After Thursday’s disappointing overtime loss to the Boston Bruins, Dale Hunter’s Washington Capitals redoubled their efforts. The result: another excruciatingly tight hockey game at TD Garden, but with a heluva lot more offense.
Troy Brouwer crashed the net to score to the game’s first goal after 38 scoreless minutes. Halfway through the third, Benoit Pouliot tied the game with a backhand off a loose puck in the slot.
And the overtime. Nothing. OT2 ended in a blink… as Nick Backstrom beat Thomas over the shoulder. Caps beat Bruins 2-1 (OT).
A few days ago in a post entitled “How to Solve Tim Thomas in the Playoffs,” I pointed out that the Capitals have had a tough time scoring on Tim Thomas in the regular season. When they did score in regulation, there was an obvious pattern:
Five minutes into the second period of the Capitals’ first playoff game in Boston, Alex Ovechkin skated the puck into the neutral zone looking to make a play. As he did, Dennis Seidenberg made a decision he might regret.
The Bruins defenseman thought he could catch Ovi napping at the red line and destroy him with an open-ice body check. Instead, the Russian machine got his arms up and this happened.
We look at the Boston match up as a series of If – Then statements: If Ovi, Sasha, and Nicky fire, then we’ll be OK. If we can match them physically, then we don’t get pushed around. If our special teams perform, then we’ll have a real shot. If we put rubber on that creep, Timmy Thomas, get in his head and face, then we’ll score moar goals. If we crash the net, you know the rest. And it’s Timmy and his counterpart at the opposite end of the rink that we think this series revolves around.
The good people on the Hockey sub-reddit did the legwork on this one. They tracked down all the articles from the last few days predicting which teams will win each season. The results are… unkind to our Capitals.
58 hockey journalists hazarded a guess about the Boston Bruins-Washington Capitals match-up. You can view the original data here, but check out our visualizations (cheesy pie charts) behind the jump.
For a while, earlier in the season, the Boston Bruins were amazing. Scoring was frequent and widely spread among the team (six of whom ended up with 20+ goals). And after every one of the team’s 131 goals at TD Garden this season, the song above played.
It is a remix of “Kernkraft 400″ by Zombie Nation, although everyone just calls the song “Zombie Nation” because people are idiots. It’s from a genre of music known as “awful”, but folks who are nuts for categorization can file it under “techno music for people who positively demand a hangover tomorrow.”
And it’s an awful choice for a city that actually has decent music. Follow me past the jump and let’s peruse.
The playoffs are a physical grind, but we shouldn’t underestimate the psychological dimension either. Remember We are Louder, anyone? For that reason, the Washington Capitals’ upcoming series with the Boston Bruins is kind of daunting. Those guys have psy-ops down pat thanks to their demented, violent mascot, the Bruins Bear.
THURSDAY, APRIL 12 7:30 P.M. AT BOSTON NBCSN/CSN
SATURDAY, APRIL 14 3 P.M. AT BOSTON NBC
MONDAY, APRIL 16 7:30 P.M. AT WASHINGTON NBCSN/CSN
THURSDAY, APRIL 19 7:30 P.M. AT WASHINGTON NBCSN/CSN
SATURDAY, APRIL 21 3 P.M. AT BOSTON NBC
SUNDAY, APRIL 22 TBD AT WASHINGTON TBD
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25 TBD AT BOSTON TBD
Instant reactions anyone? Looks like the Caps and Bruins are the only teams to have back-to-backs this round.