Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Ack. I’m all jammed up like a Phish live record over here. This series is not good for people, plants, or other living things. The corrupted bastardization of hockey the Rangers have foisted upon the Capitals is some perverse thing not spoken of in polite circles. Where’s all the end-to-end action? The shot totals in excess of 40? The goalies giving up goals like Galileo dropped the orange? The Rangers forced the Caps into a constipated brand of hockey that is actually making my back seize up as if I were eating pancakes. Everything is all tensed up, and it goes on way too long. We’re supposed to enjoy it, but it’s really just survival.
The Rangers grabbed a lead in the game’s first minute, putting the entire DMV area’s bowels on red alert, but playoff hero Joel Ward tied it up in the second. The Caps leaned in during the third period, but we headed to overtime anyway– where Mike Ribeiro became a Capitals legend.
Caps beat Rangers 2-1 (Overtime). Caps lead the series 3-2. Sunday is an elimination game for New York.
- One minute in, Brian Boyle scored. I really don’t wanna talk about it, but if you MUST know, John Erskine and the top line were not doing their jobs — either in clearing the zone or taking defensive assignments. It was a pretty goal– a hard-around to behind-the-net to the open man in the slot. And it set a very bad precedent for the game.
- It wasn’t just that goal: John Erskine was a mess all around. He gave up a (soft?) elbowing penalty, had one nearly disastrous giveaway in the defensive zone, and was diagnosed with chronic anaphylaxis when exposed to opportunities to clear the zone. After a long season of overperforming, Erskine might be coming back down to Earth. He was a particularly stinky part of the malodorous palate that was the first period, in which the Caps– despite winning possession– failed to make a clean breakout or zone entry once.
- Mike Ribeiro (and we will come back to him) has been known for his hot head all season, but it worked tonight. He goaded Brian Boyle into a slashing penalty, which Joel Ward used to equalize just 11 seconds later. The power play was led by Marcus Johansson doing the Gretzky thing below the goal line. Really pretty stuff (Craig Laughlin called it “tic-tac-joel”), and not at all what New York was expecting. Joel Ward is a playoff rock and a credit to his team. Keep that stick low, Wardo!
- P.S. Ribeiro was a monster on the faceoff dot.
- The Caps were roughed up in the first period, but still got a narrow edge in possession. In the second period, the Caps turned that into a monster advantage during even strength that would lead to a blowout against a team not so dedicated to shot-blocking (shot-blocking (n.) a way to lose, just less pathetically) and backstopped by the ‘Qvist.
- John Carlson post noooooooooooooooo. That’s all the “”analysis” I can muster right now. Dude beat the other dude, but the metal thing and then nooooooo. I should be upping my game for the playoffs, but this is really hard, you guys.
- The Capitals dominated the third period with mucho shot attempts, but we had to go to overtime anyway. Alright, let’s keep it short and sweet.
- The Caps kept piling on the icing penalties– indicating a weak breakout and neutral-zone play, but the defensive-zone faceoffs were solid.
- Mathieu Perreault had THE chance of overtime, seemingly beating Lundqvist until the Swede put a meaty leg out to kick the save.
- AND THEN: Mike Ribeiro, your player of the game by a country mile, won the game in overtime, scoring a point-blank slapshot. Ribeiro was the Caps’ best player tonight even before the OTGWG. He won 19 of 27 faceoffs and led forwards in possession (plus-16), but the goal clinched it. What a stud!
We always knew Sunday would be an elimination game, but yay it’s not for our team.
Let’s all just forget that first period. That sucked. Let’s linger on the convincing game the home team played in minutes 20 through whatever time it was when Ribeiro slapped in that one past Lundqvist. The Caps rule at five-on-five, and if they can– FINALLY– get their asses out of the box, they will mollywhomp-curbstomp the Rangers on Sunday afternoon (4:30).
I love this team. Have a great Friday night.
Let’s end this on Sunday.