Photo credit: Chris Gordon

You watched games one and two. You know New York Rangers fans taunted Alex Ovechkin. You know Ovi had some trouble hearing them after scoring the game-winning goal on Monday.

Here’s how it works: The Madison Square Garden crowd counts down to the 8-minute mark of each period and then chants “Ovi Sucks!” Here’s it in action:

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

This year has been something of a breakout for Jason Chimera, with the speedy winger hitting a career-high 20 goals and becoming a key piece of the Capitals’ depth. You didn’t have to tell Henrik Lundqvist he could score — Chimera now has goals in three consecutive postseason games against the Rangers, going back to the last game of the Caps/Rangers series in 2011, and has become something of a personal nightmare for the All-Star goalie.

You can’t expect the goals to come easy against a netminder of that caliber though, and Chimera’s tally in the Caps’ 3-2 win on Monday was anything but. Following a crazypants individual effort from Matt Hendricks and an equally crazy almost-save from Lundqvist, Chimera finished off the team’s efforts to tap the goal in. We take a closer look below.

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Photo via @ngreenberg

When the Caps met the Rangers in the playoffs last year, the fans got into the action. At Game Four, Madison Square Garden chanted “Can You Hear Us?” At Game Five, Verizon Center responded with “We Are Louder.” This year, the Rangers faithful have come up with a somewhat more sophisticated chant, and they seem quite pleased with themselves: they count down the seconds to the 8:00 mark and then shout Ovi Sucks in unison.

They appear to have picked this up from their first round opponents, the Ottawa Senators, who had been in the habit of counting down to 11:00 to support their captain Daniel Alfredsson — so really, it’s not just a highly complicated chant, it’s also a highly complicated knockoff. We’re almost insulted.

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RESULTS: Caps beat Rangers 3-2

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Game One of the conference semifinals was a bore. Also: a loss. But the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers brought a lot more oomph to Game Two. It was a hard-hitting, higher shooting, kind-of-awesome affair. And despite any controversies we may drudge up here or complaints we may file, the only thing that matters right now are results.

At 12:20 of the 2nd game of the 2nd series, player number 22 crashed the net. Yep, Mike Knuble got the game’s first goal capping off some good movement from Joel Ward and Keith Aucoin. Then… well it’s hard to explain, but we’ll try: the puck rolled over Carlson’s stick, setting up Kreider for a breakaway that Holtby defused. Beagle moved the puck up to Chimera, who dumped it to Matt Hendricks, who scored a no-look goal*. (Phew!)

Brad Richards scored a 4-on-4 goal as neither Brouwer or Wideman could catch him in transition, and the second period went scoreless.

The Rangers tied it up with a powerplay goal off Carlson’s back halfway through the third period. Carlson reversed that by drawing an interference penalty from Richards, which Alex Ovechkin instantly transmogrified into the game-winning goal. Caps beat Rags 3-2.

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There was a point during the Capitals’ 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers when it seemed like victory was within reach. That moment came at the close of the second period.

Brooks Laich skated the puck into the Rangers’ zone with ten seconds left to go. He had a decision to make. Leading a 3-on-2 break in the closing seconds, he could have either pulled up and shot the puck from the perimeter, hoping for Jason Chimera to convert the rebound, or he could send a lateral pass over to the Capitals leading scorer, Alex Ovechkin, and see what magic he could make.

Instead, Laich opted for option C: a high-risk, high-reward hailmary saucer pass to Jason Chimera that would have to travel over two defenders’ sticks and somehow find the tape of his stick.

He chose C, and he made it work. Let’s review.

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Holtby Humbled: Rangers beat Caps 3-1

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The New York Rangers got the breaks they needed to beat the Washington Capitals in Game One. It seems like nothing went right for the Caps.

The first period was scoreless despite the Rangers dominating early and the Caps buzzing late. A little past halfway in, Artem Anisimov converted a wraparound after Mike Green failed to contain him.  Jason Chimera tipped in a saucer pass from Brooks like before the second period’s final buzzer. Chris Kreider’s slapshot restored the Rangers’ lead as Mike Green signaled for a line change. Brad Richards piled on with a net-crasher. Rangers beat Caps 3-1.

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When the Capitals drew the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs, we were a bit relieved that we wouldn’t have to deal with a player like Brad Marchand diving all over the ice this series.

Perhaps we spoke too soon. 3:50 into the first period, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan cross-checked Alex Semin as he went to the bench for a change. Semin responded appropriately by giving him a whack to the calf, which must be why Callahan dropped to the ice like he was shot. Video of the play is below the jump.

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The Washington Capitals have pulled the New York Rangers for their opponent in the second round of the playoffs (check the schedule here). This will be the sixth time in history that the Caps and Rangers will square off in a best-of-seven series. But unlike recent years, the Rangers are no underdogs. They finished in first place in the Eastern Conference, just barely missing the President’s Trophy after a loss to some no-name team in the final game of the regular season. Meanwhile the Caps are the scrappy team that no one expected to slay the dragon in round one. It’s going to be a big series between two old Patrick Division rivals.

In preparation, we peaked back at last year’s quarterfinal series between the Caps and Rangers in hopes that it might give us a glimpse at the future. No matter their predictive value, these five games were a freaking blast. Join me for some good memories behind the jump.

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Here’s Your Schedule for Capitals-Rangers ECSF

Straight from the horse’s mouth!

SATURDAY, APRIL 28		3:00 P.M.	AT NY RANGERS	NBC, CBC
MONDAY, APRIL 30		7:30 P.M.	AT NY RANGERS	NBCSN, CBC
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2		7:30 P.M.	AT WASHINGTON	NBCSN, CBC
SATURDAY, MAY 5			12:30 P.M.	AT WASHINGTON	NBC, CBC
MONDAY, MAY 7			7:30 P.M.	AT NY RANGERS	NBCSN, CBC
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9		TBD		AT WASHINGTON	TBD, CBC
SATURDAY, MAY 12		TBD		AT NY RANGERS	TBD, CBC

 

What do you guys think? Where are our confidence levels?

Know Your Enemy: New York Rangers


Photo credit: Len Redkoles

The Washington Capitals took their future into their own hands with a big overtime win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. As John Walton said, “the king is dead, and the Caps are still dancing.” The Caps have waited until now to find out who their round two dancing partner would be while a couple Games Sevens shook out. But now we know who will join the Caps in the conference semifinals.

The Washington Capitals will face the New York Rangers in the second round. This is fine with us: we’re in a mood right now and there’s nobody the Caps cannot beat. Still, of all our team’s potential dancing partners, the Rangers are the ones who usually step on our toes. Follow us past the jump to have your memory refreshed on exactly who these guys are, and what they’ve been up to since we saw them last.

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