OT hero, Jason Chimera (Photo credit: Scott Levy)

It’s already been a storied playoff series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. One overtime clincher, a tightly wound shutout, a blunder-filled heartbreaker, and now this. In what might have been their most hyped hockey game since the Winter Classic, the Caps blew it big time. But only for about 40 minutes. Then, Bruce Boudreau and his boys revealed the content of their character through a soaring victory in enemy territory.

via Josh Wilcox

After yet another scoreless first period, the Rangers’ Artem Anisimov got one past Michal Neuvirth to make it 1-0. In a stretch of seven seconds, the Rangers notched two more via Gaborik and Dubinksy. The Capitals were deep in a 3-0 hole and playing crummy hockey heading into a third period some expected to be dour.

We may never know what happened during that intermission, but I think Bruce Boudreau flipped the gorram switch. Alex Semin pounced on an unsecured puck ‘twixt Henrik Lundqvist’s nethers to start the comeback. Less than a minute later, Brooks Laich hit up Marcus Johansson on the weak side to make it 3-2. And then again MoJo used his body to deflect a John Carlson long bomb for the tying goal.

So we headed into two lengthy overtime periods: an endless grind of nasty hits, exhaustion, and manic penalties. And just when it seemed the Capitals might make their fatal mistake, it was Henrik Lundqvist who couldn’t control a rambunctious puck. And it was Jason freaking Chimera who finally found the back of that utterly crashed net. 92 minutes later. Caps beat Rags 4-3 (OT).

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Caps Fever Hits Columbia, Maryland

Overlooking Lake Kittamaqundi, there stands a quaint statue honoring Columbia’s visionary founder, James Rouse, and his brother, Willard. The statue, entitled “The Dealings,” is an iconic landmark that everyone in Howard County knows, and one that I come across almost daily when I eat at one of Columbia’s awesome lakefront restaurants. So naturally, when I got on Facebook last night and came across Dylan Goldberg’s photo of the Rouses in full hockey gear rocking the red, I knew I had to share it with the world. Well – at least when I stopped laughing. I hope you enjoy.

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Tonight, I was watching the Sabres/Flyers game on Versus when the above commercial popped up on the screen. Talk about furious. I’d rather have Gary Bettman come to my house, dip his hand in a bucket of ice water and backhand me across the face than involuntarily have to watch this goal again. But there Dubinsky was on my TV. In all his mustached-glory. Raising his arms triumphantly, while Neuvy hangs his head in utter defeat. What a great juxtaposition.

I have two questions for the NHL after being forced to watch this. First, if they don’t want to risk showing favoritism to certain teams, why show goals from this playoff year? The point of the promotion is to show the NHL’s rich history. Have they already run out of moments from the past? Don’t they think that fans’ feelings might be just a little raw one day after a loss? Second, how is this goal any better than the marker Alex Semin scored in overtime in Game 1? So Dubi can get a commercial, but Sasha Minor can’t? Sure, maybe I’m being a little sensitive here, but this just rubbed me the wrong way. I get what you’re trying to do NHL marketing team, but please go back to the drawing board.

Actor Michael Douglas takes in the game with his daughter Carys (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Sigh. (Photo credit: Kathy Willens)

This could be the pivotal game in the series. Up 2-0 Washington had the chance to all but put the Rangers away. But all it took to derail those plans, however, was one bad bounce off Karl Alzner’s shoulder.

The first period was scoreless and fairly even with Caps holding a 5-4 advantage in scoring chances. Despite not having a lead after 20 minutes of play the frame had to be considered a positive for Washington after killing off New York’s one and a half minute five-on-three power play late.

The Rangers opened the scoring at 5:30 in the second period when Erik Christensen threaded the needle, firing a sharp-angle wrister from the corner over Michal Neuvirth’s shoulder on the man-advantage. The Capitals remained down by one until Bruce Boudreau juggled the lines, putting Alex Ovechkin, Jason Arnott and Mike Knuble together. It would pay dividends just minutes later when Arnott fired a shot from the corner before Ovechkin potted it home to tie the game.

Eight minutes into the third, Vinny Prospal gave New York a 2-1 advantage, putting the rebound from Eric Marc Staal’s blast from the point into the back of the net. But when in comes to scoring gritty goals in front of the net, no one can outdo Knuuuuuuuble, as he whacked home the loose puck after Nicklas Backstrom’s one-time rocket on the power play. You might want to stop reading now.

With just 1:39 remaining in the game Brandon Dubinsky fired shot on Neuvirth, hitting Alzner. Before Neuvirth could react, six ounces of vulcanized rubber were in the back of the net. The Czech netminder hung his head in dejection and Ovechkin lay face down on the ice. Rangers shock Caps, 3-2.

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Video: Caps Up 2-0, but Far From Satisfied

Russ Thaler had a report for CSN Washington from Kettler Capitals IcePlex Saturday. The video is above. The best quote of the day came from Bruce Boudreau. “When you’re up 2-0 on a really good team, everybody is playing good,” Boudreau said. “The defense is playing good. The forwards are playing good. The question is: can you sustain it? And that’s our question. Hopefully, we can.”

The last two series the Capitals have played in the playoffs, the Capitals have had 2-0 and 3-1 series leads, only to see both the Penguins and the Canadiens come back and win. When asked about losing those seven-game match-ups in the past, Alex Ovechkin had this to say. “Right now we stay focused and right now this team is different. Again that kind of experience from the last couple of years will help us.” Can the Capitals ride out the early momentum that the New York crowd will supply to the Rangers? Will the Capitals take what could be an insurmountable 3-0 series lead headed into Wednesday’s Game Four at Madison Square Gardens? We’ll see tomorrow at 3pm.

Also, make sure to check out these other fine Capitals stories from today: Capitals Insider: Capitals could have a different set of top two lines for Game 3 | Dump N’ Chase: Arnott Producing In The Clutch | Ted’s Take: Good and Bad

Is Arnott happy or angry he scored? (Photo credit: AP)

Thanks to tallies authored by the two Alexes Wednesday, the Capitals opened up their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Rangers with a 2-1 overtime victory. Who would pot the goals in game two? Um, obviously the Jasons.

After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich decided to hold a forechecking clinic at 2:11 of the second period, taking on towering Rangers’ defenseman Matt Gilroy. After being knocked to his keister not once — but twice — Laich pushed the biscuit with only one hand on his stick to Marcus Johansson. Mojo — acutely aware of all of his surroundings — immediately sent a tape-to-tape pass to Jason Chimera, who roofed the puck high and glove side past a stunned Henrik Lundqvist.

1:57 later while on the power play, Jason Arnott would win a face-off. Alex Semin then passed it back to Alex Ovechkin at the point. Ovechkin, when pressured by a Ranger penalty-killer, skated across the blue line with the puck and fed Mike Green who was rotating down to the slot. Green then wound up to the sky with all his fury and released a slap shot. Gilroy blocked the attempt both with his skate and stick. Unfortunately for him, the muffed puck then deflected across the ice directly onto the blade of Jason Arnott’s twig, who was skating towards the net already looking for a rebound. As Lundqvist panicked and made a quick move to block the right corner of the net, Arnott made a veteran move and waited as he fell down and then shot the puck past. ANGRY SCOAR FACE.

That would be all she wrote. Michal Neuvirth would get his first career playoff shutout. Caps beat Rangers, 2-0!

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Beyond the players, coaching staff and members of the organization, there’s no one more knowledgeable about the Washington Capitals than a season-ticket holder. You know, those lovely people who fill the phone booth to capacity every night in a sea of red jerseys. So when we wanted to get a fan’s perspective of how the Capitals and the in-game crew were performing during the playoffs, we knew exactly who we had to turn to: Caps Superfans William “Goat” Stilwell and Sam “The Horn Guy” Wolk.

Wednesday night, after the Capitals thrilling 2-1 overtime victory, I caught up with the two lovely gentlemen and asked them their thoughts on game one, the star performers, and game two tonight. Hopefully, this will be a recurring feature throughout the Capitals’ second season. Make sure to be nice and welcome them to RMNB in the comments below!

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Sasha and Sasha go wild after Ovi nets the game-tying goal. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)

We all know Alexander Semin can be unpredictable. Wednesday night though, #GoodSasha was out in full force as he picked up the game-winning overtime goal and the primary assist on Alex Ovechkin’s wack-a-riffic third period tally. Sasha Minor even had the ability to control human consciousness. After the game, Semin spoke to the media and appeared more relaxed than usual with microphones around. At one point a reporter even asked him if Jason Arnott provided him with gas money. Since this is not something that happens very often I transcribed the interview.

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Sasha Scoars
SASHA SCOARS! (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

No team has given the Washington Capitals more trouble this season than the New York Rangers. Those 6-0 and 7-0 shutouts pushed some Caps fans into spiritual desolation, broke up several marriages, and probably killed a house cat or two. Fitting then that the Caps and Rags should meet in this first round of the playoffs. You know that old Klingon proverb, right? Revenge is a dish best served by two guys from Russia named Alex.

We were scoreless through two periods when Rangers newbie Matt Gilroy caught a pass from Brandon Prust and beat Michal Neuvirth. With only six minutes and change left in regulation, Alex Ovechkin’s repeated swats forced the puck past Henrik Lundqvist’s pads. And then, after nearly nineteen minutes of overtime hockey and with fatigue setting in, Jason Arnott intercepted a bad clear from Marc Staal and set up Alex Semin for the game-winner. It took damn near eighty minutes, but the good guys pulled it out: the Caps beat the Rangers 2-1 (OT) and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

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Fans in F Street Building Unveil New Caps Sign for the Playoffs

Photo by Clyde Caplan, clydeorama.com

Editor’s Note: Amidst the excitement of tonight’s first playoff game, Caps fan Ashley Christoff decided to gather her co-workers and work on a special project today. We’ll let her explain below.

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