Everyone knows the story of this series: Crosby and Ovechkin. It’s the showdown that has lived up to the hype through three games, and it’s going to be that way for the rest of the series. However, there are other big names on these teams that haven’t exactly stepped up so far.
The first offender on that list is Evgeni Malkin, and that’s why it was so good to see him take over Game Three last night. One of the things I always talk about with Malkin is what happens when Crosby isn’t playing for the Penguins. Somehow he transforms into this completely dominant player when Sid’s not around, but he never seems to get there when he has some help. It’s obviously a great problem to have, but in a series like this you need your big guns firing all the time.
Last night Malkin decided to open fire, and it made a difference for the Pens. Without his third period Washington takes over and puts this series on the brink. Instead, we have a long way to go before this one’s over, and I think that’s best for all of us.
Maybe now Mike Green can wake up and we can really have some fun. A few other thoughts on the game:
– After watching games in Philly, Washington, and Calgary I’m no longer impressed by the “white out” effect. I do admit that the Penguins don’t have many options, though. Still, nice shirts.
– I’ve made fun of the Caps power play before, but I was really impressed by the different looks they’ve given Pittsburgh in this series. The goal to tie things up late in the third was a different approach that clearly took advantage of the talent on the ice. Who knew they had more than “Ovechkin shot” and “Green shot” on the clipboard?
– In fact, I loved the entire sequence for Washington when Dupuis goes off for interference. Right away the Caps called a timeout, got things together for the last 2:28, and executed. They didn’t wait until Varlamov was pulled to regroup, and it paid off. When you look at how Bylsma handled the final minutes of Game Two, it’s almost night and day.
– Kudos to Versus for finally showing the other games on the schedule. The NHL has botched a lot of scheduling this spring (I’m working on something for later this week), but at least Versus got wise after not airing a Game Seven a week ago. Not good.
– I know people will complain about travel, but I love that this series becomes a home and home on Friday/Saturday. That’s a fun weekend.