Recap: Caps Stay Alive, Win Game Six 2-1


This is his Ranger-killing face. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Braden Holtby has not lost back-to-back games in the NHL in 29 games now. The Caps are the first team ever to win four straight games following overtime losses.

Let’s talk about resilience. Two wins this series following some of the most heartbreaking losses in recent memory, two instances of the Caps picking themselves back up and putting themselves back together. Two times when it wasn’t just talk. For the second time this postseason, we’re going to seven games.

The Great 8 scored on the power play, 88 seconds in. I could not make this up if I tried. Chimera finished off a strong play from Semin to make it — stay with me — an actual two-goal lead. It lasted for most of the game, but unfortunately someone on NBC said “shutout”, so Marian Gaborik scored. Caps beat Rangers, 2-1. 

  • It was…a pretty good start. Anton Stralman got two minutes for not being as fast as Jason Chimera, and the Caps executed a PP sequence that had previously only existed in your dreams. As we know, the scoring of the first goal has become the most important event in the entire universe, so we all breathed a sigh of relief to see the Caps go up early, but luckily the team decided to continue to play the rest of the game. They had The Fire tonight, and clearly had no intention of going down easy.
  • Some #fancystats from @hiredgun0213, 52-19-8 on the PP…5 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 8 = 25, who put them on the PP in the first place. Spooky.
  • Mystery of Jay Beagle, Parts One and Two: Beagle was not at practice, which was significantly a bigger deal than it would have been, say, six months ago. Dale Hunter quickly soothed our concerns, stating that Beagle was in tonight, simply “resting his legs”. Cut to pregame warmups, dramatic reveal: Beagle was not in. Beagle was in fact very, very out, prompting the first Jeff Halpern appearance since March 23. Just when faceoffs thought they were safe.
  • Tim Thomas probably still thinks those flashy, unnecessary Holtby glove saves are funny. Braden Holtby thinks Tim Thomas being out of the playoffs is funny. Either way, it’s a fabulous way to get shooters to think twice about going glove-side, while the Caps shot blockers take away the low. Carry on, Braden.
  • Slight threat to Ovechkin’s future children from Brandon Prust after the Ranger failed at hockey for a shift or so and resorted to cheap shots instead, sticking Ovechkin right in the produce section. “It’s recoverable,” said John Walton, tactfully. “It’s not a whole lot of fun, though. We’ll leave it at that.”
  • The Verizon Center was in fine voice tonight — when Keith Aucion missed a point-blank chance in the second period, you all sounded like you were being murdered. It was excellent.
  • The PK was once again the most unassailable of solid objects, despite being without Beagle. The penalty killers never let us down (except for that one time that we are not talking about). Their magnum opus was a beautiful four-minute kill late in the second period tonight to preserve a two goal-lead. Heroism. There will be books and songs written about these penalty killers, there will be busts of them sitting on people’s mantels.
  • You didn’t misread that, I said two-goal lead. For the first time in these playoffs, the Caps were able to get and hold a two-goal lead for more than three minutes — in fact, they held it until the last 50 seconds of the game.

This postseason is all about the adjectives that you never thought would be applied to the Washington Capitals. Resilient. Gritty. Defensive. Committed. Here we are on the edge of another Game Seven, once again flying directly in the face of any conventional logic about what this team was expected to accomplish. It’s been breathlessly intense and terrifying. You have new ulcers that you can probably name after defensemen.

But the Caps are still alive. Isn’t that amazing, and ridiculous? Prepare yourself for the cardiac stress test of Saturday, and you might yet come out of this alive, too.

  • bailamos?

    BAILAMOSDUFHIOWUEQ2!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1374634677 Anna Roscigno

    LOVE this article…..I just want to sleep with it. Makes me damn proud to be a caps fan, guys played with heart tonight and the fans were LOUD and with the team the ENTIRE time. frigging ahhhhmazing. Satuday is going to be intense..not sure the rest of my nails (the ones that survived tonight) will make it out!! Keep this up RMNB, you guys rock!!! <3

  • Jim Kelly

    That was their best game of the playoffs. Here’s to hoping they can carry that through game seven.

  • Peter

    <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1262029985 Alison Latimer

    **HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF**…..until Saturday……Good job Ana….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    Not to be a debbie downer but I need to get this one off my chest. I have been a caps fan for a while. But the way they are playing really is starting to piss me off. 14 of 15 games a one goal game? Basically this is what has happened this year in the playoffs for a few teams. Phoenix is another. Basically what Hunter is doing is dumbing down the game. Pack it in bring 4 men back and block a ton of shots, make your goalie look amazing (see Mike Smith) because 85% of the shots are from the outside. This has to be the most boring hockey you can watch. It really seems to me that the coaches are playing the odds that if you just play to draw (which would happen in the regular season) and you have a 50/50 shot at a lucky bounce/mistake by the other team, then you win 2-1. The Bruins played like this for 4 freaking years before they actually started not only not allowing goals, but scoring a ton too. God help us if its Phoenix vs Washington or Phoenix vs NJ. I still want to see Ovi win a cup, but they are playing hockey that is counter to their skill set. If they play this way they will loose sooner or later. You cannot win a cup on 16 one goal wins. If you can, and they do, Then I will come back and say I was wrong.

    Again, not trying to knock you all down, just an observation from an out of town fellow whose own team played the same way for so long.

    That being said, Go win game 7 any way necessary. To heck with the rangers. Then go on and beat the Devils, and then lets hope folks in Washington can take a phrase from us Bostonians and BEAT LA!

  • luke

    while i agree with you, this game had to be an exception. it was 2-1, but only in score. The caps had INCREDIBLY offensive chances and were dominating the pace of the game. Besides, look at all the heavy offense teams in the most recent years: Canucks, Caps, Sharks, etc etc, all usually sit at home (Canucks SQUEEZED in) come finals. All those kinds of teams are out of the playoffs now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    I agree there needs to be balance, but look at these stats. of all playoff teams, here is a list of teams ranked by one goal wins: WAS 7, PHX 6, NYR5, NJ, 4, BOS 3, NSH 3, LA CHI OTT STL PHI 2 the rest 1 and then VAN 0. so you have 4 of the remaining 5 in the top 4. Which obviously shows you need to be able to win one goal games. but. look at one goal losses

    WAS and NYR 5 NSH BOS 4, CHI OTT FL DET 3 PHX SJ VAN 2 STL PIT 1 and impressive LA 0

    now here is where I think there is really something. games won by two goals. Now yes this could mean there was an EN goal. but look who makes the top 5 in this list:

    LA 5 NJ NSH NYR 2 PHX 1 and a few others with 1 as well. Washington is the only team left without at least 1 two goal win. of the teams who never won by two goals, you have my Bruins, Philly, SJ, PIT, CHI, DET. 5 of those 6 did not make it out of the 1st round, Philly obviously lost in 4 which is basically loosing in the first round. The caps may be living on borrowed time if they cannot turn up their offense.

    one last thing. GA and GF

    of the final 5 teams: G/G NJ ranks 3rd, LA 4th both with 3 a game PHX is 5th with WAS 9th with 2.15 and NYR with 2.08

    GA/G LA 1st with 1.56 PHX 2nd 1.91 NYR 3rd 1.92 WASH 6th 2.15 NJ 8th 2.33

    So Washington has scored as often as it has been scored on. This kind of supports my theory that Dale Hunter is as Mike Felger says (in Boston when we went through this for 4 years) trying to win games 0-0. I mean hey it has worked so far, but if you keep having 7 game series all by 1 goal, the odd’s are not in your favor that you will get 4 game 7′s by one goal. Remember the Bruins were one bounce from being bounced last year in the first round. But I digress, I still want Washington to win, and I hope it is vs LA and I hope the caps can score some dam goals and make it a hell of a finals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    philly lost in 5*

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005713165 Pat Magee

    Even Wideman looked great! WE CAN DO THIS!!!! BELIEVE!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryantpthomas Bryant Thomas

    Gonna have to grab some brews for this game on Saturday… Things are going to be hot and heavy. LETS GO CAPS

  • http://twitter.com/Funployee Greg Girard

    My ulcers are named Wideman and Wideman 2.

  • http://twitter.com/Funployee Greg Girard

    Nothing about this style is boring. In fact, it’s the most exciting hockey I’ve ever seen the Caps play. Losing 5 – 3 isn’t more exciting than losing 2 – 1 in OT, neither is winning 5 – 3. The difference is the Caps have done more winning than losing this Postseason using a defensive scheme. One could argue that in any sane world games 3 and 5 would have split (game 5 was just the biggest gut punch loss ever… so flukey) and the Caps win this in 6.

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  • http://twitter.com/FedFedRMNB Feds

    IMO, Gaborik’s goal should’ve never counted.
    According to the NHL rule #69 (http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26480):
    “Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal;”
    Here’s the picture of Carl Hagelin in the crease: http://s019.radikal.ru/i642/1205/0a/44db64dca4da.jpg
    I think it’s pretty clear.

  • http://twitter.com/Dara_Laine Dara Goldberg

    Seriously about the ulcers, these games have taken years off my life.

  • Rhino40

    Great Golden Stuff Peter (as always)…

    Anton Stralman got two minutes for not being as fast as Jason Chimera,

    Now, can we please have those Ice Cheetah T-shirts I’ve been asking for?NOW???

    but unfortunately someone on NBC said “shutout”, so Marian Gaborik scored.

    *^)%&^$# NBC announcers Caps-haters! Every time the Caps made a good play it was described as being “lucky” or due to a Ranger miscue. And then they go and jinx the goose-egg. “Announcers” who are as “experienced” as Doc and Eddie must know that you should never, ever, EVER say the “S” word while the game is a still in progress! This, more than anything else, proves their thinly-veiled disdain and contempt for this franchise–at a time when even the Arch-Tool Milbury is saying good things about the Caps.

    Their magnum opus was a beautiful four-minute kill late in the second
    period tonight to preserve a two goal-lead. Heroism. There will be books
    and songs written about these penalty killers, there will be busts of
    them sitting on people’s mantels.

    Yeppers, Pete…while watching at home I said to my wife (Mrs. Rhino): “If we kill this one it’ll break their backs.”

    Other thoughts:

    Great scoar by Ovie on the power play…and all game long you can tell he wanted moar…amazing play to get the puck on net…while spinning…on the ice…on his butt…

    Also, call me crazy, but it seems to me that Holtby was interfered-with by Hagelin on the goal-against: The Rangers’ skater clearly:

    1) Preceded the puck into the crease.
    2) Was not checked into Holtby by a defender
    2) Impeded Holtby’s movement (with what can best be described as a leg-pick) so as to prevent him from playing the puck.

    Isn’t that supposed to be a penalty/no-goal, according to the NHL Rule Book? And I don’t remember seeing a passage anywhere in there that reads “except if it’s the Caps

    Based on prior experience, if the roles are reversed then either the goal is washed out (probably) or the Caps go short-handed (more than likely) or both.

    Cranky Torts (shall we just call him the “Tort-feasor” from now on?) in the presser was an added bonus.

    “Y’know” tally for the Huntsy presser: 13

    But none of that matters now, because the Caps won, and live to fight another day.

    GO RMNB!
    GO CAPS!!!

  • Rhino40

    Ice Cheetah T-shirts NOW

    HTML FAIL…my bad

  • Rhino40

    Oops again…ANA…sorry!

  • lrhflute

    I’m going to be in New Orleans for my best friend’s wedding….which is Saturday at Noon (so, I’m very happy it’s a late game). I plan on leaving the festivities for a few hours and finding a bar that’s showing the game! I can’t pack my jersey, but I can pack my Caps shirt, so I will be sufficiently Rocking the Red!!! I have “Don’t Stop Believein’” on constant repeat in my head and I believe in this team! LET’S GO CAPS!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    I know the feeling…

  • Zak

    Who cares if it is only a one goal game, we won is all that matters. And if you think it’s boring you are crazy. It’s heart mummers the whole game.

  • http://twitter.com/kickxdrumxheart Ana

    Haha, no worries! That’s a compliment!

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  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    Rhino40 … OMG! That horrible NBC announcer who jinxed a perfectly good goose-egg for Holtby needs to be FIRED!!! Mike Milbury and ?? both tried to shut him up … they yelled at him (in fact) and he just laughed his defiance of the hockey gods. What an ass hat.

    I also thought that Holtby was interfered with on that goal … we all did in my house. Hard to say what would have happened if we had scored one like that, but I’ll also say that the two penalties handed to the boys in red before the 4 minuter, were very questionable. They happened alright, but the Rags were committing the same fouls and getting away with it. Very uneven reffing continues to be a spectre haunting these playoffs.

  • Skibrent

    Dude, are you insane? I’ve been watching hockey for 38+ years, and this is one of the best series of hockey I’ve ever seen. Do you know what series sucked? The Pittsburgh-Philly series. Yes there were a lot of goals, but the defense was atrocious and the hockey was a joke. If you think these games are boring, then I don’t know what sport you are watching. Yes, they are low-scoring and very defensive, but geez man, give some credit to some incredible goaltending on both ends of the ice. If it wasn’t for Lundquist, the Caps have clearly had opportunities to score 4 and 5 goals per game in this series. Meanwhile, the Rangers have been swarming the offensive zone throughout the series and are simply getting stoned by a young goalie with a quick glove-hand and a penchant for NOT giving up bad rebounds. Boring was watching Philly play game 5 against Jersey with no balls and no heart and thus no ability to get a puck anywhere near the net while Jersey cold just sit in their “layers” in the neutral zone. I haven’t seen any of that neutral-zone crap in this Caps-Rangers series.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Exciting hockey between two teams isn’t the same as good hockey by one team.

    Hunter’s style is making for some EXCITING hockey– not necessarily good hockey. And it’s winning right now. And that’s all I’ll say until summertime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    18 shots on goal is interesting? I am not saying all low scoring games are bad. And Holtby gives up his share of rebounds. I just think if the caps play a different kind of team they will struggle. I agree philly and pitt sucked. But it is not like the caps are giving up real shot opportunities. Everything comes from the parameter. Either way I do genuinely hope the caps win, I just do not want them to end up like some other teams who dumb down the game to the point you are waiting on a lucky bounce or missed/made call to win a game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    well its not really winning hockey when you won as many as you have lost just as much as you have one, and your goals for and goals against are the same. Again, if this trend continues, I will come back and eat my words, but they do need to get a few more goals up on there. If Ottawa can do it, Washington can do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41504979 Andrius Galinauskas

    well, if you want to go with that logic, one fluke bounce and the Bruins loose in the 1st round last year, one made call on goaltender interference the Bruins maybe win in the 1st round, if the Caps get a bounce in game 1 vs boston, they win in 5….anytime its a one goal game, anything that “almost happened” could have won or lost a game. I just think it’s reasonable to think if the caps keep playing 1 goal games that they can win the cup. There is notihng wrong with playing sound defense, but don’t take away your teams strength. I will tell you, I am not a huge fan of Claude Julien. He is keeping Seguin from blossoming. Some players are got at scoring, some are good at defense and some are good in all 3 zones. I hope Ovi does not get a hot head because he is not getting his usual scoring chances. Disgruntled superstars can kill any team. All in all its just my only real gripe with the caps, if they win the cup with it then awesome. I can see my 2 favorite teams win the cup in consecutive years. Go Caps!