Posted on 20 April 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 20 April 2012 by Ed Frankovic
After Monday night’s WWE matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins in which the B’s grabbed a 2-1 series lead, the Caps talked about being more focused on the play between the whistles and staying disciplined. On Thursday night they did just that and although they had issues with the Bruins puck possession for large portions of this contest, the Capitals managed to win, 2-1, on Braden Holtby’s 44 save performance, to tie this best of seven series up at two games apiece. Game five is Saturday in Beantown with game six on Sunday at the Verizon Center.
The Caps saved their season on this night and they can thank their goaltender and special teams play. Marcus Johansson scored a marker on a sweet 2 on 1 break just 1:22 into the contest but it was all Boston in the opening frame after that as Washington failed to skate and be aggressive. Perhaps they were trying too hard to not be foolish and let their emotions take them off of their game like it did on Monday? Maybe, but it was clear the Bruins were clicking and pressing and Washington was sorely missing the suspended Nicklas Backstrom, who will return for game five. The Caps, who were outshot 14-3 in the first period, were very fortunate to escape those 20 minutes even steven. The second period started much the same way before the Capitals finally found their legs, plus according to Caps defensemen Karl Alzner, the coaches made some minor adjustments on the breakout.
In years past, special teams play has been a predictor of a series win for Washington. With the Caps killing off all 12 Bruins power plays and potting two man advantage tallies themselves so far in four games, the ledger reads +2 for the Capitals. That will need to continue for the Caps if they want to hang with the defending champs. The Capitals had three power plays in this game to just one for the B’s and two of the three produced excellent chances for the home team. Alexander Semin’s sick laser shot from the left wing half wall was a thing of beauty and ended up being the difference in the game.
What also helped produce the victory was a more solid third period, especially the last four minutes when Washington skated hard and seemed to win every puck battle. The Verizon Center was loud and had energy and both Alzner and Johansson credited the fans for helping the Caps have one of their better outings closing with a lead. Holtby didn’t have to face many quality shots down the stretch and the team was blocking shots. Several players, including Jay Beagle, Matt Hendricks, Joel Ward, and Mike Knuble worked their rears off to prevent Boston from getting a really good chance to tie the game up. Earlier in the period it appeared the Caps had fallen into the bad habit of trying too hard to protect the lead and as a result, they stopped skating. But something clicked down the stretch and the execution was phenomenal.
So the series goes to a pivotal weekend back to back affair. The Bruins have to be favored given that they carried so much of the play in this one, plus they are the champs and are playing at home. The Capitals are playing David to Goliath but they are sticking together and on this night they were much smarter. They still need to stop having pronounced lulls in the game, but if their goalie continues to play at this level, anything can happen.
Notes: The duo of Alzner and John Carlson was once again outstanding. Can’t say enough about how well #74 is playing, he’s amped his game up at the perfect time…Dennis Wideman had a poor opening frame and he pinched to give the Bruins a two on one, which Rich Peverley converted. But #6 recovered to play a strong final 40 minutes. He had been struggling in this series up until that point…Mike Green had 9:00 of ice time in the first period but played only 10:09 the rest of the way…Alex Ovechkin helped set up the Laich-Johansson two on one on the first goal and he received an assist on the play. The Gr8 was very inconsistent in this game and he only logged four shifts and a total of 1:58 in period three. His defensive zone must be better in close games, otherwise Hunter is not willing to risk playing him with a lead…with 9.5 seconds left, the puck was dropped and the game clock did not run for over five seconds as Bob McKenzie of TSN and Transition Game author, Ted Starkey, pointed out after the game…the faceoff battle was won by the Caps, 44-32…hits were 44-34 in favor of Washington. Hunter noted that his team was physical without taking bad penalties…1st Mariner Arena will host the 2nd Annual Baltimore Hockey Classic on Wednesday, September 26th between the Caps and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tickets for Capitals season ticket holders will be made available on Friday with all others able to purchase them starting Monday, April 23rd at 10am.
Programming Note: Check out my Caps radio segment with Drew Forrester on Thursday morning here from the WNST audio vault.
Posted on 19 April 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 18 April 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 17 April 2012 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: Boxing-Jermain Taylor vs. Caleb Truax (Friday 11pm from Biloxi, MS live on Showtime), Abner Mares vs. Eric Morel (Saturday 9pm from El Paso, TX live on Showtime); Tennis: ATP Tour Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (Tuesday-Friday 4:30am Saturday 7am Sunday 7:30am from Monaco live on Tennis Channel/ESPN3.com); Soccer: MLS-Montreal Impact @ DC United (Wednesday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), New York Red Bulls @ DC United (Sunday 6pm from RFK Stadium live on ESPN2); Women’s College Lacrosse: ACC Tournament-Maryland vs. Virginia Tech (Friday 2pm from Durham, NC live on ESPN3.com), ACC Championship (Monday 7pm from Durham, NC live on ESPNU)
10. Augustana (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Portugal. The Man (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live); Charm City Devils (Saturday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); Colin Hay (Thursday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); The Bacon Brothers (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage), WAR (Sunday 5pm & 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Fountains of Wayne/James Iha (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), NEEDTOBREATHE (Saturday 8pm Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Glen Campbell (Tuesday & Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere), Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Bad Brains (Friday 8pm Howard Theater); Daryl Hall/Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (Friday 8pm Warner Theatre); Bowling For Soup (Saturday 8pm Stevenson University); Johns Hopkins Spring Fair feat. Passion Pit (Friday-Sunday, Passion Pit show Friday 7pm JHU Rec Center); UMBC Quadmania feat. Gym Class Heroes (Friday-Sunday, Gym Class Heroes show Saturday 7pm RAC Arena); Neon Trees “Picture Show” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)
You know I’ll be at Recher Saturday night supporting the very awesome John Allan and CCD. My only issue with “Man of Constant Sorrow” is that I can’t fathom a human being leaving Kentucky…
I don’t particularly know anything about NEEDTOBREATHE but I DO know I dig this tune…
If Daryl Hall had Fitz & The Tantrums as his touring house band, I’d go to every show…
I probably shouldn’t admit how much I dig Neon Trees…
9. Ron White (Thursday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Eddie Griffin (Friday & Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Norm MacDonald (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Wendy Liebman (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); Tax Day (Tuesday)
I think I’m gonna go see Norm MacDonald. Because Norm MacDonald is funny. See below.
Also, it’s Tax Day Tuesday. I don’t think I’m getting any money back (do you have to make money for that?), but if I did I know exactly how I’d spend it…
There isn’t anything…in the world…I want more than a LoveSac.
Posted on 16 April 2012 by Ed Frankovic
After the Caps won game two in Boston, Bruins Coach Claude Julien challenged his team to be tougher and more physical around Washington goalie Braden Holtby. On Monday night, his club responded by crashing the cage and playing an ultra physical game in a 4-3 victory at the Verizon Center. The Bruins now lead the best of seven series two games to one with game four on Thursday night in DC.
This game was there for the taking for the Caps as they opened up a 1-0 lead when their power play connected on its first try. Alexander Semin scored on a shot from the top of the circles with Brooks Laich running traffic on Tim Thomas with four minutes left in period one. Washington played pretty solid defense in that opening frame and Holtby was looking in great in net.
But Holtby finally blinked on a four on four situation and he let in a softie on Rich Peverley’s wrister. Alexander Ovechkin answered 13 seconds later and it seemed that the Caps were going to right the ship.
However, the Caps started to forget to do the little things, which is playing good defense away from the puck. That ability had gotten them the good showing in Boston but the defensive discipline started to slip away in the middle period and when Mathieu Perreault lost Daniel Paille in front of the net, #20 had a layup to tie the game up. Things then got worse in Washington’s own end as Laich allowed Brian Rolston to score again from in front early in period three. Laich would then tie it up with six minutes left scoring on a breakaway after a great feed from Nicklas Backstrom.
Boston received a questionable power play late, and I won’t even go there with the NHL referees who are having a tough playoffs across the board, but then Milan Lucic paid the price for his extra curricular physical play getting a four minute rough to just two minutes for Matt Hendricks. It seemed to be a good break for Washington but four on four has not been their game this year and the B’s took the lead late on Chara’s point blast that hit a Capitals stick on the way in. The Caps pressured late with Holtby pulled but couldn’t connect.
So Julien tried his coaching move and his team responded. The Bruins outhit the Caps 58-36. Washington is more skilled and doesn’t want to get into that type of game but the way this one was being called, it played right into Boston’s hands.
Now it is time for Dale Hunter to make adjustments. First thing the Caps need to do is not get into the post whistle scrums and focus on the play with the clock moving. That wrestling stuff seems to heavily favor Boston. Washington also needs to clean up their own zone again and watch the guys away from the puck. Finally, they must correct their neutral zone, as the Caps tried too many cross ice plays that were intercepted.
Simply put, the Caps have the speed advantage in this series and need to get back to using that by dumping the puck behind the slow Boston defense and employing their cycle game to generate chances. The neutral zone miscues give the Bruins more time to set up their physical play and pound the Washington defense. The turnovers and poor coverage are not a recipe for playoff success.
Your move Dale.
Notes: The Caps lost the faceoff battle 37-33. Marcus Johansson was 1-5…Perreault only played 4:23 and his ice time suffered for his defensive lapse in period two…Laich had three points (1G, 2A)…Mike Green led the Caps in ice time with 26:35….Backstrom was given a match penalty for cross checking Peverley as time expired. That carries an automatic one game suspension unless it is rescinded. Replays seem to come to #19′s aid but with the NHL, who knows?!
Posted on 16 April 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 16 April 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 14 April 2012 by WNST Staff