Capitals vs Canadiens Recap: One Week to Right the Ship

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Saturday April 20th, 2013

Game Recap: Defensive nightmare continues for the Habs; coach promises changes.

2nd in the East
3rd in the East
MontrealCanadiens  Washington_Capitals



 FINAL 1 2 3 OT T
 Canadiens 0 0 1 1
 Capitals 2 2 1 5

Top Scorers:

  • Max Pacioretty 1G
  • Tomas Plekanec 1A
  • Josh Gorges 1A
  • Alexander Ovechkin 2G 1A 
  • Troy Brouwer 2G
  • Nicklas Backstrom 1G 1A

Scoring Summary:

G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 4:49 EV WSH 8 A.OVECHKIN(29) 19 N.BACKSTROM(39)
2 1 5:57 EV WSH 20 T.BROUWER(18) 27 K.ALZNER(4) 9 M.RIBEIRO(32)
3 2 3:49 EV WSH 20 T.BROUWER(19) 90 M.JOHANSSON(14) 9 M.RIBEIRO(33)
4 2 7:50 PP WSH 19 N.BACKSTROM(7) 8 A.OVECHKIN(21) 52 M.GREEN(10)
5 3 13:23 PP WSH 8 A.OVECHKIN(30) 52 M.GREEN(11) 9 M.RIBEIRO(34)
6 3 14:51 EV MTL 67 M.PACIORETTY(13) 14 T.PLEKANEC(19) 26 J.GORGES(6)

Shots on Goal

 FINAL 1 2 3 OT T
 Canadiens 9 12 15 36
 Capitals 9 6 10 25



Carey_PriceCarey Price

Record: 20-12-4
SA: 25
Sv%: .800

HoltbyBranden Holtby

Record: 21-12-1
SA : 36
Sv%: .972

Lineup Notes:

  • Habs starting six: David Desharnais, Rene Bourque, Michael Ryder, Yannick Weber, Francis Bouillon, Carey Price
  • Scratched: Colby Armstrong, Tomas Kaberle, Gabriel Dumont, Davis Drewiske, Mike Blunden, Alexei Emelin, Ryan White

What you need to know:

So the team that was released from the critical care unit on Thursday is back on life support and Habs fans are panicking. Again.

The truth is that the Canadiens really didn’t play all that well against the Lightning, a team that has lost 16 times on the road, winning just six games. Having said that Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper thought his team put forth one of their best efforts and the Canadiens were only saved by a last-minute Brian Gionta goal and a game that Carey Price stole.

So perhaps Saturday night’s result shouldn’t have been a big surprise given that the opponent came into the game with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10.  What was disturbing was the ease in which Washington took control with no push back from the Canadiens.

Post-game Josh Gorges said very bluntly “we were soft.” The Canadiens assistant captain is dead-on in his candid assessment.

It seemed like a replay that we have been watching over-and-over again all week. Habs were getting beat to the puck, losing battles and seemed completely lost in their own end.

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

The third Washington goal early in the second period seemed to be the back-breaker; the posture of the Canadiens noticeably changed afterwards.

  • Francis Bouillon was weak on the boards.
  • When Marcus Johansson grabbed the puck, four Canadiens defenders were in his vicinity focused on him with two Habs defensemen in the corner.
  • The Caps forward passed it to Troy Brouwer at the top of the circle.
  • Rene Bourque was there, in good position, but failed to use his body or his stick to disrupt the shooter. Instead he acted as a perfect screen.
  • Brouwer took advantage of ideal shooting position in the slot and hit the back of the net.

Soft indeed. Montreal had so many opportunities to break up the play but failed. It’s a situation that keeps repeating itself.

The Canadiens are a confused bunch in their own end. They are playing as individuals not really sure of their responsibility nor what their teammates will do. And these defensive breakdowns provide a direct link to why the potent offense has gone dry.

Lack of possession in their own end and scrambly play can’t lead to clean breakouts where the forwards can use their speed.

At the very least the Davis Drewiske experiment seems over for now. Don’t look now but the forgotten Yannick Weber has played three solid games. During that stretch he has two assists, an even-rating and averaging 16:04 in ice-time. Perhaps another lapse in judgment to have him languishing in the press box for so long.

The good news is this situation is fixable. But to date, the coaching staff has been unwilling to admit their mistakes and modify their defensive approach. Post-game Michel Therrien said it is his responsibility to repair the problems and get his team ready for the playoffs.

We’ll hold the ‘what took you so long?’ question for now and simply say ‘have at it coach!’

Injury/Roster Report:

  • No new injuries.

 NHL Three Stars
  1.  Alexander Ovechkin
  2.  Braden Holtby
  3.  Troy Brouwer

 Post-game Chatter

Coach Michel Therrien:

  • “We didn’t have good execution at the beginning of the game, cost us two goals. We were behind the 8-ball right from the start.”
  • “We need to practise. We have three games coming up this week to make us ready for the playoffs. That’s my responsibility.”
  • “Obviously if we give up 5-6 goals a game, we have to focus on our defensive game.”
  • “I’m disappointed about every aspect of our game: 5-on-5, penalty-killing, and power-play.”
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Josh Gorges:

  • “We have to make sure we’re prepared this week and have the effort. If we get scored on, so what? We have to bounce back and have that championship mentality.”

Raphael Diaz:

  • “Defensively we have to be hard to play against. We have to be stronger in front of the net and those are things we have to do better the next three games to be ready for the playoffs. There’s time to fix that and we’re going to fix it.”

Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin:

  • “We knew right away it doesn’t matter how they’re going to play, just have to win the game. Everybody was focused and everybody was ready for a big game. You could see from the start of the game we dominated them.”

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby:

  • “Anytime you get to go to Tim Horton’s before a game is a plus. So that’s what I’m going to say is the reason why I play well.”

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