Man, the Caps really surprised me. Not too flashy but very strong defensively and Holtby was very good. We all know what a hot golaie can do for a team in the playoffs. The rangers better be ready. The Bruins always seemed to be squeezed out to the perimeter and had trouble getting anything clean on Holtby. It was frustrating. Every shot was blocked or deflected it seemed. The Caps backchecked well, skated hard and every game was a nail biter. I was impressed by Jay Beagle
. he was very good on faceoffs and always had good position. I cannot tell you how many times a Bruins center was tossed from the dot when facing him. He was a surprise.
The Caps are 100% committed to defense. Hunter was even sitting OV down for large stretches in the 3rd period against us. The Caps seemed very opportunistic, we would fire away on Holtby, 8,9,10 shots in a row and then one bad bounce or turnover and we would be suddenly down a goal. They were very patient allowing us to fire away at will and would cash in on mistakes.
This is a team that had to battle down the stretch to make the playoffs, so they were already playing a brand of desperate hockey to begin with. they were able to carry that over. they got the bounces and made their own luck at times against us. Every game was right down to the wire.
One thing to note about the series against Boston: The Caps played a straight up game. No BS. No extra curricular scrums or assorted shoving matches. The bruins thrive on emotion and playing with an edge. The caps took that away by simply not provoking us. there was literally no one on the caps trying to push the envelope or force the issue with us as far as toughness goes. Even Erskine was realtively quiet, settling for little shoving matches with Thornton. The caps did nothing to provoke us and Alzner completely defused the "cry baby" taunt by saying he wouldn't fight Lucic and that he was a great fighter. If that were Montreal or Vancouver, they would have talked smack and further fanned the flames. The Bruins love that sh!t. it only makes them better. the caps wanted no part of that and played a very straight up style of game, very defensive minded. i say this because if NY tries to push around the Caps, it will get them no where. they will not go for it and of course if push comes to shove, erskine is more than capable of handling anyone the rags have in the lineup, save Scott who has been a non factor in the playoffs and will most likely continue to be so because the caps aren't going to give them the kind of issues that would require his presence.
Hunter was foolish running to the media to decry the Bruins treatment of backstrom (who was supended for 1 game in the series). I really thought things were going to heat up but it never went any further. i honestly thought calls were made by shanny to get teams to cool it, which is perfect for a team like the caps, who only want to play that semi-trap system and not go over the edge. OV made some huge hits in the series, he and seidenberg had some great collisions.
This will be a good series. I'm taking the Caps in 7.