On L’Antichambre, Gaston Therrien is saying the Canadiens stole the game.
Playing on the road, they came from 2-0, outshot Washington, kept a tight lid on Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas backstrom and got perfect goaltending from Carey Price in the Shootout.
How about “inspirational win and perfect start to the most important part of the season.”
Yeah, that works better.
And if the power-play had been able to click off its puck possession, and if Semyon Varlamov had been less sharp, this one was an easy W in regulation.
Carolina and Atlanta lost, which means the Canadiens solidified their hold on a playoff spot.
The more excitable among us – and I include myself in that category – were probably booking April tee times eight minutes into the game.
By then, the Capitals led 2-0.
Down two in a road game?
Ninth place, here they come.
This gloomy scenario failed to take account of the Canadiens’ refusal to roll over – and Washington’s inability play up to their talent level.
This comeback wouldn’t have happened in Philadelphia.
The Capitals are fragile between the ears. Their superstars, Ovechkin and Backstrom, were decisively outplayed by Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.
Washington’s most sustained pressure came from their grinders: Mathieu Perreault, Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich.
Credit to Jeff Halpern, Tom Pyatt and Travis Moen, who did a terrific defensive job against Backstrom, Ovie and Mike Knuble.
And credit P.K. Subban, who seemed to be involved in one-on-one battles with Ovie all through the game. And aside from one undisciplined penalty, P.K. outplayed the Great 8.
P.K. did what Josh Gorges did in the playoffs: he stayed in Ovechkin’s face, took away his pet move, the cut to the middle, frustrated him.
I thought the D had a generally strong game.
The pairings combine LH and RH shots, offensive and defensive specialist, kids (if we count Wiz as a youngster) and geezers.
Jaro Spacek is back on the right side (he blocked four shots, as did Hal Gill), and Yannick Weber is keeping Alexandre Picard on a steady diet of hot dogs.
Maybe Pierre Gauthier won’t have t make a move for a Dman.
The forward lines remain a work in progress.
Plekanec and Gionta were excellent, and Max Pacioretty did not look out of place with the vets.
The Antichambre guys were all over Scott Gomez. He was 4-10 on faceoffs (Pleks was 6-15) and made his usual bizarre passes. But Gomez backchecked conscientiously – and popped the puck out to James Wisniewski to start the play that led to Gionta’s first goal.
Andrei Kostitsyn didn’t do much. It looked like he was having trouble anticipating where he would get the puck from Gomez.
This doesn’t happen with Plekanec. Gionta had seven SoG, and most of them were off the good looks he was getting when Pleks found him with the puck.
Lars Eller? Fairly invisible … but let’s face it: the kid is not a Top Six forward, at least not yet. He’s keeping the spot warm for Mike Cammalleri.
I liked David Desharnais’ work. He was 7-3 on draws (Halpern was a red-hot 10-2) and played fearlessly against the hulking Washington defence corps.
Weak on the first goal, helpless on the second and solid thereafter – including the Shootout.