Gnarly Varly Returns. Caps Take Commanding 3-1 Series Lead.

There was 'no stoping' the Russian Machine tonight.

Varly's scintillating glove saves push the Habs to the brink. (Photo by Paul Chiasson) (Top: NHL.com miscue)

Varly's scintillating glove saves push the Habs to the brink. (Photo by Paul Chiasson) (Top: NHL.com miscue)

Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens needed to respond. After being taken to the woodshed Monday night, it was time for the Habs to show the Eastern Conference’s best team their mettle. Instead, the highest scoring team in the NHL showed Montreal the formula on how they won over 50 games in the Regular Season: Cruise through 40 minutes of play and then turn it on in the third. The result? The Capitals win an error-filled slugfest 6-3 and now look to close out the series Friday at Verizon Center in front of their Racuous Red Rockers. Oh boy!

La saison de golf commence vendredi pour les Canadiens:

  • What more can we say. There’s no STOPING #8. After being held scoreless in game 1, Alex Ovechkin has a staggering 8 points in three games. Methinks it’s time to celebrate, Russian Machine style. Tonight, our burly Road Warrior had 2 Goals, 3 points, 3 shots on goal and finished the game a +3. Now if only he could learn how to successfully buy tickets from scalpers and help dress Semyon Varlamov before he leaves the hotel, we could call this guy a global icon.
  • Oh Varly. Don’t you know my love for you has never swayed? Even during those rag-a-muffin days during the season when the haters were out in force and others openly pined for Tomas Vokoun, I knew you were the wunderkid this team needed in goal during the playoffs. Even when my own writer wrote an opus demanding that Bruce Boudreau turn back to Jose Theodore in Game 3, I never doubted you. Tonight, if I may, can I officially declare that the old Semyon Varlamov is back? The gnarly Varly single-handedly kept the Capitals in the game in the second period as Montreal pumped 21 shots on goal, easily their most successful period of play in the series. Unfortunately for the Habs, they learned the hard way that Semyon’s glove hand is not weak. Varly made three consecutive 10 bell glove saves late in the second period, which seemed to take the life out of the Habs.
  • Actually, maybe it was that shorthanded goal by Mike Knuble that killed all that mo.’ Regardless, this bullet is dedicated to Nicklas Backstrom Boyd Gordon for making that goal happen. On a gift 2 on 1, the grinder-turned-offensive-juggernaut skated with a purpose into the offensize zone and shot a perfectly placed saucer to Kanoobs that would even make Wayne Gretzky proud. The result? A layup for the garbageman with six seconds to go in the second. With that clutch goal, the Caps tied the game 2-2 heading into the intermission. The Bell Centre sounded like a library.
  • And then it got quieter. After consecutive goals by Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera 52 seconds apart, people in Montreal must have realized that maybe this wouldn’t be their year. So far through four games, the Capitals have outshot the Habs 62-29 in the third period of this series. That’s what better teams do.
  • If anyone knows where the old Alex Semin is, can you tell him we want him back? We’ll even reward $28,000 for any helpful information on his whereabouts. I’ll be frank. On Ovechkin’s second goal of the night, Semin maybe showed us 5 dazzling seconds of pure awesome Russianness. Then for the rest of the game, I found myself holding my head in my heads, screaming “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SASHA??”
  • For people who still hate Tom Poti, this stat may force you to change your thinking… and your underpants. The defensive pairing of Tom Poti and John Carlson are a combined +15 during this series. The rest of the defense is a +5. It can’t all be Captain America, right?
  • Caps Senior PR Man Nate Ewell gets a big-time bullet tonight for using reverse-pyschology on the Hockey Gods which created all the good karma Mike Knuble would need to score his second goal of the game. Clutch tweet, Nate. Well played.
  • How bout’ them Hershey Bears?? Tonight, the chocolate and white concluded their best-of-seven series with Bridgeport, after they beat the living tar out of the Sound Tigers 4-1. The Bears will now advance to the East Division finals, where they’ll play the Albany River Rats, Carolina’s AHL Affiliate. Karl Alzner, Zach Miskovic, Kyle Wilson and Alex Giroux (power play) all scored while Michal Neuvirth made 6 saves in the victory. Bridgeport only had 7 shots on goal.
  • Lastly, some humor. Tonight on SportsNite, Lisa Hillary presented her latest 10 Questions segment with Bruce “What’s an iPod” Boudreau. What did we learn about the affable coach? Apparently, the thing that irks Bruce the most about Alex Semin a player is when he doesn’t take the game seriously enough. If “Gabby” the movie came out next week, Mickey Rooney would be the star. And does Bruce Boudreau like garden salads? “Look at me, does it look like I’m a salad eater?”

Anyways, I think Mike Knuble summed it up best tonight when he said postgame, “If Varly wasn’t as sharp, we could have been down a couple goals and this could have been a totally different game.” Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the win, but let’s have a full 60 minute effort Friday Night, Cappies. For once, I would love to actually watch a game without having to take heart medicine. And with that said, WOOOOO!!! Thirteen more wins to go!!

  • lolwut

    And even after these past couple games, people still think Theodore should start in game 5.

    lololol.

    I love the third period Capitals. I really do.

  • WashCapsRock

    Don’t see how people can still be calling for Theo when Varly is back baby!

    If I see Sasha Friday night after the game, I will take him home with me and make sure he shows up for practice Saturday with hockey sense in place. Time to break out the Russian slang book!

    Oh and can someone please take out Price Friday for trying to screw with Nicky?

    LET’s GO CAPS!!!!!

  • Darla

    stopping, not stoping.
    Wunderkind–literally “wonder child”

  • Cat

    “For once, I would love to actually watch a game without having to take heart medicine.”

    I have come to terms with the inevitability of Caps-fanhood-induced cardiac trauma. These guys may kill us yet, but we won’t die bored.

  • Dan

    Just for the record: Albany is the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Dan, thanks for the heads up. I updated in the post. Honestly, I am a few years behind on that one!

  • Steve in Arlington

    People hate Tom Poti? WTF People.

  • BobbyG

    A little late, but the Habs did respond. In game 5. The game the Caps were supposed to put them away to rest up for round 2.

    The best laid plans of mice and men and Caps…oh crap. What a nightmare tonight turned out to be.