Sunday, April 26, 2009

History Repeats

Capitals 5, Rangers 3
Scoresheet - Times - Post

The Washington Capitals have tied up the series with the New York Rangers with a 5-3 win at MSG. The Caps force a game seven for a second straight year. They came out with the same kind of intensity as in Game 5 and it is the defensive core that breaks through in Game 6.

Milan Jurcina got the first goal as the Caps score off of a Ranger give away just inside their zone. The Rangers were able to tie it up on a ensuing power play and Mike Green answered with his first goal in the series on the power play to pull the Caps into the lead again. Tom Poti finished off a beautiful 3 on 1 and the Caps' defense scored the first three goals of the game.

Viktor Kozlov added a great goal that he worked through two other Ranger players then rushed the net and put the puck perfectly up over Henrik Lundqvist for his second goal of the series. Alex Ovechkin finished up the scoring for the Caps as he deflected in a Poti shot to make it 5-1. The Rangers were able to score a couple down the stretch, but by then it was far too late.

Poti played the best game as a Capital ever. Not only was he playing well defensively, he connected three assists to finish with a 4 point night. Poti made a great defensive play on the last Ranger 5 on 3 has he dove to take the puck off the Ranger stick. The move also looked to hurt him a little as he winced in pain after the play. He received the game's first star.

While the Caps looked to be in total domination for most of the game, they did lose their focus late. They took a couple of bad penalties that lead to two 5 on 3 chances for the Rangers. It was a beautiful beginning, but a messy end. The Caps have to finish games off much better than this.

The Caps were called for called for eleven minors in Game 6. They had been averaging about 5 minors in their last four games. They must stay focused and stay disciplined. Other than those problems, it was hard to find fault in the Capitals during this game.

Lundqvist looks human suddenly. If Lundqvist struggles Tuesday night, than the Rangers are in trouble. His counterpart, Simeon Varlamov has continued to play well, making the save when his team needed it. That has been the difference right now between these two teams, goaltenders going in different directions.

Sean Avery returned to the Ranger lineup only to be a non factor. While Avery was trying to play the good son, other Rangers tried to play it tough for the home faithful. Bradon Dubinsky threw his weight around and Ryan Callahan took a couple shots at Ovi.

The biggest hit came in the first period when Donald Brashear made a heavy hit against Blair Betts. The hit I am sure will go to the league for review as the hit was a tad bit high. Betts didn't return to the game and Brashear was only penalized for roughing after the play.

The Caps force a Game 7. They did the exact same thing last year against the Flyers only to lose at home in overtime. The Caps look to play on their experience to pull them through another Game 7. It is a brand new series for the Capitals and Rangers. And if it comes to only one game, I favor the Capitals over the Rangers.

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