Hello Caps, Au Revoir Canadiens
April 20, 2009 by Big Tony
The Washington Capitals sprung back to life Monday night entering Madison Square Garden down 0-2 but leaving with a 4-0 shutout and their first win of this post-season. Alexander Semin led the way with the first two goals of the game and the Caps never looked back. Alexander Ovechkin finally made his presence known by assisting on the first two goals by Semin and making an unbelievable back-checking play to prevent a possible breakaway goal for New York. The stars stepped up for Washington on Monday but they weren’t the story; instead rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov stole the show stopping all 33 Ranger shots to post his first career shutout. Coming into this series many felt the glaring weakspot for Washington was between the pipes but if Varlamov can keep this up the Rangers fast start in this series may be negated by the weekend. The Caps may have lost the first two games at home, but after their performance in game three we may have the makings of a very long and entertaining series.
The story is a bit different for the Montreal Canadiens who followed a poor performance in game two with a fast start but slow ending in game three against Boston. The Canadiens fed off of the home crowd energy to take a 1-0 lead (their first of the series) but that was neutralized soon thereafter. As the game settled in it unfolded more like game one with the Canadiens hanging in there until the very end with a chance to tie and/or win late. The Bruins however stayed the course and showed why so many people picked them to steamroll the Canadiens. Boston is by far the superior team with stellar skill accompanied by dominating size. Montreal tried to get bigger in the offseason but as the season unfolded they ended up once again relying on skill and speed to carry them to success. That philosophy did not work last year and is not working this year. Boston may not be heads and shoulders ahead of all the competition in the Eastern Conference but they are proving that to be so when it comes to the Canadiens.