The Mess at MSG: Caps beat Rangers 5-3

Brooks Laich started and ended the Caps scoring tonight.

(Photo credit: Frank Franklin II)

MG52 unleashes the fury! (Photo credit: Frank Franklin II)

Brooks Laich with the book-end goals. (Photo credit: Frank Franklin II)

Well, that was an ugly one. The Washington Capitals’ first appointment with the New York Rangers, hosted in the majestically gloomy Madison Square Garden, had all of the poetry of an alleyway brawl. 28 penalty minutes were distributed in the first period alone. Mike Green dropped gloves for crying out loud!

The Rangers got up to an early lead when Brian Boyle beat Jeff Schultz at the circle. All night the Capitals defense was spotty, and it seemed the Superfriends could not make up for it. Every time the Caps tied the score, the Rangers pulled ahead again. But the Caps found strength where we faithful knew it would be: depth. Brooks Laich recorded a pair, Mike Knuble finished the funk, Matt Hendricks provided the GWG, and even lovable John Erskine got on the board. Henrik Lundqvist lay defeated. Caps beat Rangers 5-3.

Las balas en los rojos pantoalones en la biblioteca con pollo.

  • Whatever Craig Laughlin did to get exiled from Manhattan, we need to undo it. Eddie Olczyk weirds me out, talking all quiet and that hair.
  • Any game in which Big John Erskine scores is worthy of regard. Let us revisit this in the spring.
  • For the first time since opening night, Mike Knuble scores! And in a Knubley way no less: within spitting distance of the crease off an Ovechkin pass. That’ll do, sacrificed goat. That’ll do.
  • Did Michal Neuvirth look tired to anyone else?
  • Tyler Sloan had a rough one. Despite getting a primary assist on Erskine’s unlikely goal, Sloan balanced the scales with a timid whiff in the offensive zone that led to an easy breakaway and goal for Derek Boogard. Sloan should consult the team tailor; something about him in that Caps jersey looks wrong.
  • Brooks Laich didn’t play the last period on Sunday night, so we were a pleasantly surprised he dressed tonight. Brooks provided the book-end goals for the Caps: a five-holer during a 4-on-3 and an empty netter in the last ten seconds.
  • Props to 22-year old Brian Boyle of the Rangers, who emerged from relative obscurity to become one of NYR’s biggest producers this year. He scored two tonight.
  • Boyle’s second one– to be fair– was a gift from Karl Alzner. A shame that this goal came at the end of power play, as Alzer deserved the minus rating and the other PK unit was terrific. Alzner and D-buddy John Carlson recorded -9 and -5 Corsi ratings respectively.
  • Eric Fehr hit a wall.  He had a -4 scoring chance differential and a -2 Corsi.
  • Let’s mark up the game-winner to an expert pass from Matt Bradley, giving Matt Hendricks a great opportunity to drop the puck off on the top shelf. Yeah, they’re tough-guy grinders, but they’ve got talent and gumption in equal portions. Let D.J. King (and his sub 4 minutes of ice time) take note.
  • Post script on Matt Hendricks. He had a goal, an assist, and a fighting roughing penalty. Sorry, no Gordie How, buddy. And we were soooo close to getting a funny picture out of Ian.

  • Mike Green fights Brandon Dubinsky? I don’t know if I’m gobstopped or nonplussed. I just dunno, man. What do you think?
Joe B's suit-of-the-night

Joe B's suit-of-the-night

The Caps continue to win close games through force of will. Even with several defensive goofs and the relative absence of the 8-19-28 line, the Capitals found a way to win through grit. This is only the second game, after Calgary (-2), that the Capitals have managed to win with a negative scoring chance differential (-1). That speaks to the kind of determination and win-lust other coaches speechify about, but only few teams possess.


Good win, boys. Enjoy a day off in NYC; we’ll see you back  in D.C. on Thursday.

Written by Peter Hassett in Baltimore.
Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg in Florida.
Ian Oland added pictures from Hanover.
Rachl Cohen illustrated from Connecticut.
Fedor Fedin should be asleep in Moscow.

  • “Written by Peter Hassett in Baltimore. Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg in Florida. Ian Oland added pictures from Hanover. Rachel Cohen illustrated from Connecticut. Fedor Fedin should be asleep in Moscow.” By our powers combined…. we become Carmen Sandiego!

    Anywho, what a CRAZY game with all the fighting and the goal-scoring-by-people-who-almost-never-score-goals and the Knuble-finally-scoring and whatnot. Yay for 5 wins in a row!

  • Peter

    Haha. I think Ian corrected my bad Spanish! Thanks, dude.

  • Sean

    Kudos for finally putting a somewhat meaningful single-game Corsi comparisson. Comparing line-mates can be useful (Alzner -9 and Carlson -5) as they’ll be on the ice for mostly similar events.

    Otherwise, STOP POSTING THESE SINGLE-GAME CORSI NUMBERS. They’re not meaningful and the sample size (a single game!) is far too small for them to be trusted as accurate or indicative of play.


    “Mike Knuble finished the funk” …. HA!

    I laugh because this must be a joke…

    No plaudits for doing what’s expected of you – and definitely no plaudits when you’ve only done it twice in 15 games.

    And what about the two misses he had in the 1st? His later goal barely even makes up for that.

  • Peter Hassett

    Wow, you guys are mean.

    @28ISGREAT, I don’t know what a plaudit is, but breaking out of a slump is noteworthy. We noted it. What am I missing?


    A plaudit is a “demonstration of a round of applause” – which I assumed noting Knuble’s slump/funk “ending” amounted to, particularly considering the previous post focusing solely on his recent woes.

    And I guess while technically this one goal may “end” the slump/funk – in my mind the jury is still out as to whether he’s going to perform or continue to just fill roster space.