Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What the Capitals have to do to Win Game 7 vs Montreal

So, as not to appear biased in his preference toward sports, DBSF is fulfilling his monthly 4 post quota on "other sports" (i.e., not basketball, football, baseball, or soccer). Having watched at least 5 minutes of half of the first 6 Capitals play off games, and having probably witnessed a total of 100 minutes of actual hockey (professional and collegiate) prior to this Stanley Cup, DBSF's analysis is admittedly qualified. But, hockey is like a mix of lacrosse and soccer on ice with a bunch of polysyllabic names so, DBSF should be able to pass off as sufficiently knowledgeable.

1. Play defense (and goal tend) in the first period: Most Caps fans like to say that the Caps are a 3rd period team. Well, they should focus on becoming a first period team. Of the 18 goals they've given up in the first 6 games, 8 have come in the first period. Further in the three loses they've given up 5 goals on 26 shots in the first period. That means the Canadians are scoring on just under 20% of their shots (see the previous post on top goaltender and subtract 1 from their save percentage for a better understanding of how pathetic this is). And, its not just poor goal tending as Montreal has had too many easy looks at the net (apologies if "looks at the net" violates hockey's lingua franca as some things might get lost in translation from basketballese.)

2. Convert on Powerplays: The Caps can literally only get better in this regard. (Regression to the mean!) They've scored 1 power play goal on 54 shots. For a team that converted over a quarter of their powerplays during the regular season this isn't impressive. It's like having your side struck out in baseball by some utility 3rd basemen in the 14th inning when there are no more real pitchers, or like getting a second DWI while still drunk driving home from the first DWI. Things can only get better.

3. Stars need to step up: In the three loses Ovechkin and Backstrom each have 1 goal and 0 assists, and Semin has 1 assist in the entire series (in a win). DBSF is sure there are other stars on the Capitals but of the three players he can name--which suffices for star power in this blog--these performances have been underwhelming.

Verdict: Caps win comfortably, 4-1 with Alexander the Great leading the charge with 2 points. DTSB must return to his internal struggle over whether or not he will spot start the Brewers #4 pitcher, which will likely result in 3Ks but a plus 8 ERA for the day.

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