Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here's Why We Can Win Tonight

"Huge game" is a phrase we've been tossing around here at Blueshirt Brothers for quite some time. And it's always been true. As we head into playoff season every game is huge - and every game is just a little "huger" (more huge?) than the last one. So when we say that tonight we're facing a monumentally huge game - we once again mean it.

In case you're confused between Simeon Varlamov (the Capital's Rookie Goalie who has shut us out for the last 112 minutes of ice time) and the Harry Potter Villain Lord Voldemort - we've helped sort it out in the handy picture above.

The argument can be made that with the Caps shift to Simeon Varlamov the rookie goalie (their coaching doesn't look so dumb now - does it?) and the way the kid is playing - that Washington is suddenly the best team the East (if not all of hockey). They always could score. If they can score and shut teams out - well - look out.
While the Capitals looked to many of us like sleeping dogs in games one and two, they're certainly awake now. And for some - the 4-0 blowout on Monday was the first tolling of the death-knoll of the Ranger season (and no, I'm not sure exactly what that phrase means either). But I don't think so - I'm still picking the Rangers to beat the Capitals.

When this all started - my modest prediction was that the Rangers would win the series - and would win twice in Washington - and would lose once at home. Honestly, I never thought this would all happen in the first three games - or that Theodore (3-or-more) would not be in the Caps goal (probably forever now) or that we'd see three straight road wins - but there it is.

When the ice chips have been cleared - Our Rangers - through grit and goaltending - are still up a home ice service-break with a chance to go up 3-1 tonight. And I think they have a good opportunity to do exactly that.

Here's why I think we're going to win tonight:

I think Tortorella and the Rangers miscalculated their strategy a little in game three. I think Coach's thinking was like this:

There's no way the kid goalie can be up to the task. He got a free ride in game 2 because the Rangers couldn't mount much offense. So in game three - I think Torts sent the lines out there with the mission - Shoot The Puck - Shoot The Puck Again - and then Shoot It Some More. I think we tried to really pressure Varlamov early and often - in hopes that he'd crack under the pressure of his 2nd NHL playoff start.

But that thinking backfired. It played into the Cap's hands. We were running and gunning with Ovechkin and company. And the home ice adrenaline made it worse as the Rangers tried to act like an offensive juggernaut (when we're more of a jugger-NOT) and they pressed - got too loose - out of position - and well - you just can't do that against the Caps.

In Game 4 - I think - Coach Tortorella will try to go back to what worked in games 1 and 2. The Caps will tire themselves out if we can just hold them down - or stay close. We need to keep possession of the puck - not even to score as much as to keep it away from Washington. We need to play smart - with aggressive defense when needed - and basically - survive period one. The longer the game stays close - the more pressure and exhaustion the Caps will feel - and this is how we can beat them.

That's all for now. Assuming the official Dave Pucks Blueshirt Brothers Blackberry is functioning inside Madison Square Garden - I'll have a little reporting for you later on from the front lines...

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