The Capital team the Rangers will face beginning tomorrow night will look nothing like the team they faced last postseason or even the one that they secured five of six points against earlier this season.
While last year's version of the Capitals under Dale Hunter played a grinding, shot blocking style similar to the Rangers, this year, new head coach Adam Oates has them playing a more up-tempo game that took awhile to click says Katie Carrera at the Washington Post...
"But Washington, under Coach Adam Oates, plays an aggressive, pressure-based style in all three zones that thrives off creating neutral-zone turnovers. The Capitals want to protect their own zone and limit quality chances against their goaltenders, but they’d rather do it by spending time in the offensive zone."
Karl Azner feels that this new style allows the Capitals to maintain that grinding style while also opening up the offense...
“I feel better. I was very confident in what we did last year but the games were so tight always, we never blew a game open. Where as this year I think we can still play in those tight games but we can still blow games open. I feel very confident in the team now, the way we’ve been playing. I don’t think I’ve felt as good going into playoffs since I’ve been with Hershey. That’s a good sign, I think.”
...while the Capitals new game plan might work against Florida, Tampa and Carolina, I think it'll backfire against the Rangers. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the few opportunities to present themselves, the Rangers can be aggressive in taking advantage of the Capitals pressure offense by using their transition game from defense to offense to expose some of Washington's weaknesses.
...while I think this series will go seven, I agree with Azner that Washington's new style will lead to a few of these games being won by three or four goals instead of all the one goal games we saw last season.
Carrera also takes a look at the top five storylines of the series.
Everyone keeps saying that the Caps had an easy schedule down the stretch... For the Record, in the last 19 games, Rangers played 8 playoff teams. Caps played 9.
As long as Richards stops turning the puck over just inside the blue line, the Rangers should be able to neutralize a lot of what the Caps are trying to do.
And stay out of the damn penalty box unless you're going to take a Capital with you, preferably for 5 minute majors.
@AG_Blue im also watching this game the isles just suck
@GiveGartneraCup The Caps had an easier schedule overall, just by virtue of the division they were in and having more games against weaker opponents... and they only outpaced the Rangers by 1pt in the standings.
I think the Caps are in for a rude awakening next season when changing divisions... and the current NorthEast teams are going to feast on FL/TBL
@jtf1218 by that logic, Del Nazo should be a healthy scratch. Also, we are the least penalized team in the NHL so it will help.
i don't think the isles look that bad, they're just getting beaten that bad ... pens win every battle
@Josh6 ha, i just logged in to post that Redden scored one...beat me to it. Good for Wade, glad to see he's getting a chance.
@Chris_in_MA @GiveGartneraCup great points. The caps did turn it on though down the stretch. Having really only watched them before they turned it around, I'm surprised and more than a little worried by their resurgence. I mean, they were awful, and Ovenchicken most of all. Then again when Winnipeg is your main division rival...
@AG_Blue i dont agree their party is over they just suck,
i didn't see the whole game, but i thought the isles continued to compete despite an apparent blow out. i would almost say the score was misleading, but that's not quite true. the pens won most of the battles and just took the game. still, if the isles can continue to compete, hopefully they pick up a win along the way and at least slow their opponent down a step.
i watched less of the toronto game, but in the bit i watched i didn't think the leafs brought the compete level to their opponent that the isles brought.
much more hockey to come and it's going to intensify along the way.
agreed, i just switched over ...
two different games, even if they look similar on the scoreboard
i thought toronto would show more fight, and they will in the series, but they are overmatched
the isles have stayed game despite all indications ... this game has been more fun to watch
regarding toronto, what does that say about us? we beat them 2 out of 3 this season, but they finished a point ahead in the standings
i give the isles props for the effort, but the pens are winning so many battles and just really playing well ...
i hate them
gotta show up ... especially in the playoffs