Thursday, April 17, 2008
More to the point, the Caps are oh-for-six in the first period in the two games they lost and ended up outscored by a total of 5-1 in those two first periods.
For all the talk about the Flyers' physicality and making themselves a nuisance, the games have just as likely turned on the Capitals' inability to take advantage of early opportunities to put the Flyers behind the eight-ball.
Fail on the power play, give the team a lift, let them score, find yourself playing catch-up. That's been the script of the last two games. What the Capitals need is to bury those early chances...and we're betting they'll get some again, tonight.
16 games…one goal, five assists, -4…no wins in three series
40 games…13-24-37, -1
No games…no wins…no saves…nothing.
The playoff career results of three Flyers before this year. One is being remade into the image of Larry Robinson on the blue line, the other Guy Lafleur on the front line, and finally, one in the image of Ken Dryden.
One hasn’t been on the ice for a goal against, another is tied for second in points-per-game in the playoffs, and the last has a shutout among his two wins (despite rather pedestrian save percentage numbers).
We’re being made to believe the Caps are playing the 1978 Montreal Canadiens.
They’re playing a team that won fewer games (42 to 43).
They’re playing a team that gave up more goals (233 to 231).
They’re playing a team that had a 10-game winless streak less than two months ago.
Crash Davis, in the movie, “Bull Durham,” remarked that you had to be “cocky and arrogant, even when you're getting beat. That's the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”
Being down two games to one should be enough to instill, at this point, a hint of fear…of failure. But the Caps also need to exhibit some of the arrogance they exhibited in coming back from 15th place to grab a playoff spot, of the sort that had them winning 11 of 12 games in the stretch, when most pundits were writing them off.
Flyers want to play chippy?...screw ‘em. You know how to play winning hard-nosed hockey?!...
YOU PLAY LIKE A GODDAMN WILDMAN! NO! LIKE A GODDAMN RAMPAGING BEAST! YOU GO OUT THERE! YOU TEAR THEIR F*CKING HEADS OFF, AND YOU SH*T DOWN THEIR NECKS!*
It’s one thing to respect an opponent…it is another to show deference to that opponent (def: respectful submission to, or yielding to the will of another). The Caps have exhibited too much of the latter in this series. These are not the 1978 Canadiens…that’s Martin Biron, not Ken Dryden…Kimmo Timonen, not Larry Robinson…Daniel Briere, not Guy LaFleur.
Caps 3 - Flyers 2
* We're paraphrasing a line uttered by Robert Loggia -- or perhaps growled is the more accurate verb -- in the immortal film, "Necessary Roughness."