I’m no longer a betting man, but if I were I know I would have put money on the Capitals winning Game 7 against the Canadiens in D.C. I couldn’t have been more wrong. With a 2-1 win in Game 7, the Habs became the first 8th seeded team to come back from down 3-1 in a seven game series to beat the top seeded team. Yes, the Caps blew a 3-1 series lead becoming the third Presidents’ Trophy winning team to lose in the first-round of the Stanley Cup playoffs since ’06. Even more befuddling is that they were the best home team in the regular season yet they lost three home games to the Canadiens. Go figure. Without a doubt, all the “Caps choked” and “Alex Ovechkin is not a winner” talk will begin. I definitely disagree with the latter statement.
The reality with this series is that Jaroslav Halak got hot and took over for Montreal. Halak stopped 131 of 134 shots he faced over the last three games. I don’t know which numbers is more ridiculous: the Caps taking 134 shots in three games or Halak stopping all but three of them. Even though the Caps had three chances to close out the series, I put the Game 1 loss partially on coach Bruce Boudreau for starting Jose Theodore in goal instead of Semyon Varlamov who became their man the rest of the series. At the same time, the Habs gave the Caps a break starting Carey Price in net for Game 4.