Thursday, April 21, 2011

Game 4 Recap

Dirty. That is the only word that can describe this game, and I mean that in the absolute best way possible. As my good friend told me when the score was 3-2:

"You are not allowed to be happy. I've learned that when you're
pessimistic, we win. I demand you to proclaim you expect a letdown."

On a side note, I've learned that same theory applies to me and the dice tables. If you're ever with me and it is my first roll, bet heavily on craps. My pregame prediction was close, but Ovi and Fehr gave us no goals (although Fehr was tied for a team-high +3 with Johansson). The Capitals will continue their struggle to find discipline and not test out the amazing penalty killers, but they got a win and are up 3-1, handing a loss to a Rangers team that had not lost all season when leading after two periods. Five thoughts on the game

  1. As I said, dirty. Dirty goals are what wins against guys like Lundqvist, those goalies who can single-handedly steal an entire series let alone a game. Semin not quitting, Johansson being in the right place for a lucky bounce, Carlson railing a shot off MoJo, and Chimera sticking around behind King Henrik hoping for a bit of luck: dirty, and at the same time beautiful hockey. The same can be said for the Rangers. This is a rough series, and the players have all bought into the notion that no puck is dead until it is in the net.

  2. A new take on the old "How many
    hockey players can you fit into a Geo Metro?"
    (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Speaking of Semin's goal, that's a fantastic job by the ref. There is a reason these guys have to prove themselves to earn a spot in the playoffs, too. No TV camera angle was going to see that Lundqvist never actually covered or had control of the puck, only a human ref staring at the puck would be able to tell that quickly.

  3. Carlson and Alzner: what happened to these guys? They're young, I know. They're being tasked with shutting down the top players, I know. But Carlson in particular is showing some rookie mistakes, Alzner is not always making the right decisions, either, and that is new territory for both of them. If the kids can shake it off and bounce back strong for Game 5 in front of what is sure to be one of the greatest crowds in their young careers, I would hate to be in their way. At the same time, they do have to step up their game. Two of my favorite players, and two guys I hope will be with this team for as long as possible.

  4. Another day of deucing on Chimera, another game-winning goal. He definitely showed he has no business being on the top line, with none of those guys getting points and being on ice for a couple goals against, but he came out with grit again, and it earned the team a win. I may not like it, but he is producing. The same cannot be said for Marco Sturm, who after four games is pointless and a +1 (which he earned in tonight's game). This despite playing (inexplicably) on the second line with Arnott and Semin, who each have three points in this uber-tight series.  If Knuble comes back healthy, Sturm is my pick to ride the pine. Fehr put up a hell of an effort tonight, and while he may not have showed up on the score sheet like I hoped, people knew he was on the ice.

  5. Both goalies deserve a lot of respect and will need the rest. The Caps took 53 shots to the Rangers' 39, with both goaltenders putting up better than a 92% save percentage through 92 minutes and 36 seconds of game time. Through nearly five full games worth of ice time in only four games, Neuvirth has a save percentage of 94.2% to best Lundqvist's 92.2%.

Saturday at 3:00 is your next chance to rock the red. If I can do it here in Pittsburgh, then you can do it wherever you are. Huge game, huge opportunity for the Caps to win only their second series out of five chances with Boudreau, and the first one to go less than seven games. And now your game highlights:

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