Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN on Wednesday night:
There are going to be a lot of people who say the Montreal Canadiens' upset over the Washington Capitals was just a goaltender getting hot, but that does a disservice to a lot of other players on the Canadiens.
In particular, we're talking about big Hal Gill with his Stanley Cup pedigree from the Pittsburgh Penguins and little Josh Gorges, who teamed up top be absolutely tremendous in a lot of different areas.
Gill and Gorges were terrific on the penalty kill, helping the Canadiens hold the most vaunted power play unit in the league to only one goal on 33 power play attempts.
They did a very good job, along with the rest of the Canadiens, at taking Alexander Ovechkin out of the games, playing almost a man-on-man with him, then playing four-on-three on the rest of the power play.
Keep in mind, they were without Jaroslav Spacek. Going into this series, Spacek was their shutdown top defensive guy, but he has the inner ear problem.
Shot blocking was also a major story in this game with 41 blocked shots for the Canadiens. Gill led the way in Game 7 with six blocks.
Montreal was simply a shot blocking machine. Their 180-plus blocked shots in the series is the most in the entire playoffs.
Ovechkin Ousted In Round One
Alexander Ovechkin had no goals in Game 6 and no goals in Game 7 when things were really on the line.
I thought he was marvelous in the third period of this game as he tried to get it back, but he became entirely too predictable in this series. The Montreal Canadiens knew exactly what he was going to do almost all of the time. More often than not he would come down the left wing with his right handed shot, cut to the middle, take a shot and have it blocked.
Montreal's shot blocking was obviously terrific, but the Canadiens did an excellent job of taking away Ovechkin's time and space.
Ovechkin continued to make solo attempts and was unable to beat guys to the outside. I thought it was a good effort by him, but not enough results.
No Goal Due To Goaltender Interference
I'm not saying the officials' decision to disallow the Capitals goal was a bad call, but I'm saying it's a call that doesn't get made that often in that situation. If that happened 10 times, barely half of them would be called like that.
I've seen a lot of goals scored in the playoffs with a lot more traffic than that on top of the goaltender.
If you go to the letter of the law on goaltender interference, there's no disputing, it was goaltender interference.