Washington's decision on Boudreau 

April, 29, 2010

What else can I say about the Montreal Canadiens' stunning victory over the Washington Capitals in D.C. last night? The Slovakian stopper, showing a very steady hand, turned back 41 of 42 shots en route to a third straight win to complete the shocking series comeback. In his last three games, Halak kicked out 131 of 134 shots.

In that same span, the Canadiens blocked another 83 shots -- including a whopping 42 in Game 7. I think that's called team commitment. Simply, the Canadiens had a little more of it than the Capitals, who are left to wonder what the heck happened to them.

The numbers defy logic. The Capitals' power play, for example, went a pitiful 1-for-33 in the series after leading the league with a 25.2 success rate during the regular season. And, the Caps' dropped the last two home games in regulation time after suffering on five such defeats in 41 regular season tilts.

Most amazing, however, was Washington's inability to close out eighth-seeded Montreal after taking a 3-1 series lead. It's one thing to get beat by an eight seed that finished 33 points below you in the standings, but it's quite another to blow a 3-1 series lead in that circumstance.

GM George McPhee will need to step back to assess the damage. For a franchise with a history of misfortune, this is another monster blow. I'm sure the 'Rock the Red' faithful will need several weeks (months) to digest this disaster.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.