Let's all be honest for a second here, the Washington Capitals didn't come to play last night. Montreal absolutely decimated them in the first period en route to a 1-0 lead off the stick of Danny Briere, and even though the Canadiens began to sit back a little bit in the second, it took a lucky goal for Washington to tie the game, and the tie lasted all of one minute after Tomas Plekanec completed an odd man rush.
After that though, the Habs sat back heavily. They let a team that didn't deserve to be in the game get in the game, which has been happening all too often this season.
Last year when Montreal would go up by one, they'd continue to push the play and go for a two goal lead before sitting back. This year they go into a shell with one goal leads constantly, and it doesn't work nearly often enough for it to pay off.
TSN-Habs analyst Dave Reid mentioned that Montreal is very comfortable sitting on one goal leads, noting that it was a good sign for success in the playoffs, which is... about as wrong as a statement can be. Sitting on one goal leads is pretty much the most dangerous thing good teams can do, and Michel Therrien is going to have to find a way to stop his team from doing it.
Another thing Therrien has to change is Alexei Emelin's deployment. He's still adjusting, and certainly not at full speed, and he's getting killed in tough minutes with Gorges. After two periods, Olivier noted on twitter that Emelin was on the ice for 7 of the 11 Capitals chances, and he's not an innocent bystander. He's getting caught out of position a lot, and making bad pinches.
It's going to turn around for Emelin, he's not a bad player, but for right now, Raphael Diaz is a better option with Josh Gorges.
And to be fair to Alexei Emelin, it's not like he was the only goat on the night. It's really tough for me to be harsh on Peter Budaj, but he may as well have handed the win to Washington last night. The gaffe that led to the Caps' first goal was awful, and he looked really bad on Mikhail Grabovski's shootout winner as well. But like I said, he's been so fantastic this year, it's tough for me to rip him.
I guess this recap is coming off a little negative, which isn't really fair to the team that's gone 6-1-2 over their last 9, so let's talk about some positives.
P.K. Subban was flat out amazing again, and I'll be making a gif of him breaking up a 3-on-1 break as soon as Gamecenter allows me to access the game in HD.
Lars Eller's shootout goal was fantastic, and our awesome brothers and sisters over at Japers' Rink made a gif out of it:
The quick turnaround against the Leafs could either bring us more sadness, or turn the frowns upside down, but no matter what, watch this video and laugh if you're Canadian:
- Top Six Minutes: Doesn't matter had Pleks Edition
- 24CH Flash: Behind the scenes of Bournival's shot block
- Complete coverage of the shootout loss to Washington
- Tokarski taking his game to the next level for Bulldogs
- NHL Life Episode 1: A spotlight on P.K. Subban
- Friday Habs Links - Therrien praises Subban