Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Habs Vs. Caps

The Subjective Retrospective

By now you're knee deep in predictions and statistics trying to make sense of the belief you have in these Canadiens.

Statistics are good, and as you know, I like them very much. But it is not for me to trot out more of the same statistics days after they have been treated by those who got there first.

If you want to know about every element of the Canadiens vs. Capitals, 2009-10 edition then you should check out Habs Eyes on the Prize who knits together all the data for you in a few posts. The main analysis talks goals, assists, wins, losses and has the very handy link to video to jog the memory.

Robert has also delved into some of the minutiae of the game, including the very relevant shots, playing with the lead and the less useful Faceoff stats (a firm disbeliever in the importance of that 2% swing am I). All of this can be accessed on his main page today.

If you're looking for more than goals and assists, don't forget Olivier who tracks shooting and scoring chances. Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, and Game 4 vs. the Caps give a lot more food for thought. I'm sure he'll be piping up with an analysis in the coming days too.

Subjectivity to add colour to your day

It's possible to go through life looking only at stats. It makes things very black and white. I think however that most of you enjoy a little colour, else you wouldn't be reading our thoughts after games at all.

Colour is what allows to discern whether Sergei's three assist game was a great one or just a background performance, whether Carey letting in 5 goals in February was a battling time or just an average hurting game.

So for your pleasure, I offer the game reports from all 4 games this season (you can search the archives for the 8 other Washington games if you want), with what we said about players of the game, domes and such. Hopefully it will help you clinch the argument against that annoying Toronto fan who is supporting the Caps out of spite.

Game 1 (3-2 W, Nov 20): Good Start To Tough Weekend; Who Saw That Coming?

All you really need to know:
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
Dominant again. I wouldn't say that he was more noticeable than Ovechkin, but he was definitely in the same league. He scored a goal, picked up an assist and was once again our best on the PP and the PK. Can someone give this man the 'C'? Please.

Game 2 (3-4 L (SO), Nov 26): Massive 2nd Period Not Enough For Montreal

All you really need to know:
"The second period, however, was probably our best of the week (better than the third against Columbus by a hair I'd say) as we were too much for the Caps to handle. We carried that momentum into the third and drew a couple of penalties thanks to our strong play. We failed to score on a 5-on-3, but did get one before the second man came out of the box. Then we decided to see if we could hold on for the win. Gone was the strong offensive play only to be substituted by 'hope-we-can-stop-Ovechkin' defensive play. Letting a team like Washington see if they can score never seems to be a good plan."

Game 3 (2-4 L, Jan 5): Montreal Struggle To Impose Themselves in D.C.

All you really need to know:
"It was the first time in a long time that I felt the Habs looked smaller than their opponents as we not only were losing battles, but we were often hesitant to even chase loose pucks for fear of being over-powered. I don't know how many times I saw a Hab back down tonight from a Capital. Even our speed was outclassed tonight as we not only were beaten to most pucks, but we also never really seemed to give it our all."

Game 4 (6-5 W (OT), Feb 10): Habs Put An Unlikely End To Caps' Streak

All you really need to know:
"When you break down the Caps you see stunning offence, average D and below-average goaltending. When you make a game-plan against a team like that you must exploit those weaknesses - and that is what the Habs did. They found the chink in the armour and exploited it very well. What the Canadiens realized is that you can't really stop the Caps' offence. You can get up by 3, but you can't stop them. You can have Brodeur in nets, but they will not cease. So, the only way to beat a team like that is to open up and to try and out-score them."

Game Pucks

Plekanec, Hamrlik Gionta, S Kostitsyn


Plekanec (3), Cammalleri (3), A Kostitsyn, Pacioretty, Pouliot, Gionta, S Kostitsyn, Gomez

Hamrlik (3), Markov (2), Mara, Spacek, Gorges

Price (3), Halak (1)

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