Luckily, for Caps fans, Alex Ovechkin brought his sniper stick today.
In his first shift after the Verizon Center crowd erupted in their “Ovi! Ovi!” chant at the 8-minute mark, Ovechkin capitalized on a brutal Chris Kreider turnover in the Rangers’ zone. As Kreider attempted a no-look pass to the center of the ice (a no-no in every professional hockey league except for the KHL) the puck went right to Ovechkin instead, who one-timed the puck past Henrik Lundqvist’s glove.
16 years ago when I was in middle school, I suffered through the second longest Capitals game in franchise history. The Caps were playing the Penguins in the 1996 playoffs and boy did I hate the Pens. Of course, you know the story. Petr Nedved ended the game in quadruple overtime with a harmless wrist shot from the sideboards past Olie Kolzig. The game ended around 2 AM and I cried all night. The next day, depressed and without any sleep, I failed both an English and a math quiz.
Well, apparently I’m not the only one that overtime playoff hockey does this to.
On Wednesday night, Hockey Night in Canada showed a montage at the end of the game showing Caps General Manger George McPhee freaking out during sudden death overtime. The normally poker-faced McPhee looks like the most uncomfortable man in the arena, standing up, sitting down, twisting and turning with the action as if he could steer the players. As the CBC announcer so beautifully states: “The pressure on McPhee: you can just see it in his face.”
Check out the video below the jump. Trust us, it’s worth a look.
The Washington Capitals returned home with hopes of gaining a series lead over the New York Rangers. Fans got involved with some rousing “O! V!” cheers, the Caps got their offense moving, and the ice was as soupy as you’d expect in the D.C. spring. But this game was unlike any others. It was a thing of History. Capitals history. And you can probably guess from that alone how it turned out.
After a scoreless first, Ryan Callahan converted a power play by tapping in a puck served up for him after bouncing off of Matt Hendricks. John Carlson tied it up with a dangle-icious wrister that went top shelf.
The third period was tense, but offered no resolution to the game. And so we went to overtime.
Alex Ovechkin rang the post on a huge breakaway– leading to some goal lights and a bit of premature celebration, but it was waved off. And thus we needed double secret overtime.
Brian Boyle blocked Mike Rupp’s sure-thing game-winner, and thus we needed triple overtime.
In trip OT, Jeff Schultz made the block of his life using his pants. Yeah, his pants. That’s how weird stuff got.
But then Marian Gaborik coordinated with Brad Richards to finally end it with some behind-the-goal-line action.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.