Caps beat Rangers 3-2 (SO), Back in the Chase?

Paul Bereswill

Photo credit: Paul Bereswill

The Washington Capitals came to Manhattan on a tear. They brought everything they had against the New York Rangers in the game’s first ten minutes, only to see the home team nullify a two-goal lead before the first intermission. Two periods of tight hockey and excellent goaltending followed– earning the Caps one point for surviving regulation. That second point had to wait until the shootout– the Caps’ first of the season.

Holtby poked Nash. Hendricks failed to paralyze Lundqvist. Callahan went wide. Ovi scoared. Stepan roofed it. Ribeiro got denied. Richards got swatted away. And Backstrom sunk it!

Caps beat Rangers 3-2 (Shootout)

  • The Capitals came out of the gates figuratively on fire. They definitively tilted the ice in the first– putting 16 more even-strength attempts towards Lundqvist. That earned them two goals– captain Alex Ovechkin involved in both– before the ten-minute mark. It didn’t last.
  • The Rangers fought back with a very pretty two-on-one goal by Arron Asham, who was playing in his first game since February 19. Then, just 7 seconds into a 5-on-3, Derek Stepan snuck the puck into the net. It was a low-angle shot that went off the back of Braden Holtby‘s stick.
  • The Caps had a great chance to even things up in the second period as the Rangers gave them an extended 5-on-3 power play… which the Caps squandered with a few low-percentage long bombs by John Carlson (only one on target) and some brownian motion in the interior.
  • Late in the second, Mike Ribeiro unleashed a slapshot zeroed in on Henrik Lundqvist‘s facemask. Lundqvist was dazed, but he wasn’t needed at the moment– Karl Alzner‘s next shot went off the post.
  • Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson had a dramatic two-on-one in the third period. In too many occurrences this season, Johansson has opted to pass when he should shoot. Tonight he shot… and missed by a mile.
  • We couldn’t expect the Caps to maintain their momentum from early in the game, but they dropped off way too much. They hardly challenged Lundqvist after the first 10 minutes. Possession teams are good teams, and the Caps showed glimpses of being both tonight.
  • Related: The Rangers’ masochistic obsession with shot blocking has not diminished. No one tell them that blocking outside shots is futile and dangerous, okay? Let’s just let ‘em figure it out on their own.
  • Eric Fehr left the game after the 7-minute mark of the third period. He suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. Knowing Fehr’s history with shoulder injuries, this could be very very bad news. Think positive thoughts, everybody. Fehr has been the Caps’ best surprise this season, and if healthy he’s certaintly deserving of a new contract.
  • Wojtek Wolski should have a sweater every night. Scratching him for the Caps’ first shootout makes his absence even more painful.
  • Sorry about all the #thebank tweets. It should have been #thebankstrom.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

Alex Ovechkin has been a tremendous leader for this team when they needed it most. He’s been a point machine, scoring important goals, leveling big hits, and finally pitching in on the shootout. He deserves a ton of credit for getting 3 Ws out of the last 4 games.

That’s a pretty solid road trip. Just getting the OTL point from the Rangers would have been a big deal, but Nicky and Ovi made it a decisive win. We’ll check the stats in a bit, but it looks like the Caps have a real chance to make the playoffs right now.

So what does that do to all that mess I wrote yesterday? What’s your take?

  • GuestZ

    EF YEAH! This one got me going. Thank you Nicky and Ovi!

  • http://twitter.com/dylanwheatley83 dylan wheatley

    fehr’s out, that’s it, blow up the team.

  • http://twitter.com/Freedoooom Chase

    http://i46.tinypic.com/2e57fqa.png

    Guys post this. Last time the Caps weren’t vocal about a hit(the one MoJo specifically) it got not attention and a 5 second segment about the fine and no one in the media really caring.

  • JGP

    I’m constantly nervous when Hillen is on the ice. Anyone have any fancystats to make me feel better?

  • JenniferH

    This was such an exciting game! I’m so proud of the Caps! Three roadgame consecutive wins. Booyah!!! I’m very new to Hockey – just began watching the last playoffs (it’s why I came in as such a Holtby fangirl), so I’ve been picking stuff up, but I did not know what the shootout was and when I realized it, I was all OOOH!!! And then Ovi scored, and then Backstrom for the win. AMAZING! And while Ovi (and Backsie) were awesome, I have to give a special shout-out to Holtby and Lundquist because both goalies were fantastic tonight, taking hits, making fantastic saves and just all-around top of the line goaltending from my admittedly amateur viewpoint!

    Great, great game and the shot for a playoffs berth for the Caps just keeps rising! YES!

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

    haha I really really hope he’s okay

  • http://www.facebook.com/Margefro87 Margaret McGuire

    Hillen has been great, who you should be nervous about is green and tonight was no different

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

    Orlov makes me Nervous… Moreso than Hillen

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

    not really! Kinda right in the middle guy right now

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

    Welcome to the team Jennifer!

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

    I’ll see if we can track down some video! Do you know when this happened?

  • JenniferH

    Thanks, Peter. I’ve commented a few times, but I kinda just went all aaaahhh! Tonight. So exciting. (and I love your recaps!)

  • JenniferH

    Me too. He’s been great. Hopefully we find out soon and it’s good news!

  • Yv

    Dynamo-connected machine in Ovi and Nicky working now like a clockwork!

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

    this game should cement the fact that Ovi and Backstrom need to continue to be on the same line. I’m not sure how much more proof Oates needs…..

  • Joben

    Hillen has been playing great, even the announcers at MSG were complementing him on his play tonight.

  • Burn

    Can you elaborate on the futility of shot blocking? I’d like to read moar on this.

  • JGP

    Thanks guys. Maybe it’s for the best that he’s relatively unnoticeable out there.

  • Dominic

    I keep waiting for Hillen to hit Ovi in the teeth “By Accident” as revenge. He just has that look in his eye. Having said that, I loved watching this game. It had everything that made me a fan when I was a kid. Quickly scored goals, self sacrificing D, pressure, and yes, the skills competition. I hate to sound like I”m waxing douchebag-y, but I really enjoyed tonight. The shootout win was the icing on the cupcake (See:Lundqist He’s dreamy, lets face it), but even if we had lost, it was a hell of a fun game to watch. I would really like to see us try to make a run down the stretch.

  • Yv

    During last 5-6 games he was not as good as before, maybe this was related to this UBI. WW can replace him w/o too much dropout.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Andy.Wallace.839 Andy Wallace

    I cried a bit when I thought of Wolski during the shootout

  • JenniferH

    True, but I’m still hopeful because he was great when healthy.

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

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capitals-insider/post/blocked-shots-are-a-double-edged-sword/2012/01/05/gIQAMdDRdP_blog.html

    The basic idea is that the shots most commonly blocked are the least dangerous. Goalies can stop em, and they’re wearing better pads than the skaters are.

    And while it’s always a good idea to put yourself between a dangerous puck and the net, the teams that block the most aren’t even the best teams in the league. Because if you’re blocking a shot, that means your team doesn’t have the puck– and having the puck is how a team wins.

    Now if your team can block a dangerous shot safely and then gain possession as a result, that’s fantastic. But that story isn’t common enough to justify it as a team-wide tactic.

  • HendyBoBendy26

    You should research hockey a little more. Then you might know what a shootout is!

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

    Be nice to the noobs. We were all green once, and there’s not a single damn thing wrong with that.

  • JenniferH

    Thank you. :)

  • http://twitter.com/mattymatty2000 Matthew Kory

    Great game and really, amazing first 10 minutes. Worst part about this little run the Caps are on is it’s putting me back on the fence about trading Ribeiro. I still kinda think it would be for the best but then teams go on runs in the NHL and maybe the Caps can do that. Probably can’t without Ribeiro in any case.

  • http://twitter.com/dylanwheatley83 dylan wheatley

    honestly i think he’s my favorite guy on the team. rosters full of guys like him win cups, every year. really hoping he’s ok.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Hahaha. Locker looks demonic in the Joe B suit of the night. Peter, you’re the best.

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    No idea. i guess i would ask: If Fehr busted his shoulder again, which I think happened (I saw the hit that sent him away and it looked like a shoulder) – does that affect the ribeiro question and what would we hope to get for ribeiro? Money?

  • Graham Dumas

    Watching the game from the Garden tonight made me appreciate two things: 1) how much I miss the Verizon Center crowd, where only half the audience is a bunch of goons in blue shirts; and 2) how much MJ90 needs to grow up or move on. We need to find someone much, much better to anchor out the OV/Backstrom line.

  • http://twitter.com/ecindc Emily Casto

    Just when you start to worry about Nicky’s mediocre (for him) performance lately, he goes and reminds you why he’s TOP line all the way. Keeping Nicky and Ovi together on a line is crucial- glad Oates understands that. And Brooksy and Greenie back and both healthy (hopefully I didn’t just jinx them)… it’s going to be exciting.

    That’s all I want, I want us to not be a joke and at the very bottom. I want to walk into every game and really feel like we have a chance to win. I was dreading this Rangers game- and we got a W. We’re entering Tuesday’s game with the same number of points as NYI (31). Playoffs or not, I’m just thrilled that it’s competitive and exciting for the fans again.

  • http://twitter.com/VirtualYehudi Karaism

    11:10 in the third period I think! (According to hfboards)

  • http://twitter.com/VeggieTart Danielle

    Welcome, Jennifer. If you get a chance, you should check out some of Hendy’s shootout goals. He’s got some slick moves, and I’m surprised our two shootout specialists didn’t come through yesterday.

    So if Fehr is injured and can’t play (sure hope he’s okay for Tuesday), do you put Wolski in?

  • serpent

    Norman Bates

  • JenniferH

    That’s what my sister was telling me last night (she’s the one who introduced me to Hockey last year and she’s fully immersed herself in the game). She said he’s AMAZING. I’m so gonna do that today. Thanks for the 2nd tip.

    I just don’t want to even think about Wolski at this point, I just want Fehr to be OK! I hope it’s not a shoulder injury. :(

  • Joe

    Thank you for such enthusiasm, Jennifer. It is a nice counterpoint from the discussions on probabilities, usage charts, and Corsi events.

    This right here is why it is fun to see the Caps lace ‘em up every game and try to win them all.

  • hendybobendy26

    I wasn’t being rude! But research is key!

  • JenniferH

    I am having so much fun watching these games and trying to figure out what’s going on, following the puck, cheering like crazy when they score. It’s awesome! I love the Capitals!

  • Kyle Schoembs

    100% agree, just one loss in Winn and I would’ve said we need to be sellers. This isn’t a team that is likely to go into the playoffs and dominate (let alone just making it in), so in the long run trading Ribs seems like the good move. But as Keynes said, ‘in the long run we’re all dead.’

  • freckleface81

    If she only started watching during the playoffs (in which there are no shootouts) and the Caps haven’t had a shootout this season…how and why would she have thought to research shootouts? It’s quite possible she’d never heard the term before, and even if so, wasn’t aware that it applied to hockey.
    I can easily see thinking that overtime rules are “overtime until someone scores” or even leaving open the possibility for a tie (as was the case until fairly recently so really a distinct possibility).

  • http://www.facebook.com/cj.easton.7 CJ Easton

    Just remember that at the beginning of the year they had started together and they were terrible. I think they needed this break to realign their cohesion again. Too many bad habits from previous years, coaches, wings, and leagues (were in the KHL together in the off season this year).

  • http://www.facebook.com/cj.easton.7 CJ Easton

    I also hope Erskin is getting better. The two of them have been great to watch this season. I never thought much of Erskin in years past but he has come to shine under Oates much Like Fehr.

  • Bucky Katt

    I thought it was just “Angry Locker”. Sorta like “Angry Birds”.

  • HendyBoBendy26

    I’m not looking to start an argument, okay? I just found it odd that she didnt know what it was. I thought it was a general hockey term, & Joe B has said it multiple times this season, but its fine. Now she knows! & she’ll be totally excited for the next time!

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

    but you agree that being on the line now together is the right move?