So, it’s the Rangers again. For the fifth time in seven seasons, the Washington Capitals will square off against the folks from Madison Square Garden in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These series have produced signature moments in Capitals history, such as Sergei Fedorov‘s game seven winner in 2009, and crushing defeats, like when the Rangers outlasted the Capitals by just one goal in game seven of the second round in 2012, booking a spot in the Eastern Conference Final. But, as is their pattern this year, the Washington Capitals will tell you this team is different. They don’t pay attention to the past.
“All that old stuff, get rid of it,” head coach Barry Trotz, in his first year with the Capitals, said. “Let’s look to a new era. Let’s build something.”
On April 11, 2015, In Highlights, By Peter Hassett
That’s the puck, stuck in the back of the net.
Stan Galiev has taken a grand total of two shots in his two games in the NHL, and he’s already recorded his first NHL goal.
In garbage time of the Caps’ loss to the Rangers in the final game of the regular season, Barry Trotz gave his rookie line the ice. Like usual, the rookies raided the offensive zone. Michael Latta loosed a desperate shot, and Galiev corralled the rebound for his milestone marker.
The Washington Capitals didn’t win their final game of the regular season, but it’s already an afterthought. The Rangers got an early lead and didn’t let go. Doesn’t matter– we’re moving on– just as soon as we do this recap.
Kevin Hayes struck first, sinking a backhand scoop on Braden Holtby. Derick Brassard put the Caps in a two-goal hole on the power play, and then Dominic Moore’s Crosbyesque backhand goal made it three. Alex Ovechkin punched back with his 53rd, an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot.
Jesper Fast got an empty netter in the third, and then Stan Galiev recorded his first NHL goal in the final minute.
This is where the Isles play. That’s not where the Caps will play today and it’s not the place where the team they’re playing today plays, but it’s the place where the team they’re playing next week will play and how much they’ll play there depends on how the Caps play against the team they’re playing today. Please don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be dammit, this is the final #rego pregamer of the season. Don’t make a scene.
The New York Islanders. They’re not the team the Caps will play; they’re just the team the Caps will be thinking about as they play today. The Penguins’ loss last night (p.s. ha) means the Caps and Isles will certainly meet next week in the first round of the playoffs. The only question is how many games the Caps will have to play at Nassau. If the Capitals win today, it’ll be less. Errr… fewer. Dammit, final pregame of the season and I can’t remember which word to use.
Anyway, Caps and Rangers at home at noon thirty on CSN. Right in the middle of your beautiful Saturday when you’d otherwise be gardening.
On March 29, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The view from MSG’s bridge, from Caps Road Crew
Brutal weekend. Or at least it would have been without the best player in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin. The New York Rangers looked speedy and cohesive, whereas the Capitals looked discombobulated and panicky– but Alex Ovechkin grabbed this game by the horns and tamed it like a folk hero. Jason Chimera had a huge third period, and all of a sudden a nightmare weekend wasn’t so bad after all.
Alex Ovechkin started us off just four minutes in, carrying the puck into the Rangers zone and using the D as a screen to beat Cam Talbot. The next two goals belonged to New York: the first Kevin Hayes’ solo effort after John Carlson’s woeful turnover, the second Derek Brassard’s rush goal after Niskanen’s bad pinch.
Ovechkin struck again in the second period, using Joel Ward as a screen to knot the game heading into the final period.
Jason Chimera scored twice (I know, right?!) in the third period– both times by crashing the net and both times with the help of Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr. Marcus Johansson got the empty netter as soon as Cam Talbot left the crease.
I’ve got mixed feelings about yesterday’s loss to the Nashville Predators. The first period was genuinely awful, and the game was filled with all sorts of narrative wretchedness concerning former teams and abandoned prospects, but the Caps put up an honest comeback effort, and Troy Brouwer’s contributions shouldn’t be dismissed.
That said, it’s all in the past now. Barry Trotz made some noise about having no short-term memory in this final stretch. I see the virtue in that. As the Caps prepare to take on the Rangers, I hope they can leave their behinds in the past.
It’s “Rivalry Night”, kiddos, and there’s nearly no better rivalry in the NHL right now than the Capitals and the Rangers.
Last time around– can you believe we’ve only played them once this season? — didn’t go so hot. We were fumbling and they were ascending. Things have turned around a bit, but tonight’s match is really just the beginning of the end of regular season play. We’ve only got three chances to nail these guys, and chance one starts tonight.
Both teams are coming off wins, but very different ones at that. The Sabres’ face-plant against the Caps was hardly a meaningful test, unlike Tuesday’s Rangers’ win over the Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders. Add in the Pens, and you’ve got a fairly tight bunch at the top between those four teams.
Every Rangers post must include a shot of Lundqvist. It’s the law.
We’re both playing well, although the Caps have been getting a might sloppy of late, and both squads are in relatively decent condition, considering how deep we are into the season. On the Rangers side, handsome ol’ Henrik Lundqvist is still out, healing his pretty, pretty face, but so, too, might be Mike Green and Brooks Orpik, who are two D-men we do not want to lose.
Less meaningful, but more irritating, will be the likely flood of Rags fans who will pollute Verizon tonight. Some things are simply, self-evidently, inescapable. Death and taxes. Daylight Savings Time is stupid. And right up there, Rangers fans are just awful.
We reached out to the decidedly non-awful Neill Fowler — writer, owner, operator and bottle-washer at New York Rangers Blog — for some insight about the Rangers, and the second of what we expect will be several more meetings before this whole thing is through. He was good enough to share his thoughts after a tense, but ultimately successful, evening for the Rangers last night.
The Rangers come to town fresh off a 2-1 win over the Islanders last night. The Rangers are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They currently sit second in the Metro, one point behind the Islanders and seven points ahead of the fourth place Caps. If the Caps hope to go far this Spring, they’ll likely have to go through the Blueshirts. Expect a playoff-like atmosphere at Verizon Center tonight.
On December 23, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Alex Trautwig
On Tuesday night, some of the Washington Capitals must have put on their kerchiefs and others their caps to settle in for a long winter’s nap. That would have been fine, but there was an NHL game scheduled against Metropolitan rivals, the New York Rangers. The Caps were not good for forty minutes and desperate for the remainder.
Rick Nash got a goal on the rush in the first period, and Martin St. Louis made it 2-0 with a wide-open, wide-angle shot on a second-period power play. Rick Nash scored a back-breaker in the third period, but Kuznetsov tied a rope around the Caps and hung them from a prison ceiling and then they were fine in time for the final act. Alex Ovechkin put an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot in the net to make it a one-goal game with less than ten minutes remaining.
Dumb penalties from Backstrom and Chimera neutered the Caps’ comeback attempt. Martin St. Louis converted a late-game power-play for the Rags. Sad trombone.
On December 23, 2014, In Pregame, By Peter Hassett
Chag Sameach, homies. We’ve got one more game before everyone shuts down for holiday silliness. Problem is– this game’s against the big bad New York Rangers. The Caps and the Rangers are pretty much in the same spot in the standings, so this game will factor big when it comes to sorting the Metro teams.
Join us, won’t you, on CSN for a 7 PM bout at Madison Square Garden. Bring the figgy pudding and adult egg nog. We won’t go until we get some. We won’t go until we get some. We won’t go until we get some. So score us some goals.