensive matchups the Canadiens' coaching staff wanted in this game. A goal in the final minute of regulation ended the game with Capitals handily downing the Canadiens 5-1.
One thing the Capitals will look to improve on is their powerplay going 0 for 7 Monday night and are now 0 for 14 on the series. Also, Semyon Varlamov saw his first postseason action stopping 26 of 27 shots. Game 4 will be on Wednesday night at 7pm et on TSN.