Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
Oh yeah, believe it. Alex Ovechkin(notes) and Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom and Mike Green(notes) and a whole bunch of other guys are really good at hockey and they pile up goals in often-hysterical fashion. Hell, they did it all year and pretty well walked away with the President's Trophy.
So how in the world are they 1-1 against the Montreal Canadiens, who spent the 2009-10 campaign playing hockey that, objectively, could only be called "not especially good?"
The answer is what, way back in October, you would have guessed it would be. The terrifying two-headed hydra of goaltending expertise that is Jose Theodore(notes) and Semyon Varlamov(notes) is not reacting well to having the bright lights of the postseason shine on it.
Two games. Eight goals against. Some might try to defend the guys and say both of those games went to overtimes. They wouldn't really be helping their own argument. Great, eight goals allowed in just over six and a half periods as opposed to six periods. That makes it a lot better.
(Coming Up:Stat keepers gone wild in Buffalo; Adrian Dater's Colorado pom-poms; the Thrashers' Plan B; the Kovalchuk conundrum; the Blue Jackets may go Whale; Osgoofus and Gallant; Spezza gets no respect; Pekka Rinne's(notes) big save; getting Iginla to the Leafs; the futures of Paul Kariya(notes) and Marty St. Louis; and Dan Carcillo's hero moment.)
Wanna know how I know the Caps don't have a goaltender they can actually believe in? Well Japers Rink had a poll about who should start for the Caps in Game 3 in Montreal. And the leader, at press time, was Varlamov. By 10 percent.
Now, 10 percent is not an incredibly small number, but that means that a full 45 percent of people still think Theodore should be the Capitals starter for Game 3. That's Jose "3.70 GAA and a .875 save percentage in 81 minutes of work" Theodore, not Jose "Hart Trophy Winner" Theodore. Or maybe that's who these Internetters think they're voting for.
And because 45 percent of people think he's a more legitimate starter for this team, the Washington Capitals are done. Oh sure, they might sneak past the Canadiens in six or something like that. But really: Imagine what a team like the Devils or Penguins would do to this team. Have you seen these Crosby goals? It would be obscene.
These guys aren't exactly running at Ovechkin levels of talent. Ovie had one bad game and everyone in the media got on him about it, prompting him to bear down and pick up a goal and three assists and help lug this horrendous goaltending and defense — lest we forget that those six guys are at least partly complicit in the Caps' giving up an average of four a game to the Canadiens — to an overtime win.
What happens when Theodore and Varlamov bear down? They get the save percentage up to .890?
Washington probably has the juice to win a few more games this postseason. Slug out a couple 5-4, 4-3 wins. No problem. But a team with cogent defending and competent goaltending is going to make them look very bad on the way to an ugly crashout that, frankly, the rest of the team just doesn't deserve.
Colorado Avalanche: Adrian Dater, who for so long was quite down on the Avs as they did everything in their power to give away that eighth and final playoff spot, has now hopped back on the bandwagon and is waving his pom-poms vociferously. He's upset because he believes the following hit was illegal. As usual, he's wrong.