Capitals and Canadiens - Game One Goals Broken Down

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In a series that seemed at first glance to be a largely qualified mismatch, the Canadiens have taken a one game lead.

It's hardly the end of the world, mind you, but seeing as though the Habs earned five points against Washington in the regular season series, what Montreal have done well, and where the Capitals have slipped thus far after one game, is deserving of a more microscopic look.

Below, the five goals scored by both teams in Game One are given a going over. A key to understanding the good and bad from both sides is hitting the pause buttom on the vids. Watch each one a few times over, every detail is key.

Regardless of which side of the fence your allegiances lie, I hope this sheds some light on how mistakes translate into goals.

Goal 1: Mike Cammalleri, assists Andrei Markov and Andre Kostitsyn

On ice for Montreal: Mike Cammalleri (13), Tomas Plekanec (14), Andrei Markov (79), Marc-Andre Bergeron (47), Andre Kostitsyn (46)

On ice for Washington: Tom Poti (3), Brooks Laich (21), Shaone Morrisonn (26), David Steckel (39)

Goal description:

The Canadiens are on the power play. Poti gains the puck behind the Capitals net, but hesitates to clear. Plekanec neuters the attempt, and the puck dribbles to the right side board. Bergeron beats Steckel to it, and feeds Kostitsyn at the point. Cammalleri makes himself invisible, back to the right boards. A pass is made to Markov cross ice, he moves in and draws the attention of all four Capitals players. Cammalleri re-enters the play, and Markov finds him for a one-timer that beats Theodore.

What Montreal did right:

Quick pursuit on Poti. Winning jump on loose puck. Immediate pass movement.

What Washington did wrong:

Bad clearing attempt. Lost puck battles, Breakdown of four man box to one side.

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Goal 2: Joe Corvo, assists Eric Belanger and Jason Chimera

On ice for Montreal: Jaroslav Spacek (6), Maxim Lapierre (40), Bergeron (47), Mathieu Darche (52). Tom Pyatt (94)

On ice for Washington: Matt Bradley (10), Eric Belanger (18), Jason Chimera (25), Morrisonn (26), Joe Corvo (77)

Goal description:

Spacek's behind the net clearing attempt bounces off a Capitals forward. The ricochet comes straight out from behind the Montreal net. Belanger passes up a stride to seize the puck, allowing it to reach Corvo at the blueline. With multiple bodies all in line with the Canadiens' goal, Corvo floats a high wrister that eludes a multi-screed Halak.

What Washington did right:

Blocked passing lane behind the net. Had gained positional advantage on four of five Canadien players. Put a simple shot on net, upon recognizing a screen.

What Montreal did wrong:

Lame clearing attempt without looking. Too much concentration - four players - on a puck in a virtual dead zone. No pressure or shot block attempt at blueline.

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Goal 3: Nicklas Backstrom, assists Mike Knuble and John Carlson

On ice for Montreal: Brian Gionta (21), Josh Gorges (26), Benoit Pouliot (57), Hal Gill (75) and Scott Gomez (91)

On ice for Washington: Poti (3), Alexander Ovechkin (8), Nicklas Backstrom (19), Mike Knuble (22), John Carlson (74)

Goal description:

Knuble's backhander misses the Canadiens net, stopping at the right corner boards. Five Habs cover two Capitals, who somehow win possession. A slow point feed eludes Pouliot, and is fired by Carlson at the goal. The shot hits Gill and bounces to Knuble. Gill dives to block Knuble's option. Knuble, his body screening Halak's view, slips a foot long backhand feed to Backstrom, who fires it past the frozen Canadiens goalie.

What Washington did right:

Kept puck possession despite being outmanned for seconds in the corner. Passes found open players. Were quick to loose pucks.

What Montreal did wrong:

Too much concentration once again, on a puck in a harmless corner. Failed to sufficiently cover the most obvious passing lane to the point. Misread bounce and coverage.

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Goal 4: Scott Gomez, assists, Brian Gionta and Benoit Pouliot

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Gionta (21), Pouliot (57), Gill (75) and Gomez (91)

On ice for Washington: Ovechkin (8), Backstrom (19), Knuble (22), Mike Green (52), Jeff Schultz (55)

Goal description:

Gomez takes the puck behind the Canadiens' goal, skates freely through two Capital's defenders into the Washington blueline. As he draws four Washington defenders, he drops to Pouliot, who passes off to Gionta at the right boards and heads to the net. Gionta fires at the net, and Gomez reaps the reward.

What Montreal did right:

Not much, other than Gomez recognizing soft coverage and slipping though. A pass to a wide open Gionta. Uncovered, Gomez skates to the crease. Gionta puts a shot / pass on goal.

What Washington did wrong:

Backstrom and Ovechkin were spectators as Gomez breezed by at the center ice line. Backstrom pursued Gomez, although he was covered by three defenders, leaving Gionta unchecked.

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Goal 5: Tomas Plekanec, assist Jaroslav Spacek

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), A. Kostitsyn (46), Gill (75)

On ice for Washington: Tomas Fleishmann (14), Laich (21), Knuble (22), Morrisonn (26), Corvo (77)

Goal description:

Corvo's up ice pass is deflected by Plekanec, never reaching its intended receiver. Spacek corrals a dribbling puck inside the Canadiens blue line, and taps a pass off the boards. Plekanec is more alert than Morrisonn, gains the puck, and enters the Washington blueline. He slaps at a puck on end, and Theodore has trouble tracking it.

What Montreal did right:

Plekanec offered Corvo a passing lane, and then sought to eliminate it with his stick. By luck it was deflected, bouncing to Spacek, who made the simplest play, a pass off the boards to Plekanec. Using Cammalleri as a foil, Plekanec drilled a shot on goal from an unchallenged distance.

What Washington did wrong:

Corvo made a lenthy pass, soft through the neutral zone, instead of skating it out for a line change. Both Backstrom and Ovechkin, up close to Spacek, opted to go to the bench, ten feet and two strides from the puck. Not recognizing the mid ice breakdown, Morrisonn failed to challenge Plekanec as he entered the Capitals zone.

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A Final Analysis:

Not much to add up here once it has been simplified. The two Capitals goals resulted from forced and unforced bounces. With the Canadiens concentrating way too much coverage one way and the puck going the other, two subtle plays - an almost lobbed shot on goal, and a sleight off hand pass - caught them off guard.

The Canadiens goals resulted from three varieties of soft plays by Washington. A bad clear and losing track of Cammalleri on the first; watching Gomez stroll on the second, and abandonning the play on the third. Each faux required an instinctive aggression at a split second notice, and all three were blown.

Much thanks to EOTP contributor Chris Boyle, whose graphics inspired this article.

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