Caps need big effort tonight in Game 5

May 09, 2009 | Drew Forrester

It’s not do-or-die for either team tonight, but it’s close to that for the Caps, who have squandered a 2-0 series lead and return to Verizon Center for Game 5 needing a win to keep the Penguins from having a potential series-clinching game at home on Monday.

Friday in Pittsburgh, Simeon Varlamov had his first stinker of the post-season in the Washington net and Alex Ovechkin again spent most of the 60 minutes trying to imitate Claude Lemieux instead of Mario Lemieux and the Caps fell, 5-3.

Anyone seen Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich and Mike Green?

Semin was a no-show in both road games, Laich hasn’t scored a goal since Game 3 of the Rangers series and Green continues to be non-existent offensively. 

Ovechkin’s act is starting to resemble a cross between the Hanson Brothers of “Slapshot” fame and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  If he owned a motorcycle, he’d be jumping tractor trailers at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  The Great 8 has suddenly become The Great Collision…about 12 times a night.  I’d rather him just go back to being The Great 8.

If Ovechkin the wanna-be Claude Lemieux shows up tonight in Game 5, Washington loses.

Pittsburgh, right now, has the better team.  They are terribly unlucky to be deadlocked at 2-2 in this series, having outplayed Washington over the course of the four games thus far.  

That said, the entire series changed with one missed chance, by Ovechkin, early in overtime on Wednesday in Game 3.  If that puck gets desposited behind Marc-Andre Fleury, Washington leads the series 3-0 and it’s lights out from there.  Instead, Ovie whiffed on it and later on in sudden death, the Pens scored the game-winner and then evened the series last night.

So, it’s been a strange four games.  Pittsburgh’s been better, but the Caps are a strong-performance-and-a-home-win-away from moving to a 3-2 lead and having the comfort of a Game 7 at home, if necessary.  

Is there any thought from Bruce Boudreau to go with Jose Theodore tonight in goal?  I doubt it…but I wouldn’t be shocked.  

I don’t have a great feeling about Game 5 tonight.  

Then again, I’m not sure which Ovechkin is going to show up at gametime.

If the right one shows up, I probably don’t need to worry.

These days, that’s a big “if”.