What a great night of NHL Playoff hockey we witnessed last night at the Bell Centre in Montreal in-front of over 22,000 die hard hockey fans. While I’m not going to knock the Verizon Center in DC for being quiet during the Washington Capitals games, because anybody that’s ever been to a game or watched the games on TV already knows how loud it can get at the VC, but those Montreal fans last night were amazing!
In Montreal hockey is life. Being a Canadiens fan is something that starts at birth for most that live in the French-Canadian Provence of Canada and listening to those fans last night in game #3 of the first round of the playoffs gave me chills. Don’t get me wrong, I love the energy at the VC, the “Let’s go Caps” chants, the “who cares” the fans yell when the opponent scores a goal, it’s all great, but when the Montreal fans broke out in song (Ole,ole, ole) in the first period without needing any horns or extra motivation to make noise was simply remarkable.
While the Canadiens fans were on their A-game last night, the hockey team was not as the Washington Capitals turned up the heat in the 2nd period on their way to scoring 4 goals in that period before eventually defeating the Habs 5-1.
After switching goalies in the 2nd period of game #2, Seymon Varlamov started the game for the Caps over Jose Theodore and played nearly flawlessly in his first start of the 2010 NHL Playoffs. Varly was stellar and kept the Caps in the game throughout the 1st period by making dynamite saves repeatedly as the Canadiens kept getting solid scoring chances on the Caps while the road team came out of the gate slow.
In the 2nd period the Caps came out looking like their skates were on fire as they found the back of the net twice within the first five minutes of the period with goals by Boyd Gordon and Brooks Laich. The Caps kept up the fast paced tempo in the 2nd period that they love to play and added two more goals to leave the Habs in a hole that they couldn’t get out of.
While the Caps were beating up the Montreal goalies (they pulled Jaroslav Halak in the 2nd period for Carey Price) the Canadiens were trying their best to literally beat up on the Caps to try and get them to play a more physical game than they want. But the Caps kept their cool and allowed the Habs to take free shots at them, sometimes drawing penalties, others just drawing bruises. The mental stability of the Caps showed a team that’s committed to their end goal of winning a Stanley Cup and are willing to wake up extra sore if it means winning the game.
Game #4 is tomorrow night and the Capitals have a great shot to start hammering the nails into the Canadiens playoff coffin. Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau had entered game #3 unsure of which goalie would start for them in game #4, but after Varlamov stood on his head last night after making 26 saves on 27 shots, the decision was probably made for him, by the spectacular play of Varlamov A win on Wednesday and the Caps will lead the playoff series 3-1 heading home to DC to finish off the Habs and they should be able to collect a couple days of rest before they continue on to face their next opponent.