Here we go…The recap to game 1 of the NHL playoffs between the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets. A game that should have been a 4-1 victory for DC turned into an oh-so familiar sloppy 4-3 OT loss. Blown leads, sloppy on the PK and questions at goal keeper.
Blown Leads: First and foremost we must all thank the heavens we have Kuzy. Two goals in 30 seconds is no easy task. For anyone. Sadly his heroics couldn’t help the Caps as they went from up 2-0 to losing 4-3. The Caps who constantly found themselves losing face-offs, sloppy on PKs and horrific net-front managed to keep their lead for a while…they even extended it 3-2 thanks to DSP who badly needed to score a goal. Then the mistakes happened…
Sloppy Penalty Kills: Burakovsky got called for a pointless tripping in the offensive zone. Power Play Blue jackets. The Caps who aren’t the best this year at PKs (15th) had plenty of chances, 3 to be exact, to kill the PP. The Blue Jackets, who quite frankly suck at power plays (25th) found a way to keep the puck in play, stay in the offensive zone and charge ahead for the tying goal. This was hands down the reason the Caps lost game 1. However that won’t be the discussion…
Goalie Questions: Gruby got the start because he earned it. Holtby down the stretch was struggling. Coach Trotz did what many figured he would do and play the hot hand. Gruby didn’t lose this game. We just covered how struggles at the PK cost us the game, how the defense net- front was non existent. However Gruby is not proven in the Playoffs. He did play sloppy, giving up four goals on 27 shots. He played glove down over his pads when he’d set up for a shot. Maybe it was nerves, but he did not play well. Enter Braden Holtby. The same Holtby who IS proven in the playoffs. When you have a goalie who currently boasts the second-best playoff save percentage (.931) in NHL history, and started in all but one of the Caps playoff games since 2012, you question immediately if he should get the start before Sunday’s game 2.
1) Coach Trotz’s record in the post season is now 19-31. Much worse than Boudreau at 24-19. During the regular season Trotz is calm, cool and collected. During the post season he looks clueless.
2) Jay Beagle is Missed. Columbus won 33 faceoffs to the Caps 27. Even at 80% the Caps need him back or this series will be lost.
3) Defense as a whole is struggling. They loose battles, make terrible cross ice passes to the other team, and are soft in their own zone. Kempny going out changed the game. Having only 3 top 4 defensemen and playing Orpik and Jerabek more hurt the Caps and allowed the Jackets to come back.