I’m sitting here, some two hours before puck drop, trying to determine which way tonight’s game seven at the Verizon Centre will go.
The fact that the game is being played in Washington means nothing, in my opinion. They could be playing this one on the Moon. There is no home-ice advantage for the Capitals tonight. In fact, if anything, being at home could force the Capitals to squeeze their sticks even tighter, if that’s possible. The Canadiens have been road warriors during this playoff, and being on the road tonight just contributes to the underdog role that the Canadiens have nurtured, and relished, during this series.
The big question I have on my mind right now is: Can Jaroslav Halak come up with yet another brilliant performance? Can he continue to keep Ovechkin and company at bay? (Technically, that would be TWO questions…)
Personally, I’d be happier if the Canadiens could find a way to hold the Capitals to, let’s say, less than 50 shots. No. That’s not going to do it. How about 40 shots?
I know Halak likes to be busy, but this is ridiculous. Can we really expect Halak to continue to keep catching pucks in his teeth? I mean, let’s face it. Guys like Backstrom and Semin are due to bust out. Will they bust out tonight???
Make that THREE questions.
I think it’s safe to say that the Canadiens’ chances tonight start and end with Jaroslav Halak. I don’t expect him to be able to stop 53 of 54 shots, as he did in game six. But I do expect him to keep the Canadiens in this hockey game. In fact, I think both goaltenders will keep this one close.
This one won’t be a 6-1 hockey game: as was the case last night in Phoenix, where the Detroit Redwings disposed of the Coyotes in a game seven that did not live up to its billing.
Tonight’s game at the Verizon Center will. It will be a physical, punishing game, featuring some rope-a-dope hockey in the opening minutes as both teams feel each other out; neither willing to make a mistake that could lead to the first goal of the game. But then both teams will open it up. Ovechkin will be firing howitzers out there. Gomez will be skating miles.
That’s what you do in a game seven.
It will be a low-scoring game. It will be a close game. A very close game. And maybe it’s just me, but I’m looking for the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals to take Game 7 to overtime.
That’s right, overtime.
And I’m looking for the Canadiens to finish off the Capitals to complete one of most stunning upsets in playoff history.
But maybe it’s just me.