Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quick Game 3 Preview

I have neither the time nor the energy nor the financial motivation to have in-depth pre-game analyses of each playoff game, at least in Round 1. This is the second season, and to base predictions of what a team will do on the regular season or a minuscule sample of Round 1 games is not enough. If you need any proof of that statement, I want you to look at my previous posts and what I had to say about Michal Neuvirth and Jason Chimera. These are the two players that I assured everyone around me would be the cause of the Capitals' first round playoff loss.

Arnott likes to tempt fate: Not wearing a helmet and expecting
no concussions; Joining the Capitals for a deep playoff run, etc.
Neuvirth, I said, was the Caps' worst goalie, that his AHL Calder Cup wins could not hope to compare to the Stanley Cup playoffs, that he could not win a game without offensive support because of his tendency to allow an early goal and put his team behind so quickly in a game. Instead, Neuvirth is the kid that has allowed one goal across 138+ minutes of hockey while his team has scored only four in that same timespan. He may not have had to make the flashiest plays of all time (see, i.e. Varlamov's save on Crosby in '09), but he has come up huge for the team. Nothing will change the fact that I and many others believe him to be the team's worst option in net, but he is getting it done, and while he is statistically our weakest goaltender, he is still a hell of a lot better than many other teams' best options.

Jason Chimera, I said, was only good for over-skating the play, whiffing on goals, and being on ice when the bad guys score. After Game 1 I thought I had been prove correct. In Game 2, however, it was as though he had read my criticism and decided that was the day he would score the game winner on a beautiful play that made Lundqvist's head spin. He may have had a lot of support from Laich and Johansson, but Chimera was in the right spot, took the right shot, and earned the second star of the game. If he keeps up that kind of play, then I will be rooting to see Marco Sturm sit for Eric Fehr instead of Chimera. Again, nothing will change the fact that I believe Fehr to be a better player than Chimera. But if he performs to his potential, or above his potential, then whoever is not doing so needs to see some bench time for F16, and right now that looks to be Marco Sturm, who is inexplicably on the second line with Arnott and Semin.

Gaborik is preparing to pop, lock, and
drop it... five feet wide of the net
If the Capitals can win the Cup, and I have to eat my words during the  whole run, so be it, I will be happy to do so. Because while these guys were the ones I was most disappointed to see on ice again and again during the regular season, I know that in the second season that play means almost nothing. The Capitals are experts at disappointing their fans after superb regular seasons, especially with Boudreau as coach. They have a record of 3-5 when leading a series 2-0, with the most recent soul-crushing series loss coming at home at the hands of the Penguins in 2009. Tonight, though, I expect a 3-0 lead for the boys in red and white, a 4-3 win with goals from Arnott, Semin, Green, and Gordon on the Capitals, and two from Gaborik and one from Drury on the Rangers. This is pure speculation by me, much like sitting at a roulette table and putting your chips down on numbers you happen to like that night. All while chanting C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment