I guess I've just jinxed it! In in the previous post I said the last guy I wanted to see in the second round was Dwayne Roloson.
Dwayne who? Halak? No, Dwayne Roloson, who won 6 playoff games facing elimination in his career. By the way, Jaroslav Halak won 5.
Roloson is one of those guys who can stop Ovechkin, another one is Roberto Luongo. Not too many guys can brag about stopping Ovechkin, but Dwayne is one of them.
Anyhow, this guy is very irritable grumpy old man. And Caps have Matt Hendricks who knows how to handle it.
Here's what Matt Hendricks said to Mike Vogel, Dump'n'Chase:
“Part of my game is obviously going to the net hard. But we’ve got good coaches around here and good scouting reports. They’ve watched him his last few games and he does retaliate. If you get in his crease and if you make contact with him, he’s not a happy camper. I wasn’t trying to end up on top of him; I was trying to make him a little upset.
“It is what it is. I think I got in his head a bit and I think it helped our team.”
Accidentally Matt Hendricks got involved in the fight in the same game with another guy I don't want to see in playoffs vs Caps, it is Steve Downie. You can expect any kind of foul play from him, one of the dirtiest players in entire NHL. I'd say he is worse than Pronger in his prime, luckily he is not that big.
And who's trap is going to be better, Bruce Boudreau's or Guy Boucher's? I guess the edge goes to Boucher just because he always played it. Here's an interesting post by Damian Cristodero back in Nov. 3, 2010:
Patrick Roy said that the system Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher used from 2006-09 as coach of Drummondville of the Quebec league, was not only too defensive it has permeated the league and stunted the development of some Quebec league players.
Roy then told the Journal de Montreal that, "Boucher did nothing to help our league advance. His defensive system was copied by many other teams. I know my comments will not please Guy, but for me hockey should be focused on offense not defense."
So perhaps the Lightning, with its 1-3-1 system tries to stifle teams in the neutral zone. It does have elements of the trap, after all. And the Lightning does send two defensemen into the corners of the defensive zone to harass puck carries, and that does force the forwards to come back to the defensive zone to take defensive positions abandoned by the defensemen.
And no one can argue Tampa Bay's transition from defense to offense is quick and dramatic.
The most memorable game vs. Tampa was on Feb. 4, 2011 when Caps seemed to solve Tampa's trap and beat them 5:2. It is memorable because after getting the lead Capitals defensemen kept the puck in their own zone and were passing the puck to each other forth and back totally annoying Bolts. Here's what Matt Bradley said back then (via Capitals Insider):
"Bruce and the coaches had a great system. We even got their fans frustrated with the way we were playing. I thought we really stuck with it and that's what definitely helped us toward the end when they were pushing."There was also a quote by Boudreau that I can't find; he said that for one day they solved Boucher's system, but usually the other side would find something to counter it next time.
But here's what I found via Mike Vogel:
“We had a chance for the first time in a long time,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, “and we just focused in practice on beating Tampa. That was what our whole focus was. It wasn’t about doing different things and how we did it. It was about going over a lot of video on them.
These series are going to be very tough, make no mistake about it. But if Caps will eliminate Bolts, the sky is the limit. I know I said it about the first round too. :-)
Friday, April 29 at Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 1 at Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 3 at Tampa Bay, TBD
Wednesday, May 4 at Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
*Saturday, May 7 at Washington
*Monday, May 9 at Tampa Bay, TBD
*Wednesday, May 11 at Washington, TBD