Photo credit: Greg Fiume
Oh god. Oh god. Oh. God.
I’m a bit wrapped up in the Washington Capitals this year. I thought I’d be cool, analyzing the game with the sober distance of an expert, but I’m not that at all. I’m a basket case, and I bet I’m not alone. It’s the gosh-darn playoffs, and the Caps are off to a hot start.
Washington bombarded NYR goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the first period, but the Rangers somehow got the early lead anyway. The Caps didn’t change their style though and responded with three goals in the second period. Holtby withstood an enfilade in the third and earned a wonderful game-one win.
Caps beat Rangers 3-1. Caps lead series 1-0. Boom!
- The Caps owned early. They peppered Henrik with shots and kept the Rangers without one of their own until darn near the 10-minute mark.
- After 14 or so minutes of Caps domination, the Rangers untilted the ice with a fruitless power play. Then Carl Hagelin locked up possession after a Caps icing and then used John Erskine‘s skate to put NYR on the scoreboard.
- Alex Ovechkin took the Capitals franchise lead in playoff goals with his second period power play scoar. Ovi sunk it after a deliberately wide shot made its way into his wheelhouse. Never let it be said Ovi doesn’t show up in the postseason. The man is a rock.
- Joe Beninati made a point of touting Martin Erat‘s playoff experience in Nashville, which is an odd thing to say this year as the only action Nashville is seeing right now is between Rayna and Deacon. Hell yeah, I watch that show.
- Marcus Johansson got the lead, beating Lundqvist after a sweet stretch pass from Steven Oleksy. Who was that blog all down on Marcus Johansson? Surely wasn’t us. Jokes aside: Unlike in January, Johansson is healthy and pulling his weight like a good little Swede.
- 46 clicks later, birthday boy Jason Chimera connected for goal number three. I predict a Jason Chimera goal pretty much every game, and recently I’ve been right more often. Of all Caps players, I think Chimera has the most Druce potential. Tell me I’m wrong
- Steve Oleksy did the rarely seen and even-more-rarely recommended cheek shot-block at the tail end of the second period. He went down to the ice like a pile of hot laundry, but came back out soon after because hockey. Because. Hockey.
- The Capitals’ power play yielded one very important goal, but for the most part it was uglier than Oleksy’s beat-up face. The Caps gave up mucho shorthanded chances, and if not for the wall-like qualities of Braden Holtby, this would’ve been baaaaaad. On the other hand, the usually disciplined Rangers surprisingly committed a big ol’ bucketload of penalties– giving the Caps plenty of chances to workshop those shorthanded chase-kills.
- Braden Holtby was nigh perfect. That goal against in the first period was a freak accident– a thing made purely out of happenstance. Every goalie is gonna give up a goal like that– a flukey cross-crease pass that bounces off a friendly skate. Holtby was unfazed by it and proceeded to stop 35 shots, many of them coming in furiously dense bunches– including a weird one with four minutes left that the boys in Toronto had to peep. He’s a pro. He’s a cucumber. Basically what I’m saying is this: 2013 Braden Holtby looks a lot like 2012 Braden Holtby, and there is no better news than that for Caps fans right now.
Uhh… HELL YEAH.
I had some anxiety about how the Caps would perform against a stout team like New York and after a billion day layover, but Alex Ovechkin set those anxieties at ease with that pretty PPG. But this wasn’t a star thing (except for the hairy guy in net); this was a team effort. Jason Chimera, Mathieu Perreault, Eric Fehr, and The Wagon all contributed to this win in significant ways.
As much fun as it would be to see a hat trick from Ovechkin or Nick Backstrom raking up points, a solid team win like this is even more encouraging for the rest of the series. If the Caps play as well as they did tonight, I think they can win all seven games!
Saturday morning (on *groan* NBC) will be big time stuff. Let’s all be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for moar net crashing.
p.s. I’m still not over Fred Weasley.