April 18, 2009

Rangers Vs Capitals 04/18/2009 EC Quarterfinal Game 2 Review

Matt Bradley attempts to score a goal in Game 2 on April 18, 2009.
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo.

Rangers 1 - Capitals 0

The Washington Capitals lost their second straight game, in round one of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Heavily outshooting the New York Rangers, as in Game 1, was not enough to get a win.

After suffering a 4-3 loss in the post season opener, which included a less than stellar performance in net by veteran goalie Jose Theodore, the Caps' Head Coach Bruce Boudreau went with rookie Simeon Varlamov in this afternoon's match. It's only the fourth time in the team's history, that they put a rookie in goal to start a playoff game.

Varlamov only played in six games at the NHL level during the 2008-2009 regular season, but he had done very well, with a 4-0-1 record. This 20 year old kid also did fairly well last year in the Russian Super League, falling just short of winning the title. He didn't face the number of shots that Henrik Lundqvist did while guarding the Rangers net, but he was very sharp throughout today's entire game. Only one of those shots got past him. Unfortunately, that was all it would take to lose this one.

So, what went wrong? Not that many things, really. But the things that did go wrong for the Capitals, were bad enough to lose them the game. They committed three times as many turnovers as the Rangers for a start. Even though they fired off more than 80 shots, 35 of which went on goal, 29 were blocked. Alex Ovechkin came closest to scoring, when the puck hit the cross bar of the goal on one of his shots in period three. The rest didn't get anywhere close to the goal. Far too many were launched from the perimeter. Washington had plenty of scoring chances, but if they can't get close enough to Lundqvist, those chances won't be of the right quality level.

Thankfully, the Caps are good at making comebacks these days. As a matter of fact, after falling behind in the first round last year, they ended up taking it to a Game 7. Washington lost that one in overtime. I'm sure that the memories of how that series played out and being two games down this time are going to be strong motivators, when they play Game 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday night.

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