No O, Rangers beat Caps 2-1

Bruce Bennett

 Darroll Powe is helped off the ice. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

The Washington Capitals won three in a row coming into Sunday, but those games were against middling teams in their own division. This game was the New York Rangers, the guys who bounced the Hunter-led Caps from the playoffs last year. This game actually went a lot like those games: great goaltending but not nearly enough Caps offense.

John Carlson’s slapshot went top shelf in the game’s opening minutes. Carl Hagelin notched a goal halfway into a second period that felt more like an extended New York power play. Derek Stepan finished off a six-second power play to give the Rangers a lead– which held on for the win.

Rangers beat Caps 2-1.

  • The Capitals got absolutely dominated in puck possession. At even strength, the Rangers bombarded Braden Holtby with 29 shots, dwarfing Washington’s paltry 19 count even after backing off in the third period. The Caps had played against poor possession teams before, but the Rangers are in the top 10. The Caps simply must limit shots against and spend more time on attack — or else they’re washed up.
  • The Caps took three dumb penalties in the first period. The first was dumb in the traditional sense: poor bench management leading to too many men on the ice. But the second and third penalties were soft boarding calls, both called after shoulder checks by Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer that must have looked too good to be legal.
  • The Capitals killed those penalties off thanks to the superhuman skills of Braden Holtby. Summoning the spirit of himself circa 2012, Holtby stopped all twenty shots in the first period– many of them terrific scoring chances.
  • In the interest of fairness, the refs called at least one softy on the Rangers as well.
  • Darroll Powe and Matt Hendricks collided at center ice in the second period. Both players had their eyes on the puck, neither on the other. Powe flipped and landed on his head, apparently knocked out. He was assisted to the locker room by his teammates. Hendricks was shaken up, but did not miss a shift. I don’t say that just to glorify Hendrick’s toughness– just illustrating how unpredictable injuries can be. I’m not aware of a rules or equipment change being discussed that would stop this from happening again.
  • As reported by PeerlessJohn Carlson has been on ice for 13 of the 16 power play goals scored against the Caps so far. Make of that what you will, but I think Carlson is late in adopting a new Caps defensive system for the second year in a row.
  • Seven shots and no goals from Alex Ovechkin. We don’t usually see him shoot that much without results. Lots of effort with nothing to show for it can lead to a grumpy Ovi, and a grumpy Ovi leads to decreased pageviews for us, so we’re doubly unhappy.

The only thing worse than not having Joe B call the game is hearing his play-calls used in promos for the network that fired him. Boo.

Despite superb goaltending, the Caps earned this loss. They were thoroughly outmatched at neutral ice, unwilling to limit shots against (a season high 40), and snakebit on offense.

The three-win streak was crucial, but it’s over now, and the Capitals still have miles to go before they sleep. That’s a surprise to no one. The good news is they have three days off to work on it.

See you Thursday!

  • http://twitter.com/firefghteremt08 Eric Currence

    holtbeast was rocking it out there, he’s the only one who kept us in the game, and the team let him out to dry…we were flat footed in the D zone,couldnt score on the PP..as for carlson don’t get me started even though he scored the only goal for us tonight..and if people say we lost bc green wasnt on ther is going to drive me insane…look we have to win without key players, he’s only 1 key player out of many left….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42211077 Owen Johnson

    The playoffs was the emergence of the Holt-beast. Tonight was the emergence of the Mecha-Holtbeast. Tough to lose when your goalie plays that well.

  • SO_CAL_Brat

    I still walked away from this game a little encouraged. Just four games prior I would’ve thought this was going to be a blood bath but the system is falling into place a little. I wonder if those NBC announcers were right about Nicky Backstrom’s play being tainted after playing in the KHL?

  • SO_CAL_Brat

    RMNB….Did you enjoy Hockey Night in New York Rangers? Sappy
    side stories of the wonderful characters on the Ranger bench, Rangers
    on ice interviews with the Captain and Coach. NBC is NOT slanted AT ALL
    in their reporting skills. (Feel the sarcasm)

  • SO_CAL_Brat

    Agreed Eric! There was a time the CAPS could be missing several star players at one time and still not miss a beat. The problem is our grinders are a “star players” and our “star” players are well…..still missing.

  • Fedor

    I think Backstrom’s struggles were related to A) different coaching style in Dynamo, this team is known for their exhausting physical practices; B) the injury he suffered late in his stint with Dynamo.
    Most of those who played in Europe didn’t suffer from it at all. Like Malkin or Kulemin.

  • Dark Stranger

    Don’t think Nicky’s play was “tainted” after going to KHL. But I do wonder if that neck injury he suffered in his very last game with Moscow Dynamo has affected him adversely (as Fedor pointed out as a reply, also.)