- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

1. Boudreau turns to Varlamov

The Jose Theodore Postseason Era lasted one game for the Caps. After he yielded four goals on 21 shots in a Game 1 loss, coach Bruce Boudreau sent Theodore to the bench in favor of rookie Simeon Varlamov. Despite his youth (he turned 21 during the series) and inexperience (five regular-season NHL starts), Varlamov has been a revelation and might not give up the Caps’ net for the next decade.

2. Lundqvist goes cold

“King Henrik” was regal through the first four games of this series. He stopped 141 of 149 shots, evoking comparisons to great goaltenders who stole playoff rounds in years past. Lundqvist didn’t just crash back to reality, he went even further. He yielded nine goals on 34 shots and didn’t finish Game 5 or 6, helping the Caps get back in the series without the effort needed in 2008 against Philadelphia.

3. Avery’s antics no help

If Sean Avery were going to have a positive impact on this series for the New York Rangers, it was going to be when he tried to rattle Varlamov. Avery saddled up next to him near the end of Game 3 with his team being shut out. Not only did his words do nothing, his not-so-subtle sucker punch as he was being pulled away had no effect. Varlamov proved he’s got the poise of a veteran.

4. Bradley times two

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom were receiving no help on offense four games into this series, but then Matt Bradley scored the first two goals of Game 5, and Washington’s offensive depth has been the story since. After getting only one goal from defensemen through four games, they accounted for the first three tallies in Game 6.

5. Caps play tic-tac-toe

The Caps scored first in Game 6 but took a penalty and gave it back. Washington scored again and again took another penalty. Instead allowing another goal, Tom Poti stepped out of the penalty box, Boyd Gordon knocked the puck away from Brandon Dubinsky to Poti, and those two were joined by David Steckel on a perfectly executed three-on-one for a two-goal lead. The Rangers never recovered.

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