Sunday, February 22, 2015

OV Semifinal #1: #1 Loss to Montreal vs. #4 Game 5 Loss to NYR (2012)

The contest return with the first OV-Era match; the incredibly stunning (and deeply upsetting) 7-game loss to Montreal against the shocking Game 5 loss to the Rangers last year.

As always, I'll compare them under different criteria, and come up with a winner which will advance to the semis. So let's start!

The Caps were President's Trophy winners, so beating the 8th-seed Canadiens was supposed to be a give-in. If the Caps win, they continue on in the playoffs with a lot of momentum. Plus, they had three shots at winning the series, and winning any of them would have been great.
Still, I think the Game 5 loss was more important. The Caps won Game 6, so had they won Game 5, they would have upset the Rangers and advanced to a ECF against the Devils which they could have won.
Advantage: Game 5 Loss

The impact is a completely different matter. Because of the loss to Montreal, the Caps realized all it took to beat their team was a red-hot goalie. So they changed their style of play to an extremely defensive game (which did not suit their strengths) and this continued when Dale Hunter was the coach. Alex Ovechkin's struggles could be traced to that series loss.
The Game 5 loss would have had a bigger impact had the Caps lost Game 6. But they won, and had a chance in Game 7, so the impact is not as big.
Advantage: Loss to Montreal

Shock Factor:
It's hard to decide which was more shocking. The Montreal loss is obvious, because the Caps were favorites to win the Stanley Cup and lost to a team with 33 points less than them.
However, the Caps were beating the Rangers with 6 seconds left in the game when Brad Richards scored on the PP to tie it, and Marc Staal scored early in OT to stun the Caps.
Still, because the Caps were favorites against Montreal, that gets the nod.
Advantage: Loss to Montreal

Grudge/Hate Factor:
Canadiens vs. Rangers? Easy.
Advantage: Game 5 Loss

In the end, this is a close call, but because of the sheer shock it caused, the Loss to Montreal wins here. The Game 5 Loss was stunning as well, but in the grand scheme of things, the loss to Montreal was more shocking and had a much bigger impact than the loss to New York.

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