Capitals and Canadiens - Game Two Goals Broken Down

As expected, the Washington Capitals came roaring back in Game 2, although for about 38 minutes, the game looked to be Montreal's walk in the park. For the Habs, it was truly a lesson that had already been learned from the fourth game of the regular season meetings.

So a split is good, damn good in fact. The Habs should now have seized what broke down in this game and move forward, taking advantage of what home ice brings tonight.

Here after the jump, are the 11 goals scored during the last game. The reaction to the first game's work was quite positive, so we teamed up again on this idea, hoping it wouldn't end in a 9-8 score. We shouldn't have joked about it - more could go in for Game 3!

Again, it's suggested that you look at these goals as I did in breaking them down, which is to hit pause often to observe the subtle details. There were many small things I was able to catch on third and fourth glance. It's quite honestly the most accurate way to see everything you can.

Goal 1: Brian Gionta (1), assist Scott Gomez (1)

On ice for Montreal: Gionta (21), Marc-Andre Bergeron (47), Benoit Pouliot (57), Andrei Markov (79,) Gomez (91)

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

Goal description:

A Carlson shot from the right point produces a rebound off Halak that is kicked out to the left point. It goes untouched all the way to center ice. Caps D-men Poti and Carlson cross sides. Gomez blocks Carlson's up ice poke with his leg, pursues and claims the puck inside the Capital's blue line. As Poti approaches him, he dishes to his left to Gionta, who fires a 40 foot shot past Theodore.

What Montreal did right:

After a bloated bounce, the Canadiens players were moving their feet with Capital's players going the opposite way. It allowed virtually no neutral zone presence other than Gomez on Carlson.

What Washington did wrong:

Carlson played the puck hesitantly and tentatively in the neutral zone. After Gomez blocked the puck poke, he found himself on a 2 on 1 with Gionta.


Goal 2: Andrei Kostitsyn (1), unassisted

On ice for Montreal: Mike Cammalleri (13), Tomas Plekanec (14), Josh Gorges (26), A. Kostitsyn (46), Hal Gill (75)

On ice for Washington: Matt Bradley (10), Eric Belanger (18), Jason Chimera (25), Mike Green (52), Jeff Schultz (55)

Goal description:

Kostitsyn intercepts a Green pass on the right boards as two intented targets skate past. At full speed he moves through the neutral zone inhindered. As he hits the Capital blueline, he cuts to the middle, with Cammalleri and Plekanec at his left and right and unleashes a howitzer that beats Theodore glove side off the post.

What Montreal did right:

On the turnover, all three Canadiens forwards spread out in unison at the top of the faceoff circle, causing the Capitals defenders to back off and allow a large area to create with.

What Washington did wrong:

Two players pursued Green's intercepted pass, leaving a large neutral zone gap. The puck was bobbled by Chimera and taken by Kostitsyn. Green and Schultz were then outmanned and backed off. Schultz got out of harm's way on the Kostitsyn wrister.


Goal 3: Eric Fehr (1), assists Tomas Fleischmann (1)

On ice for Montreal: Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), A. Kostitsyn (46), Bergeron (47), Markov (79)

On ice for Washington: Fleischmann (14). Fehr (16), David Steckel (39), Green (52), Schultz (55)

Goal description:

Inside the Capitals zone, Markov's flip pass to A. Kostitsyn goes over his stick and directly to Tomas Fleishmann, who feeds a breaking Eric Fehr. Fehr speeds in alone from center ice and beats Halak high on the blocker side.

What Washington did right:

Aggressive puck pursuit in their own end, combined with solid positioning allowed them to capitalize on Canadiens turnover.

What Montreal did wrong:

Markov made took the worst puck option. Instead of feeding Bergeron when there was more space or shooting the up the boards, he made a high risk pass to a vulnerable and covered Kostitsyn, who appeared to not expect the feed.


Goal 4: A. Kostitsyn (2) , Mike Cammalleri (1) and Tomas Plekanec (1)

On ice for Montreal: Cammalleri (13), Tomas Plekanec (14), John Gorges (26), A. Kostitsyn (46), Gill (75)

On ice for Washington: Brendan Morrison (9), Brooks Laich (21), Knuble (22), Green (52), Schultz (55)

Goal description:

Bergeron corrals a dump into the Canadiens zone, and feeds it to A. Kostitsyn across the red line. Bergeon and Markov head to the bench, replaced by Gorges and Gill. Kostitsyn has redirected the feed to Plekanec and heads for the net untouched. Plekanec wins the puck battle with Schultz and passes to Cammalleri behind the Capitals net. Schultz pursues the puck, and Cammalleri, with no pressure applied, takes the pass on the backhand, spots Kostitsyn at the crease unattended. Kostitsyn easily taps it home past Varlamov.

What Montreal did right:

Continuously kept the puck in movement, while setting up and taking full advantage of soft play by every Capital on the ice.

What Washington did wrong:

No coverage on Kostitsyn in the neutral zone or at the net. Out of position, Schultz lost a battle with Plekanec at the boards and was too late in arriving to counter Cammalleri behind the net. Capitals defenders allowed Kostitsyn to walk right and score unchallenged.


Goal 5: A. Kostitsyn (3), Jaroslav Spacek (2) and Cammalleri (2)

On ice for Montreal: Jaroslav Spacek (6), Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), A. Kostitsyn (46), Markov (79)

On ice for Washington: Chimera (25), Alexander Semin (28), Green (52), Schultz (55)

Goal description:

Canadiens are on the power play. Cammalleri has the puck at the right side board and feeds Spacek at the blue line. Both Plekanec and Kostitsyn are on edge of the crease keeping Schultz and Green occupied. Specek's drive hits Schultz's stick, then redirects off Kostitsyn past Varlamov.

What Montreal did right:

Crowded the goal area, keeping the Washington contained to the net. Spacek shot on goal when uncontested by Semin.

What Washington did wrong:

No puck pressure to the side or to the point. Did a lousy job clearing the front of the goal.


Goal 6: Nicklas Backstrom (2), assists Joe Corvo (1) and Alexander Ovechkin (1)

On ice for Montreal: Gorges (26), Travis Moen (32), Dominic Moore (42), Sergei Kostitsyn (74), Gill (75)

On ice for Washington: Ovechkin (8), Backstrom (19), Knuble (22), Shaone Morrisonn ( 26), Corvo (77)

Goal description:

Canadiens players are in position inside their zone, when Corvo fires a shot that goes wide and rolls up the left boards. It is picked up by Backstrom, who had hung back, but has now moved into the circle. As he approaches with the puck, Knuble cruises to the edge of the goal crease, lightly bumping Halak and creating a screen. Gill comes into clear Knuble as Backstrom winds and fires. Halak, screened and off balance, is unable to make the save.

What Washington did right:

Backstrom beat the Canadiens to a loose puck while Knuble invaded the crease area to set up a screen. Backstrom made a heads up play in assessing the perfect time to shoot.

What Montreal did wrong:

Four Montreal players, the exception being Sergei Kostistsyn, were concentrated on the goal and slot area. Kostitsyn was slow to pressure Backstrom and opted off, and Gill slow to bar Knuble's path, played into his ploy at the goal, screening Halak.


Goal 7: Ovechkin (1), assists Matt Bradley (1) and John Carlson (1)

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Maxim Lapierre (40), Roman Hamrlik (44), Mathieu Darche (52), Tom Pyatt (94)

On ice for Washington: Poti (3), Ovechkin (8), Bradley (10), Backstrom (19), Carlson (74)

Goal description:

Halak's clearing attempt from behind the net found no Canadiens' target. After a Washington interception, the puck falls to Darche, who fails to skate with it, and panics with a weak backhander that is shot directly to Carlson. Ovechkin comes on replacing the player who first intercepted the puck and heads straight for the crease. Darche dives to impair Carlson's shot, but Carlson skates around the fallen player and places his drive on net. Pyatt attempts to block from too far a distance, and impairs the line of vision. Halak makes the initial save, and the rebound is pounced upon by Ovechkin, who throws a backhand shot on net and then pries and digs at it, shuffling the puck between Halak's pads.

What Washington did right:

They beat Montreal to the puck and twice intercepted clears. Smartly put Ovechkin out while maintaining possesion in the Canadiens' end. Carlson was patient with his shot as Ovechkin eluded the Montreal defensemen.

What Montreal did wrong:

Hamrlik was being beaten to the puck behind the net, forcing Halak to play it in rather hurried fashion. That clear was batted down a Capital's player who headed to the bench, Darche was also impatient with the puck. Having Ovechkin come on ice against the fourth line was inconvenient. So was Hamrlik choosing to crosscheck Bradley rather than cover Ovechkin. Spacek off to the right of Halak, was out of place to affect the play.


Goal 8: Backstrom (3), assists Ovechkin (2) and Jeff Schultz (1)

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), Hamrlik (44), A. Kostitsyn (46)

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

Goal description:

Ovechkin and Backstrom break into the Canadiens zone with Hamrlik backing up. Ovechkin's shot is blocked by Hamrlik, who loses track off it in his feet. The puck slides to Ovechkin in the corner as Spacek comes back on the play, shoving Knuble off while bumping Halak in the process. Backstrom streaks to the net, eluding Plekanec. Ovechkin finds him on the doorstep uncovered, and Backstrom one-times the feed past Halak.

What Washington did right:

Entered the Canadiens zone flying and sent two players on net.

What Montreal did wrong:

Hamrlik got burned looking for a loose puck rather than concentrating on Ovechkin. Plekanec allowed Backstrom to blow right by him and settle in the crease.


Goal 9: Plekanec (2), assists Cammalleri (3) and A. Kostitsyn (2)

On ice for Montreal: Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), Gorges (26), A. Kostitsyn (46), Gill (75)

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

Goal description:

Hamrlik beats Ovechkin to the puck in the corner and feeds up to Cammalleri who make a quick poke of it to Kostitsyn. He throws a soft dribbler over the blueline, that bounces and arrives to Green. Green attempts to bat the puck forward, but it hits a streaking Plekanecs' leg. Plekanec dishes off the Cammalleri, who receives it awkwardly. Cammalleri backhands a pass to Plekanec, left unattended by Green at the crease.

What Montreal did right:

Gained momentum right out of their zone and caught several Capital's off guard. Plekanec vigourously pursued the puck at Green's feet, intercepting the clear and backing him down while passing off and continuing to the net.

What Washington did wrong:

Schultz was out of position back at the Canadiens' end, setting up the two on one, leaving Green alone. Green played the pass and momentarily left Plekanec alone.


Goal 10: Carlson (1), assists Backstrom (1) and Ovechkin (3)

On ice for Montreal: Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), Gorges (26), A. Kostitsyn (46), Gill (75)

On ice for Washington: Ovechkin (8), Backstrom (19), Knuble (22), Green (52), Carlson (74)

Goal description:

Cammalleri appears to slash and break Ovechkin's stick in the Capital's end and a penalty is immediately called. (See note below). The Canadiens seem caught a bit off guard at that moment. Backstrom gathers the loose puck and dashes past Plekanec at center ice at jet speed. Crossing the Montreal blueline, he drops to Carlson, who takes two strides towards the middle and whips a nasty shot past a kneeing Gorges which eludes Halak low to the glove side.

What Washington did right:

Took advantage of a situation and used every breath of speed to back an undermanned Canadiens team in on themselves. They figuratively wreaked havoc in seizing the moment.

What Montreal did wrong:

Cammalleri was caught up ice where the penalty was called, standing practically still after running up against Ovechkin instead of hurrying back. Hence Plekanec became similariliry vulnerable as Backstrom blew by. Kostitsyn was far right, out of the play itself. All this space allowed Carlson to be perfectly placed as a trailer on the play. Gorges could only manage a vain block attempt far from the shot.

Note: The slash call on Cammalleri happens fast, but with referrence to the replay and freeze frame screen shots like this one below, one can see that Cammalleri's stick never leaves the ice. As Ovechkin comes up against him, he does a bit of a jump around and they bump together. Ovechkin does a good sell with his arms raised, but his stick is broken two and a half feet up the shaft, where Cammalleri's stick remained on the ice. Them's the breaks, no pun intented!


Goal 11: Backstrom (4), Mike Knuble (2) and Poti (1)

On ice for Montreal: Gionta (21), Hamrlik (44), Bergeron (47), Pouliot (57), Gomez (91)

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

Goal description:

Hamrlik feeds a pass into the neutral zone that bypasses players on both clubs and ends in the Capitals corner. Three Canadiens forwards go off on a line change and there is no presence in the Washington end as they break out and no support in place for the Montreal defence. Poti strides out with the puck, feeding Knuble at the blueline who dumps off to a streaking Backstrom at center ice. With only Gomez trailing but nowhere near, Backstrom is allowed to skate thirty feet into Montreal territory, and using a backing Hamrlik as a screen, fires one through his legs, beating Halak off the post.

What Washington did right:

Alertly jumped all over Montreal on a bad line change that left a great mid-ice void.

What Montreal did wrong:

A brutal line change on a misread dump in. Cammalleri curled left into the Washington end when the puck had been shot in the right corner. That opened great space as all of he, Plekanec and Kostitsyn headed to the bench as Washington rushed up ice. Not one forward was in place to help out the Montreal rearguards.


A Final Analysis:

Notice that many of the Canadiens and Capitals goals are quite similar, apart from perhaps Backstrom's first, Ovechkin's crease goal, and the hat trick goal Kostitsyn scored with his arse.

Curiously, the Capitals scored one due to an alert line change, and also burnt Montreal for the winner when they changed badly.

The two clubs continue to have soft moments. Whereas Washington's errs seem more restricted to their own zone, the Canadiens, thanks in no small part to Washington's speed, seemed to breakdown more in mid ice.

Four of the eleven goals were scored on shots from long range and the trend of shooting from those areas is sure to continue.

A noticeable lacune on the Canadiens side for Game 2 involved the Markov / Ovechkin matchup. Montreal were able in the first to get away without matching up, but it bit them in the derriere in the second. With Montreal having the last change starting in Game 3, there should be an adjustment over the next six (plus?) periods.

Both teams are causing / making similar mistakes and we can guess that whichever team corrects them best from here on could win the series.

Thanks once more to Chris for his graphic contributions.

Complete game highlights

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