Caps defenseman Mike Green is responsible for the latest controversy in this series. After Washington cruised to a 5-1 win in game 3, Green said this:"[The Canadiens] block some shots," Ovechkin said. "But we didn't move and we didn't do our job. [Boudreau] is right, we're terrible on the power play."
Much of the Canadiens' success on the penalty kill has been their smothering coverage of Ovechkin, who had 36 power-play points in 72 regular season games but has taken only one of his seven shots against Montreal on the power play.
Obviously, this cannot continue if the Caps want to fulfill their potential in the playoffs. They might be able to get past the Habs with a lousy power play, but they're unlikely to get much further if these problems persist.
KEY TO GAME 4
I think the key to game four tonight will be the first period of the game. In game three the Canadiens came out smoking hot, buoyed by a ferocious home crowd and the momentum from splitting two games in Washington. The fantastic play of goalie Semyon Varlamov was crucial to the victory in game three, as he stopped 10 Montreal shots in the first 10 minutes and didn't let the Habs score at all until the game was well in hand.
By winning game three in such decisive fashion, the Caps have seized the momentum in this series. The Canadiens and their fans know this and both will come out loaded for bear to open the game. Washington's defense must be stouter and Varly must pitch another shutout or close to it in the opening minutes of the game. The Caps and Varly were able to take Montreal's incredible home crowd out of the game after the first period with great goal-tending and then the four second period goals.
Montreal is an incredible atmosphere to play a playoff hockey game, but the Habs are very beatable at home. Montreal has won just 13 home games in their last 13 playoff series and have lost 12 of their last 18 home games in the postseason. Washington has already won once at Bell Center in this series. They can do it again, decisively, if they can withstand those first 10-20 minutes of frantic action by the Habs and their boisterous boosters.
Coming back to D.C. with a 3-1 lead in this series would just about sew up the first round for the Washington Capitals.