The Capitals knew if they could grab some momentum and put in a few goals, it would be very difficult for an offensively challenged Rangers team to come back in such a hostile environment and that’s exactly what they did during a one minute and fifty-second second span in the second period and now leading 2-0 in the best of seven series with all the momentum as they head to New York.
For the second straight game both goalies had shutouts in the first, but the Rangers came out desperate and outshot the Caps 13-7 in the period. Michal Neuvirth continued his stellar play making great save after great save, but the Capitals let a couple of opportunities slip by them once again. Matt Hendricks had a great centering pass that Boyd Gordon couldn’t handle and Mike Knuble and Brooks Laich teamed up on a shorthanded 2 on 1 that Knuble missed wide on an open net.
In the second period though it was a different story. Just a little over two minutes into the period Brooks Laich fought for a puck behind Lundqvist, found Marcus Johansson who then found Jason Chimera for a point blank shot right in front of Lundqvist to give the Caps the 1-0 lead. For Chimera that was his first goal of the postseason and his second overall postseason goal. The Rangers started to panic and a Ryan McDonagh roughing call just 48 seconds later led the Caps to their second goal of the game when Jason Arnott put in a Mike Green rebound on the power play to give the Caps a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t surrender. After the game Rangers coach John Tortorella said that quick burst did them in, but other than that he thought they played well.
In the third period the Rangers came out very desperate, but to no avail and the Caps held home ice advantage and take a 2-0 lead as they head for a short turnaround up in New York. The Rangers have been down 2-0 in a series 20 previous times and have only come back once to win the series. Even though the Rangers thought they played a better game tonight, Rangers Captain Chris Drury said after the game,
“No moral victories in the playoffs. You got to find ways to win. We regroup and get one big win in our belly, things have a way of shifting.”
The Capitals weren’t happy with their third period effort, even though they were only out shot 6-3 in the period, the Rangers had all the momentum in it. Bruce Boudreau wasn’t happy with the effort in the period and Jason Arnott wasn’t either,
“I think we were a little lackadaisical in the third. We were panicking a little bit. That’s normal with young guys but we have to do a better job if we’re getting the lead going into the third. We have to keep forechecking, keep shooting pucks. They took it to us in the third. Out of all the positives, you have to look at the negatives.”
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist knows they can’t get behind in New York and win,
“It’s a tough game when you get behind – especially the way they’re playing right now. They’re very tight in their own end. It’s tough for us to get the big chances. We have to keep going. We’re going home now. A lot can change. It starts with one win. That’s going to be our focus. I think we played pretty well. We just had a six-seven minute stretch where we struggled in the second and they really took advantage of it.”
Scott Hannan led the Caps with 21:34 of ice time. Jason Chimera led the Caps with five shots on goal and Karl Alzner had three blocked shots coming off his eight blocked shot performance Wednesday. Michal Neuvirth got his second career playoff win and first ever playoff shutout stopping all 22 shots, plus he got the hard had to boot. The Caps head to New York and play the Rangers at 3pm on Sunday in a game that with a win could effectively put a strangle hold on the series.
Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Michal Neuvirth, Jason Chimera, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson, Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm and Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella had to say following the game.
2nd 2:11 Chimera (1), Johansson (1), Laich (1)
2nd 4:08 PP Arnott (1), Green (2), Ovechkin (1)
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Michal Neuvirth and Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Mike Green Postgame Audio
Jason Arnott Postgame Audio
Jason Chimera Postgame Audio
Marcus Johansson Postgame Audio
Marco Sturm Postgame Audio
Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella
Sky Kerstein is 106.7 The FAN’s Capitals Beat Reporter and co-host of “Morning Skate” every Sunday from 9am-10am on 106.7 The FAN. Also you can find video recaps of every Caps game and post-game interviews on www.1067thefandc.com. You can get in touch with Sky on Facebook or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/SkyKerstein.