In the first ever post-season meeting between the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens, Tomas Plekanec lit the lamp 13:19 into extra time to seal a 1-0 lead in the first round of the 2009-10 Stanley Cup playoffs. Mike Cammalleri and Scott Gomez also scored for the Habs, while Joe Corvo and Nicklas Backstrom were able to add goals for the Caps. While DC was able to out-shoot (47-38), out-hit (37-24), blocked more shots (30-27), and owned the faceoff circle (45-26), Montreal took advantage of a Caps team that seemed to fall flat after the initial 15 minutes of play.
– Joey B, Locker, Smokin’ Al and Gabby all with red ties? Bravo, gentlemen. Bravo.
– Jason Chimera might as well be Usain Bolt on skates. His speed allowed the Caps to move to the man advantage on an early hooking call, and his determination did not let up through the game. And grit? He’s got your grit right here, buddy.
– Mike Green‘s play was exactly opposite of his unsure look during last seasons’ playoffs. He finished the night with 8 blocked shots, 4 hits, and looked steady on both ends of the ice.
– If playoff experience was ever a concern for the Caps, Mike Knuble spent last night showing the rest of the squad how to get it done. He had 7 of the Caps’ 47 shots on goal, and added an assist on an oh-so-pretty criss cross pass to Nicky B. I wouldn’t hate to see him spend some more time in his office, however.
– Speaking of GMGM’s brilliance, how ’bout Eric Belanger‘s 18-of-21 in the face off circle? Someone needs to lock him and Tomas Flesichmann in a room. “But Flash was 50% on the dot!” you say? He still looked over-matched and out-muscled nearly every time.
– You know who’s coming along at an alarming rate? John Carlson. From the look of his 1 assist, 1 hit, 2 blocked shots and energy the entire night it looked that no one told him this was the NHL playoffs, not AHL or WJC. Two tweaks I’d like to discuss with him? Be aware and work for less giveaways (5), and make sure you shoot the puck next time you find yourself on a 2-on-1.
– Overall Alex Ovechkin did not have a good game, which could easily be equated to nerves. Although I expect him to right the ship on Saturday, it was a bit suprising to see 0’s across the stat sheet in goals, assists, +/-, shots, and takeaways. He joined Shoane Morrisonn and David Steckel were the only Caps not to register a shot on goal in the game.
– Speaking of Alexes, Alex Semin had as many shots on goal as he sent sailing wide (6), and seemed careless with the puck at times. Add a hooking penalty on Scotty Gomez, and it appears that #28 is stuck in his “unmotivated” mode. Hopefully he removes the cobwebs before Saturday’s tilt.
– The Capitals power play went 0-for-4 on the night. They seemed to be more concerned with working the perfect shot, rather than doing what made them so successful throughout the season: sending in howitzers, and cleaning up the trash.
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