Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
With two wins in their rear view, the Washington Capitals hoped to end their homestand by beating up the New York Rangers, whom they ousted from the playoffs last Spring. Instead, flubs on friendly ice foiled the Caps.
With John Carlson utterly smoked, Jeff Schultz had to deal with Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik, who scored. Artem Anisimov potted on the power play to give the Rangers a two-goal lead. Eh, make it 3-0: Marcus Johansson got a little cute on the breakout, turning over the puck so that Ruslan Fedotenko could have an easy layup. Alex Ovechkin massacred someone on the boards leading to a turnover that gave Troy Brouwer a goal scored from inches out. On the power play, John Carlson released a weaponized slap shot to make it 3-2. Michal Neuvirth’s glove was a bit clumsy, and Brian Boyle converted the rebound. On a 2-on-1, Ryan Callahan set up Brad Richards for an easy redirect– 5-2. Alex Ovechkin finally recorded a home-ice goal, beating a small platoon of Rangers to do so. Fedotenko made it 6-3, and we stopped caring. Rags beat Caps 6-3.
- Alex Semin hooked in the neutral zone, earning his 30th penalty minute of the season. This was another one of those “use your legs, not your stick” calls– a lesson that Sasha still refuses to learn…
- …Kind of like the pesky “stop doing that same move” lesson that Ovi stubbornly refutes with regularity. 21 games into the season, Alex Ovechkin finally scored his first goal on home ice using that very same move. It was the Rambo maneuver, wherein he outskated a trio of blueshirts all by himself before darting the puck over Lundqvist’s shoulder. It was the second top-line goal of the night.
- Jeff Schultz is beleaguered with criticism lately, so let’s put this on the record: mostly to blame for Gaborik’s goal is John Carlson, who was caught playing forward with a bouncy puck. JC74’s subsequent slapshot goal made up for the goof, so let’s speak no more of this. Schultz and Carlson both finished with plus-1 ratings. Unlike…
- Dennis Wideman, who was on ice for four goals against. The usual ice-time leader and reliable defender was not himself tonight, and that might have been the root of the problem.
- The first Capitals goal went a little like this: Alex Ovechkin smeared a blueshirt on the wall, John Carlson recovered the puck, Nick Backstrom shot, and Troy Brouwer cleaned up the rebound. With Ovi’s physicality, the playmaking skill of Carlson and Backstrom, and Brouwer working up front– isn’t this exactly how we want that top line playing?
- The Capitals hadn’t scored on a power play in 31 tries, except for a single 5-on-3 situation. Carlson’s bomb ended that drought.
- Without a bugging device in the locker room, we can only assume that Caps management loves Dmitry Orlov. The kid is sticking to the system (aided by Karl Alzner’s reliable play), he’s finishing big checks, and he’s keeping attackers away from the slot. Of the six goals against, Dmitry was responsible for none.
- Both Caps goalies are having trouble this season, but Michal Neuvirth seems the be getting the shorter end of an already short stick. He had very little in the way of goal support, but the real problem was the sub-par defense his team put in front of him. There’s no argument that some (maybe 2?) of these goals were purely his fault, but he also offered a few singularly Neuvy saves– particularly while his team was on power play. Mikey’s bad stats season continues: 27 saves on 33 shots.
Blame it on bad defense. Blame it on tryptophan (actually it’s the carbs that make you tired, but whatever). Blame it on my new Crash the Net t-shirt (0-1-0) or this game’s early start. No, but really: blame it on defense. AC Bob Woods is probably gonna be offering a 300-level lecture on sack-grabbing during the plane ride to Buffalo tonight.
We’ve got the Sabres tomorrow night. Different Caps time, same Caps channel. Different Caps result, hopefully.
At least Rachel was on TV…