April 28, 2010

What The Halak !?!?: Led by Jaroslav Halak's spectacular, acrobatic goaltending, the Montreal Canadiens slowed Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals' high-powered offense to complete an unlikely comeback from down 3 games to 1 and eliminate the NHL's best regular-season team in the first round.

posted by tommytrump to hockey at 09:53 PM - 18 comments

Can't shake the feeling this somehow means the Bruins won't win the Cup.

posted by yerfatma at 10:06 PM on April 28, 2010

Given a choice of the remaining teams in the east, I'll be cheering for Boston.

Kiss of death. They have no chance.

posted by tommybiden at 10:11 PM on April 28, 2010

There's still 4 original 6 teams in the playoffs, and none are playing each other in round 2. What's Vegas say about an all-Original 6 conference finals?

posted by MeatSaber at 10:22 PM on April 28, 2010

I wouldn't have believed it, if I hadn't seen it. Down 3-1. Ri-goaddamn-diculous.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:50 PM on April 28, 2010

Mike Green had a pretty abysmal game, taking the penalty leading to the first goal and getting outhustled for the second goal. I do not really get a chance to see the Caps in the regular season, but how is this guy a Norris finalist? Is he just a forward classified as a defenseman?

posted by holden at 11:09 PM on April 28, 2010

Incredible finish. Heart sunk when the Caps scored. Is it ever cool to think a power play is fine just so you can ice the puck? That's how I felt. Just f-n kill time and get out of here! Now, Pittsburgh. Awesome!!!

posted by tselson at 12:06 AM on April 29, 2010

Alexander Semin's 2010 playoffs: 44 shots, 0 goals, 2 assists.

posted by Mookieproof at 12:47 AM on April 29, 2010

What's Vegas say about an all-Original 6 conference finals?

Dunno what they're saying, but it would be the first since 1978-79. That seems strange, but I suppose it's not like any of the teams (other than Detroit recently) have been powerhouses since '79. Montreal's had some good teams, but none had staying power.

posted by yerfatma at 07:57 AM on April 29, 2010

holden, Let's just say Stevie Y isn't voting for the Norris.

So, does Boudreau lose his gig? Does Big Ted start to break up the team? Jettison Semin. Start acquiriing veteran defensive defensemen?

I'm still in shock, but in retrospect, the experience gap is hugely in favor of the Habs. Small or not, savvy carried the series.

posted by garfield at 09:14 AM on April 29, 2010

Well, Caps fans should look at the bright side with this first round collapse: at least they won't have to watch their team get beat by the Pens yet again.

posted by NoMich at 09:31 AM on April 29, 2010

I really thought the Habs late 3rd period dump-and-wait strategy was going to blow an otherwise great game.

Also, how many times has a Habs goalie suddenly become a brick wall in the playoffs? Maybe it's just being a B's fan, but the Habs more than any team I can think of manage to pull the 'unbeatable playoff netminder' out of their hat.

posted by kokaku at 10:04 AM on April 29, 2010

1st, Lets all be honest. Halak stole this series.

2nd The Caps need to learn to play playoff hockey. They approched this like the regular season. You need to wear a team down and the Caps did not use their size to do that. They looked at this as 7 different games, Not a series. Every hit you lay on someone in game 1&2 catches up in game 6&7. The Caps did not "capitalize" on their strengths. Until they learn how to play a different type of hockey, Come playoff time. This will be the result.

3rd You need scoring from your role players. Ovie 5 goals, Backstrom 5 goals. After that no one scored Anything for them. Green may as well have not been on the ice, Semin was not a factor, and the powerplay was powerless. If you look at the Pens in round 1 Sid had a great series, but so did roll players like Talbot, Dupuis, And Cooke. You need the secondary scoring.

The caps may have been the better team, but Montreal played like it.

posted by Debo270 at 11:37 AM on April 29, 2010

The Caps need to learn to play playoff hockey

Too true. That's one thing about NHL playoffs, it is the game at a different level. A whole different season indeed.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2010

That's one thing about NHL playoffs, it is the game at a different level.

Off the back of the Olympics, too, which is a different level skill-wise played with a different kind of mentality to playoff series -- apart, perhaps, from in the crease. It's easy to forget that Halak spent half of February playing a blinder for the Slovakia team, and had wins against Russia and Sweden under his belt.

posted by etagloh at 01:39 PM on April 29, 2010

Halak stole it while Washington choked. I mean, it's one thing to give credit to the Canadiens for playing so well, but Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom were checked by Josh Georges and Hal Gill. Not exactly Pronger and Niedermayer out there.

And for all those wondering why Mike Green wasn't invited to Team Canada? That's why.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:47 PM on April 29, 2010

I was one of those people, and I say to you now -- Well I'll be damned. It's almost like the management of Team Canada knows something more about hockey than me.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:02 PM on April 29, 2010

That's one thing about NHL playoffs, it is the game at a different level. A whole different season indeed.

During the Boston - Buffalo series, I tried to keep track of the number of penalties that weren't called that would have been in the regular season. I was unable to get an accurate picture, but I would bet that there were at least 4 per game, each way, that went uncalled. In the playoffs one has to be ready to be hit, and more importantly, hit back. I'm not sure whether Washington suffered from San Jose Syndrome, or the Sharks suffer from Caps Syndrome. It's been true for a long time that a team with a hot goaltender and a nasty attitude can take down any opponent. Ken Dryden gets all the credit for Canadiens win over Boston in '71, as well he should, but I remember Frank Mahovlich leaving his heart and soul on the ice in every game. The goaltender at best can get you a 0-0 game. The rest is up to the leaders.

posted by Howard_T at 06:45 PM on April 29, 2010

The goaltender at best can get you a 0-0 game.

Ron Hextall's in the alley out back. He wants a word.

posted by yerfatma at 08:45 AM on April 30, 2010

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