Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gameday Preview: Playoff Edition, Round 1 Game 3

Who: Caps-Flyers; Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3
Wachovia Center, Philadelphia
Tuesday, April 15

Okay; so Sunday didn't go exactly as planned. Time to take a deep breath, regroup, and prepare ourselves for Game 3: Revenge.

You know, the City of Brotherly Love is never quite so lovely as when the Caps are making Flyers fans cry...and that's already happened twice this season. Combine that with the fact that the Caps know they can win in Philly and know they can bounce back from bad losses, and there's plenty of reason to feel optimistic. They just need to take what they did last game and reverse it. Simple, right?

There's not much to analyze about game 2 - the Caps simply looked outworked on every inch of the ice, generating minimal pressure and finding themselves pushed off the puck far too easily. The battles along the boards, the rushes up ice, the power play, none of it looked sharp. That's not the Caps team that scrapped their way into the postseason, and it probably won't be the one that shows up today.

We hope.

The fact that the Flyers managed to shut down both Ovechkin and Green is troubling. However, there are 29 teams in this league who have been unsuccessful in shutting down that duo. It certainly will not be the Flyers of all teams who figure out the magical secret to keep each of them off the board forever. Expect both big guns to adjust and come out flying...and a little secondary support wouldn't hurt, either.

As for goaltending, Huet was one of the best players on the ice after the Caps fell behind 2-0 in the last game and kept it from becoming really embarrassing, which it definitely had the potential to be. He needs to be able to see the puck, though, and get rebounds cleared away quickly. Cutting down on the odd-man rushes in the first place will probably also help, something the Caps had a lot of trouble with last time out. This is not the slow, pylon-esque Flyers team of the past (at least not up front) and their speed will get you every time.

And of course, congrats to new papa Martin Biron - he and his wife welcomed a little bundle of joy yesterday, a day after posting what will probably be the easiest shutout he ever scores. Even so, is it wrong to hope Biron's new baby kept him up nice and late these last two nights? I think not.

Time to bring it, Caps. Bring the pain, bring the energy, bring the passion...just bring it.

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