Capitals vs. Canadiens, Game 3 results

Apr 19, 2010

Post staff writer Gene Wang discusses the outcome Game 3 of the Caps-Canadiens first-round playoff series.

The Capitals blew open the game in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory over Montreal in Game 3. There's a lot to discuss, so let's get started.

When on earth is the Caps PP going to convert? They may be able to sneak by the Habs without it, but to go deeper, it's an absolute requirement to be able to convert with the extra man.

I figured there would be questions about the PP. It certainly has been weak in this series. It's hard to knock the Caps after a 5-1 win, but I'm sure the PP ineffectiveness will be a major point of review for the players and coaching staff on the off day.

Now, if we could just get the Power Play in check. What are your thoughts on the PP?

My thoughts on the PP are that it has been wretched. They didn't need it tonight, but I'm sure everyone on the staff will be working overtime to figure out why it hasn't been clicking.

Does Boyd Gordon sit again?

You can't sit Gordon after the game he had. Not only did he spark the team with a shorthanded goal, he also won 12 of 13 faceoffs, if I'm not mistaken.

why must caps fan complain after a win....Our team just won the game 5 1 ...good job boys....lets come out wednesday with the same effort

I agree with you completely. I think it's just some angst that the league's best PP  during the regular season has been horrible.

Those of us not in D.C. had a hard time watching the non-nationally televised game. Did the defense look better or was Varly just solid?

I thought the defense played a lot better, but Varly was really on his game. You have to start him in Game 4.

Should the Caps stick with Varly or go back to Theo?

See previous answer

What do they need to get Semin going? I'd love to see Fehr on a line with him, to screen the goalie.

Semin had some quality chances, including a blistering shot late in the game, but Carey Price made some nice saves. I can't see Bruce Boudreau messing with the lines after this performance.

After Varly's game tonight, does anyone see Theo getting back in the series?

I say you have to go with Varly until he stumbles. A hot goaltender can make all the difference.

Who are your three stars of the game?

Varly, Gordon, Fehr.

How was the defense better tonight?

Much better on the backcheck,  and the PK give the team a big lift.

Chimera did a great job not hauling off and hitting that pesky Habs player. Great D all night - most complete game, since, um, FOREVER!

I thought Chimera not allowing the Canadiens players to goad him into fighting showed great composure. You need that kind of intelligent play to win in the playoffs.

Did Corvo get hurt late in the 3rd? Locker said he didn't see him on the bench around the 1-2 minute mark.

We're waiting an update on Corvo. Check back on Capitals Insider later for the latest.

When is the chat coming back? Like the Q&A. Love the chat!

Because I have to watch the game that much more closely during the playoffs, we're sticking with the postgame chats for the time being. But there's always a lively enchange on Capitals Insider during games. I'm posting updates after each period, and the threads get going from there.

So Geno, is this going to be another Varly postseason? Coach Boudreau looks like a genius right now (and it is not because of this goalie change). The entire defense showed up and the new lines were fantastic.

Yeah, right now you have to stick with Varly. And those subtle changes made all the difference, especially inserting Boyd Gordon onto the fourth line, which had 12 shots on goal. That's a ridiculous number for any fourth line.

May I switch my Green jersey for a Carlson jersey now? Any chance Carlson stays with the Caps next year?

I'd say there's a 99.9 percent chance he's here next season.

Forget the PP. That was a commanding performance. Carlson was fantastic. They cleared loose pucks. Varly was solid. The Caps finally found their game.

Well said.

Geno, what do we have to do to get an in-game chat?

I'll run it past my editors, but they seem resigned to stick with the postgame chat. I will say not having to moderate an in-game chat does allow me to pay closer attention to the game.

....and look what happened? Who wants to send me to a nice, isolated spot (Say...Atlantic City or Vegas) for Wednesday? Also....someone (in one of the earlier posts) predicted 5-1 Caps...Mad props to that person!

Really? I must have missed that. If that person is joining us for this discussion, reveal yourself because you deserve major props.

After Game 2, there were many questions. Why wasn't the Caps D challenging shooters? They did a much better job tonight and I don't even remember any odd man rushes for the Habs. When are Mike Green and Alex Semin going to show up? Both of those guys had solid games tonight. Can the goaltending hold up? Varly was outstanding. The only questions remaining are about the PP and why Ovi can't get his shot off, although the one he had was wicked.

Nitpicking seems to be a trend with some Caps fans, but it's hard to find fault from where I'm sitting after a 5-1 win.

What's the real deal with Steckel? Truly healthy scratch, or something else?

Truly a healthy scratch

So, I'm guessing Coach doesn't change the lines for the rest of the series, and I'd say Varley won the job as well.

Why mess with success, right?

His goal was unbelievable, I mean I still could not see the puck on the replay. Did you see it go in?

Ovie has a knack for the dramatic, and his goal while falling to his knees was just another example. If you couldn't see the puck on the replay, imagine what Carey Price had to be feeling when Ovie shot it.

Do you think the nhl refereeing up to his point has been fair and strict? If the Caps were to meet up with the Pens, would you see the refs being favorable to the Pens? *So far this season, the Pens-Caps game, the penalties have been a 2:1 ratio in favor of the Pens.

I think officials in the postseason let you know by what they call in the first period how the rest of the game is going to be called. Tonight's game was called fairly tight I thought.

You have to love Carlson...he seems to be the strongest D-man out there. When is Green going to put his complete game (the one we saw him with mid-season) together. Solid D responsibility and a goal or two.

If every player on the Caps were playing at the highest level, they would be winning every game 6-1. It's tough to have every single player on point for every game. The Caps didn't need Semin or Green to score tonight, but on that rare off night for Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, don't be surprised to see Semin and Green come to the rescue.

What about replacing the Q& A with a post game chat? I could get into that... TimDz

Now that's a thought, which I'll gladly run by my editors.

I'd say there's probably a 90% chance this series ends in DC Friday night. Come to think of it, the Caps have scored 10 of the last 12 goals in this series. Straight domination. Anything close to a performance like this on Wednesday, and we'll be Rockin' the Red into the Second Round Friday night.

Amazing how circumstances can turn in the course of less than 48 hours. On Thursday and through two periods on Saturday, Jaroslav Halak looked like Patrick Roy. Now the Capitals have scored eight goals on their last 30 shots against him.

Geno, I know it might suck for you to have an in-game chat, cause lets face it--having to moderate a bunch of rabid fans like us while watching exciting hockey is not exactly enticing. But if we could request a series clinching in-game chat, would u entertain the idea? It would be a great way for us fans to celebrate together from afar.

Another excellent suggestion that I will run up the flagpole.

BB has to get a special shout-out, his three key moves all paid huge dividends. I read people bash BB on Caps Insider...and I am baffled.

I was equally as baffled during the postgame chat on Thursday, when some were calling for BB's firing if the Caps lose this series. Really? I guess some Caps fans have zero patience. Every decision he made tonight paid off.

I like the fact that the caps didn't need to rely on their top line for goals. That needs to continue throughout the series and beyond!

Absolutely, and it wasn't  just the second-liners. The third and fourth lines played great too, and when that happens, you're going to win most of the time.

Not to say that one win necessarily defines a series, but were we all witness to the cream rising above the rest tonight?

While this win was impressive, Game 2 I think will be considered the defining victory if the Capitals advance.

Let us email the editors! Cough up the email address. I'm a subscriber so I have pull ;-)!

With all the requests for an in-game chat during this postgame chat, I don't think e-mailing will be necessary. I'll just alert the editors to read this transcript.

We were on an airplane & missed the 10-minute penalty; what happened? Also: your knowledge on hockey & the CAPS is superior to Boswell. Any chance that we'll see a column by Wang soon?

Basically a similar situation to what happened to Jason Chimera earlier in this series. Officials really are trying to clamp down on the agitating. And thanks for your kind words, but Boswell is to The Post what Alex Ovechkin is to the Caps, i.e. the face of the franchise.  I'm just happy to play the Boyd Gordon or Matt Bradley role to Boz's Ovie.

So are the Caps simply lacking discipline? Clearly, they are good enough on defense to absolutely shut down a team. Sure, playing defense is boring as hell, but it resulted in five goals. Tonight we saw a team that can easily receive the nodding approval of Lord Stanley.

Giving up one goal on the road at a venue like Bell Centre certainly underscores the improvement in the Caps defense and their commitment to the backcheck, blocking shots and making sure congestion is minimal  in front of Varly.

I thought Varly was super cool beans tonight. His first period was all that and a bag of chips, and it probably was responsible for the win. Varly for the rest of the series?

So far we all seem to be in agreement it's Varly the rest of the series. Plus Varly is 3-0 at Montreal, where he won his first NHL game. He has a world of confidence on the road against the Habs.

Best defensive game Semin has ever played? Lots of hustle that seemed to go unnoticed.

I noticed that as well. He had one especially nice takeaway during the penalty kill that showed great hustle.

I'd say go with Jose, but either way we win 5-1 tonight Posted by: _stevo | April 19, 2010 11:47 AM

Stevo is the man. Someone buy that guy a beer.

Does the booing of the Star Spangled Banner steam you as much as me? Bush league. Absolutely embarassing.

It was classless without a doubt. I'm looking forward to reading the Montreal  papers to see their take on that.

Eric Fehr is ridiculously awesome, yet he gets 9 minutes of ice time. Fleischmann stinks and plays 17. What is with BB's Fleischmann love affair? Promote Fehr!

Sometimes it's not a question of talent, but of chemistry, and right now, that line of Laich-BMo-Fehr is playing extremely well together. Don't see a change forthcoming.

Do you think the Caps have brushed off the rust and found their scoring touch or have the Habs just fallen back to earth?

The Caps have brushed off the rust of not having played a meaningful game in a month. Now they are in full playoff mode. That Game 2 victory kickstarted them, and they can thank John Carlson, all of 20 years old, for igniting the offense.

Stylistically, is Varly more aggressive than Theo? And has this led to his success while Theo has struggled? I especially noticed this game that Varly seemed more willing to leave the crease and challenge the shooter rather than have the shooter challenge him.

A lot of it is mental with Varly, who isn't fazed playing on the road against Montreal. He's the more confident goalie now, and the rest of the team feeds off that.

Big rebound game for Mike Green? He caught a lot of flak for his defensive play in Game 2 and tonight I don't think he played much better.

He did play much better defensively, and it's all because he's letting the game flow naturally and not overthinking. Sometimes when you worry about not making a mistake, that's exactly when a mistake happens. Green just has to continue to play aggressively, and things will fall into place.

I thought the power play looked better as the game went on and they had some chances. When they were up 4-0, it looked like they were more trying to be cautious as opposed to going for a goal. THe PK still concerns me, but overall, I thought the Caps played a much better game tonight, and it was nice to see contributions from the 3rd and 4th lines.

The PK was pretty darn good tonight I thought. They were 4 of 5 against the No. 2 PP team during the regular season. Hard to do much better than that.

Great game, but in the end it was 1 game. I see the Canadien's coming at the Caps strong in Game 4. I also see Price starting. The Caps will need their A+ game again; any worry that they will get complacent, or is this the waking of the sleeping bear type of game?

Bruce Boudreau said almost the exact same thing, that it's just one game. We all know the Habs will come out firing tomorrow. They know the series is over if they go down three games to one heading back to Verizon Center.

You spoke of chemistry and I'm 100% in agreement. If Corvo is out because of injury, how big of a loss do you think that would be, offensively and defensively? I thought he was a great pick up and has played mighty down the stretch. Also, when can we expect to see Walker play? I think his grittyness would have come in handy tonight.

Corvo would be missed, but it's by no means a debilitating loss. I don't see Walker getting into the lineup considering how well the third and fourth lines played tonight.

Any chance that Alzner or Erskine get a look if Corvo is out? I think they both bring some strengths defensively that might complement the other d-men.

 Both will be considered if Corvo is out.

I didn't really think they were as loud as advertised, even at the beginning when the game was still scoreless.

The crowd was loud early on, but after the Capitals withstood that early push, it quieted considerably. Trust me when  I say Bell Centre will be very loud for Game 4. 

I'm loving this addition. It seemed to take him a lot of time, but he's finally settled into a role here I think he fits. He's almost like our version of Avery, only not cheap and dirty. An agitator. I'm loving it!

Chimera does have that agitator role, but he played smart tonight by not allowing Montreal to lure him into taking foolish penalties. Plus he's one of the fastest skaters on the team.

Thanks everyone for your questions during this postgame chat. I'll be doing it again following Wednesday's Game 4, so be sure to join the discussion. Have a great night.

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Gene Wang
Staff writer Gene Wang writes about the Caps, Nats, Wizards and local colleges for The Post.
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