Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bye-Bye Home Ice Advantage

Capitals 0, Rangers 1
Scoresheet - Post - Times

The Capitals found a horrible time to struggle to find their scoring. Out shooting the New York Rangers 35-24 and playing another dominate first period, the Caps could not solve Henrik Lundqvist and the Ranger defense. The Caps lose both home games and limp to New York down 2 games to none with a Ranger 1-0 win.

Simeon Varlamov was the surprise starter in net for the Caps. The Rookie goaltender played well but Lundqvist played better. He was the only bright spot for the Capitals in this afternoon tilt. He stopped 23 shots including a few close in encounters with Sean Avery.

Unlike in Game 1, the Capitals seemed to come out flat. More afraid of making mistakes on the defensive end than pushing the Rangers in their zone, their lackluster performance turned to frustration as the game wore on. the Capitals took 5 penalties including a rare roughing call against Alex Semin late in the game.

The Rangers' forwards did a fantastic job of getting into those Capitals' shooting lanes on the point and the Caps had a hard time getting pucks to the net. The Rangers did not need a lot of scoring, they just had to frustrate the Caps enought and Lundqvist did the rest, stopping all 35 shots his way.

Alex Ovechkin had a prime scoring chance in front of the net late, wide open he shot it high right over the shoulder of Lundqvist and over the net. The Caps had some other prime opportunites that were either stifled by the Ranger defense, or the passes were not crisp or off mark.

Ovi finished with six shots on net and five give-aways, not his best performance. Mike Green was no better with seven give-aways.

Instead of tying up the series at home, the Capitals now fall behind two games. They lacked a certain punch late in the game when the Rangers seemed to be getting in tacky little punches and some face washes. The Capitals missed thier bruiser Donald Brashear who was available for the game, but sat out. There just needed to be a fight or something to build on in this game. Instead the Capitals just kept getting caught head long into the Rangers' D.

There is just no excuse for the scoring though, the Caps have struggled at times to play through their wins, but scoring has never been the issue. If they do not start getting pucks in the net, it will be a very short playoff season.

Good news for the Capitals, they have been a better road team of late. They have simplified their game when in the opposing arena and that might help the Caps come back. They have made a mountian of a mole hill for not taking advantage of their standings.

They also have to start getting pressure on Ranger goaltender Lundqvist. He just looks to comfortable there. He is not scrambling for position or making quick descisions. He has had the time to see every shot. There has to be more spark from this now frustrated team.

The Caps will stay in town for a practice on Sunday before heading to the Big Apple for Game 3.

No comments: