According to PJ Stock, our Habs didn't deserve to win last night. I've never really understood this idea of a team not deserving a win, as long as the game doesn't go to a shootout or isn't decided by officiating, the win is clearly deserved based on one team outscoring the other, but let's examine some common ideas from last night about how the game should have turned out.
The Canadiens were undoubtedly dominated in the first period. Washington came out strong and barraged Jaroslav Halak with shots. He was up to the task in a big way and stoned the Caps on some good scoring chances, however what wasn't talked about very much on CBC or TSN last night was the fact that Montreal limited Washington's scoring chances very well, even in the first period, and most shots Halak had clear line of sight. Two horrid giveaways in the first set up golden chances for the Capitals, but after that the defense settled in and they played spectacular. Being outplayed offensively in one period however, isn't enough for most people to say a team deserves a loss.
Another point that was brought up often was that the Capitals outshot the Canadiens in total after the game, firing a whopping 47 shots on Jaroslav Halak through nearly 4 periods. However many failed to mention that Montreal sent a fairly impressive 38 shots the other way on Jose Theodore. In fact, after the first period, Montreal outshot Washington over the next 53 minutes 31-28. Again I'm failing to see how Montreal didn't deserve the win. Clearly Halak bailed out the Habs in the first period, but after that Theodore did the same thing for the Capitals, as the Canadiens had much better quality scoring chances for the rest of the game.
Another thing I'd like to look at is the goals themselves. For this I'll let you watch the highlights of the game first:
Looking at the two goals by the Capitals, both were off very weird and unfortunate bounces. On the first goal by the Capitals, the puck takes a ridiculous bounce off the boards as Spacek tried to chip it past a Washington player, and the puck goes all the way out to a Capitals player on the blueline. A very lucky, awkward bounce. The second goal, Capitals goal started with a weak clearing attempt by Pouliot, and after a Capitals player keeps the puck in with a chip, the puck takes another ridiculous bounce, this time like it has backspin on it, and Gill can't react quick enough as the puck goes right onto Knuble's stick. To be fair to the Capitals, we also got a lucky bounce after Halak whiffed on a high shot that in turn bounced backwards off the goal line and away from the net, Ovechkin even celebrated.
By contrast to both Capitals goals, all our goals were caused by outworking a Capitals defense that just wasn't committed to be good enough to win this game. Great puck movement by the powerplay unit led to Cammalleri's goal. Gomez's end to end rush through the Capitals' best players was a work of artistry, and a great display of skill by that line. Plekanec's goal, or should I say Tomas Jagr's goal, was taking advantage of a lazy line change by Ovechkin, and the hesitance of Joe Corvo.
I expect the Capitals to be much better on Saturday, but make no mistake in listening to pundits who are paid to tell you what happened with a certain bias, the Canadiens earned this win. They earned it with fantastic team defense, opportunistic offense and great goaltending.