NEW YORK (CBSDC) — The Washington Capitals limited the New York Rangers to 14 shots on goal, which on a normal night would be good. But, Saturday was anything but the norm as the Rangers put three by Braden Holtby, two in the third, to come away with a 3-1 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 1 win.
“We had our chances and we didn’t bury them,” Dale Hunter said following the loss. “We hit a few posts and their goalie was good and we lost the game.”
Chances like having a 5-on-3 for 34 seconds in the 2nd period and not scoring and then ending up 0-for-4 power play opportunities.
“We had our chances there,” Hunter said. “You shoot and Ovi had some, them one-timers are dangerous and the goalie stood tall.”
Holtby had the worst playoff game of his young career, stopping just 11 shots in the loss.
Artem Anisimov had a wrap around that snuck under Holtby’s glove for the first Rangers goal and during a span of 1:30 in the third the Rangers put two up to put the game away.
Chris Kreider, who was playing for Boston College less than a month ago, had a long slap shot on a defensive breakdown that beat Holtby glove side and then Brad Richards went hard to the net and snuck one by Holtby. All the goals Holtby could’ve had.
“It was good,” Hunter said on the goaltending today. “Holtsy [Holtby] gives us a chance to win, that’s all you ask from a goalie.”
But Holtby had a different opinion.
“I wasn’t real happy with it,” the rookie goaltender said. “It’s a tough game to stay into it with mentally wise. I didn’t do a good enough job tonight.”
GAME 1 PHOTO GALLERY: CAPS VS RANGERS
One reason Holtby said he struggled was because of the lack of shots he saw and it was tough for him to find his rhythm.
“I had a tough time getting into the game,” Holtby said. “Not because of the stakes, just because of how the game went . . . I didn’t bring my level up when I needed to and I’ll work on that for game two.”
Others need to bring their level up for the second skate as well. Mike Green was a -2 on the night was beaten by Anisimov on the first Rangers goal.
“Not very impressive our game,” Green said. “I think that we knew they were going to come hard but we need to push back, especially in this building, and we gave them too much respect.”
Jason Chimera had the lone Caps goal thanks to a nice pass by Brooks Laich with just 3.5 seconds left in the 2nd, but that was the only high point of the Caps game.
“When you score a goal late in the second period you should have momentum on your side,” Chimera said. “I think they regrouped pretty good and a few mistakes end up in our net. We need to be better right from our best players down. We need to be better. I think we didn’t bring the level up enough for the second round of the playoffs, for sure.”
The Caps had only 18 shots on goal and Saturday marked the first time they trailed by two goals this postseason. Against the Boston Bruins, the Caps trailed by a total of 24:23 for the entire series.
On Saturday Washington trailed for 20:18.
The Caps will have to play a much more complete game with less turnovers and more traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist to have any shot to steal game two at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Roman Hamrlik, Braden Holtby & Mike Green had to say following the loss.
2nd 19:56 Chimera (2), Laich (4)
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Roman Hamrlik Postgame Audio
Braden Holtby Postgame Audio
Mike Green Postgame Audio