Capitals 1, Rangers 2
Scoresheet - Times - Post
Just when the Capitals think they have figured things out, they get caught in their own self confidence and nearly get shutout the very next game. The Rangers came out with a bit more vigor in Game 4 and the Caps were not able to keep everything at bay. Even with Alex Ovechkin scoring his first goal of the series, they are now on the brink of elimination losing to the Rangers 2-1.
Ovechkin scored his first goal of the series in the third period. It cut the Ranger lead in half, but in the end it just wasn't enough. The Rangers came out and scored goals in the first and second periods putting the Caps against a mountainous two goal lead. The Caps answered with a barrage of shots at Henrik Lundqvist, but the lead was just too much for them to overcome.
The Caps power play was a dud. No worst than a dud, nonexistent. It was predictable and slow, the Rangers' defense picked off just about every cross ice pass. When the Caps needed it the most, the power play failed them. The Rangers gave them every opportunity to score but the Caps just could not convert.
Coming off of one of the team's best performances, the Capitals now face the threat of elimination and down once again 2 games. Coming home will not be as welcoming as if they could have pulled another win at MSG. And their play of late at Verizon Center has some concern that this will only be a five game series.
Simean Varlamov played another spectacular game. He couldn't do much about the first goal, which was deflected in off of John Erskine's stick. The second goal was his mistake after he couldn't glove down the point shot and Chris Drury (of all people) put away the sharp angle rebound to give the Rangers the 2-0 advantage.
Once the Rangers had the lead, it seemed no matter what the Capitals could do it was futile. Lundqvist seems to feed off of leads and he faced down a multitude of shots while the Rangers returned to their defensive ways and protected the lead. Clearly of the Capitals wish to beat the Rangers they will have to be the first to score.
The Caps can no longer be cavalier about being down two games. They have to be perfect from here on out and try to force a Game 7. A position they shouldn't be in if they had taken care of business at home. But for some unexplained reason, playing at home has been a travesty.
Alex Ovechkin just does not have the support he needs right now. Mike Green has been held from the scoresheet for the entire series. The Caps can't seem to get lines 2 and 3 on the scoresheet or to create some kind of pressure. Tomas Fleischmann, Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr, Sergei Fedorov and even Nick Backstrom have to starting scoring goals.
Credit the Rangers defense. It is a tough nut to crack. But it is doable. The Caps have to find ways to score. Their power play has to start producing or agitator Sean Avery will just do what ever he feels, getting under the skin of the Caps.
Fehr and Laich were both a minus two. Ovechkin fired eleven shots at Lundqvist, only one beat him. The Caps were dismal in the face off circle only winning 33% of the draws. The Rangers outhit the Caps 27 to 24 and they also had 16 blocked shots.
The Capitals have to now do the extraordinary to even make it past the first round. Or they will fail to meet their expectations and leave only questions as they drift off to the off season. There is nothing beyond Game 5 for the Capitals. They must win, and they must win now. Anything other will be a disappointment.