Hear that? That's the sound of Theodore being thrown under the bus. It's okay, he already threw himself under there, so go ahead and stare as the Caps Fan Express repeatedly rolls back and forth over him.
While many fans, bloggers and analysts will continue to bang on the "Theo sucks!" drum, allow me to deviate for a few moments before I grab my mallet and start hitting with you.
Caps outshot the Rangers 14-4 in the first period. Not scoring with that sort of offensive production is rare. If the Caps did that every game, good lord.
Alex Ovechkin showed up to play: He had two assists and 13 shots on goal. Henrik isn't going to stop 13 shots from Ovie every single night, and it's amazing he was able to stop many of them tonight.
Alex Ovechkin also led the team in hits given, 6. Yeah, he's in playoff form.
The next man behind him? John Erskine, with 5. Erskine needs to bring his physical game every night if the Caps want to win; this is a great start.
Viktor Kozlov got his first NHL playoff goal. Good on him. He also got the goal at a key time, when the Caps were down 3-1 going out in the second. His goal created an enormous amount of momentum, and the Caps need guys like Kozlov to contribute.
The Caps destroyed in the faceoff circle. Boyd Gordon was 80% on the night, and the Caps as a team won 70% of their faceoffs.
Speaking of faceoffs, the Capitals won 80% of their shorthanded faceoffs. Glad to have you back, Boyd. Seriously.
Caps power play went two for seven, which is good and bad. Good because the Rangers were called for lots of penalties, bad because, well, you can see below.
The BadJose Theodore's first goal: Seriously?
In his defense, the officiating was horrible on that first goal. The refs missed two calls, a trip and an interference (correct me if I'm wrong), which enabled Gomez to have that breakaway.
Still, that wasn't the hardest shot in the world, and you need to save those in the playoffs.
Jeff Schultz's jock is still somewhere in the Verizon Center. If you find it, burn it, he doesn't deserve it after that play. He got schooled by Brandon Dubinsky with a through-the-legs pass, and then fell to the ice and watched.
But enough joking around on Schultz. To be honest, Sarge didn't have such a bad game until that moment, but sadly, you're remembered for what you didn't do when you lose. I expect Schultz to bounce back, but let's be honest, that was a nightmare of a play for Schultz.
Live, learn, move on.
What good is it to have Brooks Laich screening Lundqvist on the power play if you're not going to shoot at him. Memo to Green and Ovechkin, don't pass back-and-forth nonstop when you have a guy screening, unleash that dragon and let Laich collect the rebound/deflect it!
Okay that's not really bad, just an observation, Caps could stand to shoot more on the PP when Laich is up front.
Tonight's Avery Effect Scale: Category 2 Avery.
Avery went after Mike Green (called it) and was the perfect pest. His late game spat with Theo looks like trouble, and Ovechkin is actively trying to clock Avery with a big-rig check. Yup, we're playing into his hands, boys.
Also, the DC Sports Bog, almost on cue, has a story about Avery and his agitation. Category 2 Avery confirmed.
In conclusionTough loss in a game that started as pure domination, turned into dominated, and then went into a hair-raising third period.
If the goaltending was just a little bit better, and the defense was a little bit sharper, this would have been a win -- an ugly win, but a win.
Theo needs to get focused, the defense needs to tighten up, and the Capitals need to keep pounding away at Lundqvist with shots.
Hey, at least we weren't as bad as Philly. ::shutter::