Curses! Caps Lose 2-1 To Habs. Fail To Close Out Series At Home.

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Golf Habs Golf? Sadly, Montreal's Skins Game Is Put Off For Another Day. (Photo via @katerstheace)

Golf Habs Golf? Sadly, Montreal's Skins Game Is Put Off For Another Day. (Photo via @katerstheace)

For the first 10 minutes of tonight’s potentially series-ending contest, the Washington Capitals went through the motions and were subsequently dominated in every facet of the game by the Montreal Canadiens. It wasn’t until our once-lost-but-now-found Russian Supernova, Alex Semin, made one of the most selfless plays of his NHL career with 11:20 left in the first period that the Capitals finally woke up and started playing hard. But by then it was too late. Mike Cammalleri’s wicked blast from the circles at 1:30 made it 1-0. Then five and a half minutes later, after a terrible defensive breakdown in front of the net, Travis Moen went short-side on Varly and scored his first goal of the series, the eventual game-winner. Despite peppering Jaroslav Halak with 15 medium range shots in the first frame (and 38 overall), the Capitals had way too many defensive breakdowns. And as Brendan Morrison so accurately surmised: “We made too many glaring mistakes.”

The Capitals lose to the Habs 2-1. Let’s make some excuses:

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Eric Belanger Is Chuck Norris Tough

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How tough are hockey players? After taking a stick to the mush in the first period, Eric Belanger ripped his own tooth out on the bench and then proceeded to take the next face-off. That’s insane. The AP furthers the legend:

Belanger says Saturday he “felt my teeth shatter, right away,” when Canadiens defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron’s stick hit him in the mouth in the first period of Montreal’s 2-1 victory at Washington in Game 5 of their playoff series Friday night.

Belanger needed some serious dental work at the arena, getting exposed tooth roots trimmed — then returned to the ice midway through the third period.

Explains Belanger: “I knew I was in trouble, but what are you going to do? It’s the playoffs.”

He expects to play in Game 6 at Montreal on Monday.

In summary, Belanger lost 7 or 8 teeth, including the one he ripped out himself.

Here’s the video:

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:

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Tonight’s exhilarating win in Montreal was marred by some nonsense. A small, but vocal segment of the Canadiens fan base took it upon themselves to boo the Star-Spangled Banner (also here and here). No one asked the booing throng for their finer details of their political ideology, but it’s safe to say that a seed of anti-American sentiment blossoms in Montreal.

Regardless of the outcome on Wednesday night, this quarterfinal playoff series will soon return to Washington, D.C., and there we will have a choice. Will the Phone Booth return fire, booing “O Canada” from start to finish, or will they take the high road?

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Gordon Opens the Floodgates! Caps Beat Habs 5-1.

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Ovechkin hails his Canadiens fans after his second-period goal (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Ryan Remiorz)

Finally, the Washingon Capitals finish a game in sixty minutes. But tonight’s soaring victory over the Montreal Canadiens nearly wasn’t such. Without Boyd Gordon’s brilliant short-handed goal early in the second period, the Caps might not have detonated the goalsplosion that followed.

Relying mostly on that 20 minute score buffet, the Caps easily bested the Nads 5-1.  Caps take the series lead 2-1.  Natch.

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Following Ovie’s first goal, the fourth of the game, Nicklas Backstrom cradled Alex Ovechkin by the face and showed him how to celebrate the French way. Enjoy.

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Credit: Your boy Neil Greenberg

UPDATE: Bonus video from @ClancyKolzig!  Thanks!

Coach: Please Start Jose Theodore on Monday

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Semyon Varlamov takes over for Jose Theodore (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In his last appearance in net, Jose Theodore allowed two goals on two shots and was subsequently given the hook. Russian boy wonder Semyon Varlamov stepped up and did an acceptable job (.863) in a game fraught with defensive missteps. But now that the Washington Capitals have traveled to the Canadiens’ home territory of Montreal, who should start in net?

Answer: Jose friggin’ Theodore

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Ovechkin celebrates during Nick Backstrom's hat trick effort in playoff win over Montreal Canadiens

[Ed. note - Our apologies, but tonight's game mandates celebration.  We're going to cut the recap short so that we can celebrate!]

Nick Backstrom scores his first playoff hat trick!

Nicky Backstrom secures his first playoff hat trick

Nearing the end of the second period, the Washington Capitals trailed the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.  But there was still the tiny matter of Nicklas Lars Bäckström.   The blonde swede superstar (who is still waiting on that new contract) made this a historic game all by his damn self.   Sinking his first playoff hat trick, Backy is definitely worthy of the “Nine Million Dollar Man” nom de guerre that Craig Laughlin bestowed upon him.  We’ll be talking about slapshot goal 31 seconds into overtime for months.

Captain America John Carlson scored the tying goal at the tail end of the third period, instantly carving his name into franchise history.  The 20-year old is frankly phenomenal, playing with more consistency than Norris slam-dunk Mike Green.

Also, Alex Ovechkin finally got on the board, tipping in a shot from… JOHN CARLSON.

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Let's forget tonight happened. Deal? (Photo by Mitchell Layton, Top Photo by Greg Fiume)

Let's forget tonight happened. Deal? (Photo by Mitchell Layton, Top Photo by Greg Fiume)

The time for analysis is through. This was the wrong kind of game to open the post-season especially after last year’s bitter ending. Playoff hockey isn’t cherry-picking at the blue line, waiting for an opponent to break down. Playoff hockey isn’t going 1-on-3 when your last name isn’t Ovechkin or Backstrom. Playoff hockey isn’t getting fancy and putting the puck through a defenseman’s legs.

Playoff hockey is going hard to the net. Playoff hockey is making your own bounces. Playoff hockey is ugly goals. There was not near enough of that tonight. Period. The Caps deserved to lose 3-2 in overtime, and they now trail Montreal 1-0 in the series.

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We Got it Made: 5 Keys to Caps vs. Habs

Alex Semin Goes Strong to the Net Against the Montreal Canadiens.

Thursday will mark the fifth time the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals face off this season.  The Internets are awash with intelligent analyses and strong opinions, and we were feeling left out.  So we got the RMNB team together and pounded a bunch of latte macchiatos with guarana infusions.

All we could come up with is five smart points that will characterize the series and then a handful of jokes.  Pity us and read on.

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