It's always fun to watch someone trying to contain the damage after the fact.
Case in point is Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, who called out a half-dozen players after Montreal's 2-1 win over the Capitals in Game 5. He didn't mince his words after the Canadiens forced Monday's Game 6, saying the Capitals had "five or six passengers" in the loss to the Canadiens.
"We missed some really good looks. When you have players who are really good scorers and they miss really good looks, it's like a checker not doing his job," an exasperated Boudreau told reporters after his team's missed opportunity to close out the series. "They've got to score those goals."
Having slept on it, Boudreau took a softer approach over the weekend, saying frustration got the better of him. Boudreau conceded that he might have overreacted with his "five or six passengers" comment.
"That was the coach's frustration," he said. "My assistants were coming up to me and saying, 'Relax.' I was a little too hot-headed."
The truth hurts. And while he was hot under the collar, there is a lot of truth to Boudreau's criticism.
The Capitals have had plenty of passengers on their sputtering march in the first round of the playoffs.
Consider the gifted Alexander Semin, who has averaged 34 goals a season over the past four years in Washington.
Semin's numbers against Montreal: 0 goals on 29 shots through five games. Semin, in fact, is riding a 12-game playoff scoring drought. He didn't score in Washington's second-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh last spring.
"How many goals and assists did he have?" Boudreau said Friday night when asked to assess Semin's effort. When told it was "zero," an unusually testy Boudreau fired back, "Ok."
Another passenger for the Caps has been Nicklas Backstrom, who scored four goals in the first two games of the series but only one in the next three. Here's a guy who had 101 regular-season points.
How about Norris Trophy finalist Mike Green? He was the top-scoring defenceman in the regular-season, with 76 points, including 19 goals -- the most by any defenceman in the league. Green goes into Game 6 looking for his first goal, and he has only two assists over five games. To put that into perspective, rookie John Carlson has more points than Green with four in five games.
Tomas Fleischmann put 23 goals in the net in the regular season but none in the playoffs. He was robbed by goalie Jaroslav Halak in Game 5 when his shot met Halak's blocker, and Boudreau responded by benching his forward for the final 12 minutes and 45 seconds of the game.
Now Boudreau won't even commit to dressing Fleischmann for Game 6.
The only consistent scorer for the Caps has been captain Alex Ovechkin, who didn't have a shot in the series opener and has since scored in every game since then.
But he has to be careful.
If Montreal forces Game 7 and then pulls off the unexpected and eliminates the NHL's top regular-season team, there is sure to be plenty of finger pointing in the aftermath. That will be twice in as many years that the Capitals failed to achieve with Boudreau behind the bench.
Coaches come and go in the NHL, while star players usually stay put.