My Three Stars from Night 2 of the playoffs:
Is anyone still wondering why the Ducks walked out of the Shark Tank with a win in Game 1?
To be fair, all three top liners got on the shot sheet before the game was over. But where they came from gives a good indication of why
Michalek got off a bad angle bid from along the boards that had no real chance of going in. Marleau launched an unobstructed snapper from the top of the circle a few minutes later. Then Thornton completed the hat trick by launching a slap shot from the blue line with 48.4 seconds left and the result of the game no longer in doubt.
Full marks to the Ducks defense, especially
It's one thing not to get shots. It's another thing entirely to not fight for the ground where the shots are supposed to be taken. And last night, the Sharks were far too content to swim safely behind the ropes, well clear of the murky water.
"There's free ice and ice you have to work for," Sharks coach
Odds are you'll see a grittier performance from his troops in Game 2, especially good foot soldiers like
That's where those shots will really start to count.
Now let's see if they'll be consistent. If they are, the Canadiens should be down a pair of far more valuable players for Game 2 against the Bruins .
While it wasn't exactly a
The league also needs to take a look at the video of the scrum that followed to see the spear that
Shouldn't be a tough call. But that's exactly what it is after
Boudreau realizes the Caps played well enough to take the opener. The power play was clicking, they established their physical dominance early and the defense -- outside of
And yet they still came out on the short end of a 4-3 score.
While Caps fans are ready to ship Theo back to the Rocky Mountains on a rail car, Boudreau has to be more circumspect. It's not the first time a goalie has booted one away in the playoffs. And it's certainly happened at worse times than Game 1 of the first round.
Honestly, that Theodore had a bad game in him couldn't have come as a surprise. Sure, the first and fourth New York goals were the kind that would earn a beer league keeper a harsh razzing. They were inexcusable. They were the kind of saves that a team has to get at this time of year. But Theodore's season has been defined by inconsistent performances. The kind the Caps covered up for with that high-octane offense. That's pretty much the way the formula worked.
So why panic now?
The Red Wings gave
Not that experience is the only key to success.
If you have to go to the kid, better now,at the friendly Verizon Center than at Madison Square Garden with the Caps down two games to none. Right?
Maybe. Maybe not. Look, Boudreau has to assess his most important decision of the season as a matter of faith. He has to believe that the guys playing in front of Theodore believe in him.
Chances are they do. It all goes back to that division title. No one's expecting Theodore to be the guy that won the Hart Trophy back in 2002. But he deserves more than one chance. That's why, when Boudreau's driving to the rink tonight, he'll make the decision to give Theodore another chance. You gotta dance with them what brung ya.
But he might want to stop by PetSmart on the way and pick up the shortest leash he can find. Just in case...