The Capitals lost to the New York Rangers 4-3 on Monday, but let’s not let the sadness get the best of us. There were some good moments in the game, most notably Mike Green‘s exemplary play throughout. In 24:32 of ice time, Green had two shots, blocked two others, led his team in possession, and scored his second goal of the playoffs. And it was a beauty.
Game three of the quarterfinal series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers was an opportunity for a statement. The Capitals could have played just as they had last week and put NYR in a headlock. That didn’t happen. Instead, the Capitals got drawn into a quagmire on rocky ice– a penalty-punctuated, back-and-forth battle that they could not win despite dominating the even-strength game.
Rangers beat Capitals 4-3. Capitals still lead the series 2-1.
[Editor's Note: Instead of rocking the red at Verizon Center for game two on Saturday, five-year Caps season ticket holder Ilan was at his brother Eyal's graduation at Indiana University. Enjoy.]
I am a long-time hockey fan, long-time Caps fan, and season-ticket holder. My brother and I grew up playing hockey and sweating the Caps hardcore. When I was in high school, we converted our basement into an indoor rink, and while pretending we were Olaf Kolzig, Craig Berube, and Peter Bondra, we wreaked havoc to the tune of drywall crumbling and light bulbs bursting. It was awesome.
Now for the not-so-awesome: I had to miss game two. My brother actually managed to graduate college this year, and his graduation ceremony was scheduled for that Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. I thought about skipping his graduation but I am not a douche. Instead we tried to convince our mom to let us skip the festivities of the graduation at Indiana University and fly my brother home for game 2. No dice. Then I found out the worst part: we had to be at the ceremony at 2 pm. I wanted to die.
Whether he’s riding a Vespa on 66, sporting hair that doesn’t make sense, or scoring an overtime goal, Mike Green is always cool. Even in some of the game’s most heated moments, he retains his composure. After Saturday’s one-time blast to put the Capitals up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, he now has eight overtime goals in his career.
“He’s calm all the time with the puck in regulation, so when it gets to overtime and guys start to get the shakes a little bit, he’s still calm Mike Green,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “We call him Casual Mike every now and then.”
In the last couple years, Mike Green has struggled mightily with injury. His goal production has slumped, and he has failed to put up more than 8 goals and 24 points in the last two seasons. But over the summer, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee went all in on #52, giving him a three-year contract extension and a substantial pay raise. A lot of people, including me, were critical of the signing. We were wrong.
That confidence McPhee showed in his struggling player has paid off this season, as Green has returned to form, scoring 12 goals and tallying 26 points in 35 games. Against the Rangers on Saturday, Green did what he did best– scoring the game-winning overtime goal, the only goal of the game. AND HOLY #$%& WHY I AM WRITING SO SERIOUS. WHAT A GOAL WHAT A GOAL WHAT A GOAL!
Hockey hypertension. The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers played a high-tension matinee game that had everyone watching in conniption fits. Superb performances by goalies Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby kept the game scoreless through regulation despite some dazzling chances at both ends. I’m trying to think of a non-cliched way to say we were on the edge of our seats, but I’m way too wrapped up in this to be clever right now.
Braden Holtby refused all offers, and the Capitals dominated overtime until Mike Green ended it on the power play.
Caps beat Rangers 1-0 (Overtime). Caps lead the series 2-0.
In the second period of game one, the Washington Capitals looked wobbly, in a one-goal hole and entirely without momentum. Then Aaron Asham checked one of the Caps in the head and Washington went on its fourth power play of the game. That’s when Alex Ovechkin channeled his inner-MVP-ness, scoring his 31st career postseason goal on the power play. It seized back momentum for the Caps, who went on to score two more goals before the period was done. The Caps held on to win 3-1.
With that goal, the Great Eight is Washington’s franchise leader in playoff goals, passing one of my childhood hereos, Peter Bondra.
On April 27, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Woohoo! Final game of the season. A month and a half ago, I thought this would be the last one I’d cover before the summer, but then Ovechkin happened. Now, the Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals game was just a meaningless little preamble to the real dance, which starts next week.
Let’s do a loose recap. Looch got a lucky one off Alzner’s skates, then he screened Holtby on Ference’s goal. Then, Mike Green 2009 warged into Mike Green 2013 and scored back-to-back power play goals. The Caps killed some late-game penalties and forced overtime, where Eric Fehr finished off the regular season with a little goal so greasy you could lubricate your engine with it if that’s a thing you knew how to do.