The (Not So) Great 8 Must Be Wondering "What The Halak Just Happened?" How did the team that steamrolled everyone in the Regular Season, and was the biggest favourite of any of the 1st round matchups just have the rug pulled out from under them? How did we lose our 3rd Game 7 out of 4 attempts...why were we even in a a Game 7?? It's simple really, just ask RJ Umberger.
The Capitals are a group of like minded individuals (Me First), who cannot find a team cohesiveness needed to succeed in the playoff landscape. How does a team with this much "firepower" sputter so heavily? Easy.. they only play in 1 zone. And what can be expected from a team that is led by a player who now has the heavy tag of being a big game flop. (Olympics, Juniors, Playoffs). Whenever the pressure is on to step up big...the only "Magic" you see come from Ovechkin is his ability to disappear. He is not alone, but when he wears the C, he is repsonsible for making the others accountable and getting the most out of his team. Mike Green had the same playoff as last year...last year was chalked up to injury, so what's his excuse now? And this guy was nominated for a Norris? Yikes! it is not hard to see why Stevie Y left him off the Olympic roster in favour of the more dynamic and superior Drew Doughty. Then you get Alex Semin...the biggest enigma in the league. 1 minute he is the best Alex on his team, the next, you are checking the game sheet to make sure he is even in the lineup! Nik Backstrom, (who in my opinion) is the Caps best all around player tried his best, but even he was a non factor in the last 3 games that sealed the Caps fate. The goaletending....well maybe Tomas Plekanec, just like Umberger was prophetic in calling out the Caps goaltending tandem, as Theodore lasted all of 1 game...and Varlamov, though equal to the task can blame the non existent defence and the impotent powerplay. Ovechkin's lame attempt to do the same with Halak back fired in a way that will not be forgotten anytime soon, as it was probably the fuel that powered Halak to the legendary lights out performance in games 6 and 7.
Bottom Line...the Capitals were the architect of their own demise. Coach Boudreau coddled his "babies" to the point that they just all felt everything would just "work out", and they believed their own hype that they would just breeze through the "lowly" Habs. Problem is, this is why they play the game, because the playoffs bring out the compete level in those with pride who refuse to lose, which the Capitals forgot to bring again for the 3rd straight year, leaving them scratching their heads looking for excuses once again...because it's never "their fault".