Lightning-Capitals Game 2 Recap

Alright, so this isn’t the start which many of us wanted the series to get off to. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy but falling behind 2-0 in our first two home games? Yikes. Before everyone erupts into pandemonium, let’s take a short breather here and put things into perspective. Have the Caps been playing bad this series? No. In fact, I thought they played very well tonight for the most part and could have won the game. The Caps outshot the Lightning again and this time by a margin of 37-23 and controlled play for the most part again. So what went wrong? Bad bounces. They happen. Martin St. Louis’ goal which bounced off Mike Green’s skate was the definition of that. Of course, when you run into a hot goalie it doesn’t help. Neither does losing the special teams battle again. This is sounding way to familiar, isn’t it? However, the games have been a little different from what happened in Montreal last year and I do not think the Caps are out of this yet. 2-0 isn’t impossible to come back from. In fact, the Bruins did just that last round. Yes, it’s tough losing the first two games on home ice but the Caps have won at the St. Pete Times Forum numerous times. We’ll just have to hope they take the next two there. The one thing that concerns me is that some of the same mistakes that happened against Montreal last season are happening again…and those are usually the ones which seem to be losing the game. Caps have two days and a back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday to right the ship. Here’s hoping they do so.

Notes/Observations

– Caps won the Corsi battle 41-37 at even strength, indicating that they controlled the play at even strength which they did. However, they lost the special teams battle which, in my opinion, severely hampered their chances of winning. Three powerplay opportunities in the first periods and we didn’t convent on any of them. Additionally, we let the Lightning score a PPG right before the period ended. They were getting good pressure and Dwayne Roloson had to make a couple saves but our PP unit just looked lost for the last two attempts. I want to say that Bruce should shake things up a bit but every forward seemed to get significant time on the PP so I don’t know what’s up. Maybe it’s having 5 forwards on one unit……

– Take a look at our shot chart. Notice where both of our goals came from? Right in front of the net and it was the result of good forechecking and crashing the net. Also notice how many other of our chances came from right in front of the net too but Roloson definitely did his part to keep almost everything out.

– Boudreau changed the lines a bit today with Johansson centering the top line with Ovechkin and Knuble and I actually thought this trio did pretty well. Johansson is showing that he has the speed to keep up with Ovechkin but he couldn’t quite finish a few plays. Backstrom, Semin and Laich definitely played very well, though and it was their hard work which led to the Caps first goal. 14 shots generated for the trio tonight. The problem came later in the game where every single line looked out of sync but the Lightning’s defense had more to do with that.

– The more I watch the highlights, the more I think to myself that the Caps are playing too well to be trailing this series 2-0. They are forechecking well and limiting Tampa Bay’s chances early on but they aren’t finishing them and committing some brutal mistakes at the worst times. Tonight’s biggest flaw came on Lecavalier’s goal in OT which was due to a bad line change. I still think we are capable of taking the next two on the road.

– Mike Green didn’t have the best of nights. He was the one caught on the bad line change and St. Louis’ goal went off his skate. The Lightning likely would have scored on that play anyway since the Caps D was scrambling around confused. He also took two penalties but it’s hard to say he deserved the first one at all.

– Want more bad reminders of Montreal? Ovechkin’s average shift length was a minute tonight. Yikes. This didn’t happen against NYR from what I remember…

– Great game from Brooks Laich. Did well on the second line and was really effective at generating pressure and scoring chances (5 shots on the night). Arguably the team’s best player not named Ovechkin for the Caps tonight.

– Speaking of Ovechkin, would putting him down low on the powerplay while Arnott and Green man the points be plausible at all? Because I’m open to try that after watching him basically play fetch with the other forwards during powerplays tonight.

– For as good as Roloson was, most of the shots coming a him were directed right at his chest. He isn’t that mobile of a goalie so if we can make him move around some more then we could beat him easier. It would also help if any of our passes in the offensive zone looked halfway decent.

– People are wondering if we should start Varlamov now since Neuvirth’s let in 6 goals on 46 shots. My answer is no. Neuvirth isn’t the reason the Caps are losing. In the back-to-back game, I think we might make the switch, though.

Like I said, we could easily have this series tied right now but instead we are down 2-0 thanks to stupid mistakes. I seriously do not think we will be swept with how we are playing but we definitely need to clean up our acts a bit and it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Everyone”s down on us now but this team’s battled adversity during the regular season before and they can do it again.

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