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.
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?