Capitals 2, Rangers 0
It wasn't pretty, but the Washington Capitals get by on a 5 on 3 power play goal by Eric Fehr and a great passing play that ended with Eric Belanger getting his first goal as a Capital. The Rangers couldn't get anything going offensively giving Jose Theodore his first shutout of the year as the Caps down them 2-0.
The Caps really had a problem with the Rangers shot blocking. Instead, the Caps' shooters found themselves looking for the pass before the shot. It lead to a lot of broken plays. But the Rangers couldn't stay out of the penalty box and the Caps would score the game winner on a 5 on 3 power play. It was scored on the break late in the two man advantage. Tomas Fleischmann's pass to the slot was deflected off a Ranger stick, but it still found its way to Fehr's stick and he tapped it high over Auld's shoulder.
The second goal would be a complete break down by the Ranger defense. The Caps entered the zone with a cross ice pass by Brooks Laich to Alex Semin. Semin returned the pass inside the zone spreading the Ranger defense and allowing Belanger to get in behind them. Laich found him open in the slot and Belanger scored on Auld's five hole. The Ranger goaltender was unable to react fast enough to the play.
"It feels great to get it out of the way," Belanger said of scoring his first as a Capital and wearing the hard hat in the locker room. "[It takes] a lot of pressure off my shoulders and now I can just play."
While the win keeps the Capitals home win streak intact at 13 games, it's their top scorer's funk that has the rest of us worried. It is nice that Alex Ovechkin's lack of offensive hasn't hindered the Caps yet. But his scoring drought has given Sidney Crosby the scoring lead in the league.
It seems that both Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom have not gotten over their post Olympic hang over. Ovechkin would finish with seven shots and no points in this game. His partner Backstrom would not score a point and struggle in the face off circle winning only 8 of 20 draws.
"They are just off by a half a second," Bruce Boudreau said of his two star players. "Their timing since the Olympics has just been a little off. But you know they are going to catch on and it's going to happen sooner or later."
The Caps made plenty of mistakes. Shaone Morrisonn turned the puck over in the slot to Branden Dubinsky. Theodore was there with the save, sticking his blocker out after Dubinsky deked to the backhand. It seemed when the Caps turned it over, Theodore played well enough to make up for it. Since January 13, Theo has been better than just good enough, posting a 12-0-2 record, 2.38 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
"We played a solid game," Theodore said to reporters after the game. "During the break we were talking alot about solid defensive hockey and in the playoffs that is how you are going to win games."
"I though [Theodore] was great," Boudreau said. "I thought by far he was our best player."