RED ALERT: This is it --- GAME 7
The Washington Capitals have battled back from being swept two games in the beginning of this series, going to New York down 2-0. The Washington Capitals have battled back from a 3-1 deficit, including a critical win in New York. The series is now tied 3-3. The series comes back to Washington, DC. The series culminates tonight, at 7PM, at the Verizon Center, the final game, the 7th game, winner moves on, loser begins the off-season. There is no more important game in the Capitals season than tonight, period. The final battle is set, and the Fury awaits as the Caps take the ice and the Sea of Red swamps the Verizon Center.
Brashear gone for 6 games . . . Donald Brashear received the hammer from Toronto, a 6 game suspension and will miss tonight's Game 7 for an illegal hit in Game 6 on Sunday. A little harsh? Perhaps. But, to me, Brashear has been more of a liability the last two games than anything. I think the Caps will be better off with Brashear out of the game. You can probably tell I am not really high on Brash. Bruce Boudreau will turn to either Michael Nylander or Chris Clark. If Clark is healthy, I hope Gabby turns to him. Clark can provide grit, will stand in front of the net, and is not afraid to mix it up, all opposites of Nyladner. If you remember last season, Clark was hurt then as well, so if Clark dons the sweater tonight, it will be his first playoff appearance as a Capital.
Bob McKenzie from TSN agrees with the Barshear sanction. I agree with a suspension, but 6 games, come on?
Redemption . . . Mike Wise form the Washington Post writes a timely article on Redemption. Caps forced a Game 7 last season against Philadelphia only to fall in over time to Philadelphia. This is the chance for redemption, better yet, on home ice.
When the Caps face off tonight against the Rangers, they should remember that feeling more than the euphoria of Game 6 at Madison Square Garden, more than anything they've felt the past year. They should think back to that hollow, wrenching pierce in the heart, of that puck knocked in and themselves knocked out.
Indeed they should. Differences from last year --- Caps have the playoff experience, are on home ice, understand well the feel of defeat in game 7, and have a young, hot goalie in net. Could be enough to propel the Caps to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Bottom line for the Caps, they know and have felt the experience of losing.
Ken Campbell from The Hockey News believes the right result for hockey would be a Capitals victory in Game 7.
Should the New York Rangers somehow collect themselves to come back and win Game 7 against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night, they will go down in history as arguably the least deserving team to ever win a playoff series.
As it stands now, the Capitals are outscoring the Rangers 17-10 through the first six games of the series and outshooting them 192-141, which means they've been outshooting the Rangers by an average of 8.25 shots per game. With 44 shots in the series so far, Alex Ovechkin has just one fewer shot than the Rangers' top three shooters - Ryan Callahan, Nik Antropov and Scott Gomez - have combined.
Man, looking at those stats, you see how lopsided this series has been and how good Henrik Lundqvist has been. His importance to the NY Rangers is sooooo underestimated.
But, even if you are sick of hearing the same thing from me, hear it again. I wrote after game 1, game 2, game 3, game 4, game 5, game 6, and now for game 7. The critical keys to the game are the same, stagnant and resilient --- take the puck to the net, limit the fancy passing and perfect shot play on the power play and just fire away, come in close on Lundqvist's left side, and take shots, shots, and shots. That is how they will beat King Henry again. That is how they beat him the last two games. It is absolutely critical for the Caps to get on the score board first tonight.
But really, is anyone outside the metropolitan New York area even hoping the Rangers win this thing? After all, which would you rather watch in the second round - a slow, plodding, old team with a brilliant goaltender or a dynamic young team with the most explosive talent in the game today?
I know! I know! I pick the latter!!! Great, great article by Ken Campbell at one fo the best hockey site son the web. Go read it!
Want to read something funny? John Tortorella wants you to believe all pressure is on the Caps. Hey John, did you forget your team was up, ummm, 3 games to 1?
And the best for last, an interview by Sports Express of Cap Sergei Fedorov. Feds on Alex Ovechkin . . .
Ovechkin even when the score was 5:1 was eager to take part in clashes and was always in the centre of powerful fighting. Don't you think it is dangerous and can lead to an injury?
- Alex is always playing this way and I think one cannot do anything with it. He never spares himself and never tries to avoid ruffles. Sometimes I tell him that it is no use to tussling with two-three players and he agrees with me but keeps on doing his way. It is not for nothing that he is the best NHL player.
And we in DC would not want Alex any other way!
Finally, Feds has some words on what he thinks 21 year old rookie Simeon Varlamov has meant for the Capitals in the playoffs.
I think it was he who turned the course of the series around. Semen had it very difficult, for he was thrown into the battle when the first match was already lost. But it is even good that this is his debut season in the League for focuses only on hockey and not on the frenzy around it.