With all of the firepower the Washington Capitals had going into the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens you would have thought this series would have been over in five games, six at the most. Instead, the series is tied at three games a piece and is heading to a win or go home Game 7.
Alex Ovechkin was held without a point in Game 6 despite firing six shots on goal. But he’s not the only one slumping, or choking. The Caps sniper Semin is still yet to record his first career playoff goal. This is a guy who scored 40 goals during the regular season and now he can’t seem to produce under the playoff pressure. He’s not alone, Mike Green, the offensive blueliner for the caps is also falling short of expectations in the playoffs offensively, and his defense has been shaky as well.
To make matters worse, the capitals may have just run into the hottest goalie in the NHL playoffs. Jaroslav Halak has stopped 90 of 92 shots in helping the Canadiens force a Game 7. In Game 6 in front of the crazy frenchies, Halak put on a performance for the ages with 56 saves to seal the victory and keep the Hab’s season alive.
Ovechkin is supposed to be a big game performer, he’s a competitor and you would think it would be a safe bet to take the Capitals to win Game 7 on home ice. I want to believe that, but this year I’ve seen signs of Ovechkin being a little skiddish. Look at Game 1 of this series where Ovechkin barely showed up and played extremely tentative. Go further back to the Olympics against team Canada, where was he then? He was pretending his hand hurt after gloving a puck and then he was drinking vodka at the Russia Olympic House and pushing reporters. Lately, Ovechkin is falling off my clutch list. That being said, if he wants to protect his reputation and keep his name associated with Sidney Crosby and the debate of who the most dominant player in the NHL is, he’d better score some goals. Capitals fans wouldn’t mind if he picked Game 7 to make a statement.
A series that was once a no brainer betting wise has now become pretty tricky. A hot goaltender can never be overlooked and the NHL is notorious for having low Canadian seeded teams march all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.