Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Habs Vs. Caps

The Stuff You Didn't Know

This waiting is cruel and unusual punishment. Not only is there no hockey, the guys on Sports(Desk)Centre have to fill the time with comments (not pretty), mostly to do with early season baseball (irrelevant).

IN waiting, I'm sure like me you've no doubt read 45 previews of this series all looking at who has the edge at forward, defence, goaltenders and so on. I don't need to take up any more of your time spinning the story of our mismatch. The regular season shows the Caps have the better team (the best team). THat's what you know already.

With a day to go, we thought it was time to tell you some things you may or may not have known about these teams and this "rivalry".


Tomas Plekanec loves playing the Caps

Over the past 3 years, Tomas has played the Caps 12 times netting 9 goals and adding 7 assists. His 41 shots show how he likes the free ice allowed by the Capitals in the offensive zone. He’s also claimed 3 game pucks and 8 out of 12 domes over that stretch.

Sergei Kostitsyn absolutely adores playing the Caps
Not just in a defensive forward kind of way, either. 9 GP for Sergei has been 9 points (4G, 5A) since his debut. He scored his first NHL against Washington. 1 game puck and 3 domes for young Sergei is well above his average for 9 games.

Patrice Brisebois got his first dome against the Caps
Not to say that loose defence is the way to go, but the fact this could happen signals to me that the Caps do allow the freedom for pass-first, defend-later mentalities to flourish. This is also good considering...

Marc-Andre Bergeron is prolific against the Caps

10 points in 9 GP from all his years in the league. See Brisebois effect.

Glen Metropolit started his career in Washington
Random fact. He never played the Habs in that uniform, though.

Carey Price didn’t like his first test against the Caps
January 5th, 2008 was Carey’s first stern test, and flinching against Ovechkin shots for the first time, he let in 5 in a loss. He’d be demoted to Hamilton the next day. It was also Carey’s first real NHL lesson, and he came back strong enough to make the all-rookie team.

John Carlson played the first game of his NHL career against the Habs
17 unremarkable minutes.

Semyon Varlamov also played his first game vs. Montreal
He won on the road with 32 saves from 33 shots last season.

John Erskine essentially ended Georges Laraque’s career
When he fought (and clobbered) BGL, even fans who had defended Georges saw his complete uselessness as an NHL forward at this stage. A few months later that was confirmed by the Habs then the league.

Mike Green was drafted 29th overall in 2004
You may remember Kyle Chipchura…

Eric Fehr was drafted ahead of Ryan Getzlaf
18th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Fehr was picked one ahead of Ryan Getzlaf. In the first round alone, his picking meant the Caps missed Getzlaf, Kesler, Perry and Mike Richards (though not Carter...). Of course, he probably doesn’t hear about it daily from the French media. Instead, people actually rave about him now as he scored 21 goals this year, and has 15 others over 4 partial seasons.

Mike Knuble is familiar with being in favourable positions going into playoff series
He's also familiar with fake displays of writhing pain and the deflating effect that a star forward crashing into an inept defenceman leading to a goal can have on an opposing team. Of course, he may also be glad that Theodore who ended the Bruins 1st place 2002 campaign and then halted them after gaining a 3-1 lead is on their side now.

Ovechkin hasn't yet scored his 50th goal against the Habs

Though he could have, he was poised with 48 goals on March 30, 2006 to do it. With 2G in 3 games that year, it was on the minds. In 2006-07, he was on 47 on March 24th, none scored on Habs goalies.

Andrei Markov has never scored vs. Caps
He gets plenty of assists, but has never scored. As he misses the net, he rarely misses a dome: 10 GP in 3 years has meant 8 domes, including the last 6 in a row.

Theodore shut out the Habs at the first opportunity as a Cap

Many will remember Theo’s homecoming as the 8-goal drubbing that soothed the soul. His first game as a Cap however, brought him back to his vs. the Habs average of 4.00 a game.

Halak has played the Caps
You wouldn’t know it from analyses that limit themselves to a season, but Halak has played and beaten the Caps. For a career he is 3-2-0 with a 0.905 SV%. Last season, he got 3 of the 4 starts vs. the Caps and muddled to a 1-2-0 record while saving 0.901 of shots. The good news is he has played Ovechkin and Semin this year, famously relegating them to their substandard Vancouver dorm rooms for an early meal they’d complain about all the way home.

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