Saturday, April 28, 2012

Caps Drop Game One

Capitals 1, Rangers 3 New York leads series 1-0
Game Summary - Event Summary

The New York Rangers took the Washington Capitals defensive system and threw it back in their face. Braden Holtby suddenly looked human has he was lit up for three goals on 14 shots, Alex Ovechkin hit more Ranger forwards than the net and Rangers got scoring from some unlikely sources. The Rangers had more jump in their step and they used it on a seemingly tired Capital squad to take the series lead with a 3-1 win at MSG.

Jason Chimera scored the only Caps' goal to tie it with mere seconds left on the clock in the second period. Brooks Laich took the puck in the neutral zone, checked the time and found a breaking Chimera with a beautiful saucer pass that beat Rangers goaltender Henrik Lunqvist five hole. It would be the only mistake the Rangers would make on the defensive end that would cost them.

The Rangers got two easy goals as Holtby seem to get rattled by the Rangers in the third period. There were some defensive lapses by the Capitals that left Rangers open for shots and they capitalized on their opportunities. One was a shot near the top of the circle that beat the young Cap netminder on the glove side. The other was a walk out in front by Ranger sniper Brad Richards and he found the smallest opening to score while Holtby was holding the post.

The glaring problem for the Capitals was their once again struggling power play. The Caps were 0 for 4 with the man advantage with penalties coming in the first and second periods against the Rangers. But the Ranger penalty kill frustrated the Capitals really only giving them much room to get shots in on Lundqvist. When they did get the puck in, the Ranger goaltender was there for the save or the goal post did the work for him.

The Caps penalty kill did okay, killing off all four of the Ranger power plays. But it was the five on five lapses that really cost the Capitals. It was not a great game for Mike Green. He was out muscled behind the net by Artem Anisimov who made a power move to the front of the net and forced the puck past Holtby. Green also had a mental lapse when he nonchalantly skated to his bench for a change, but the play turned on him and he had to catch up with a breaking Chris Kreider. Kreider would beat Holtby with the eventual game winner, and Green ends the day with the only Capital a -2.

The bottom line is this is game one in a long series. The Capitals have the time to make the adjustments. Mostly the Capitals have to return to their patient game and stay solid on the defensive end. Far too often the Caps got caught pushing the play too much which lead to Ranger chances the other way. New York would also drop a fourth man down, trying to create a 4 on 3 rush against the Caps. It looked like the Caps could exploit that.

Caps Notes:
  • Laich picked up his fourth assist of the post season. 
  • The Rangers have won five game 1s in the past eight playoff series. They have gone on to a record of 31-11 when winning the home opener.
  • Rangers out hit the Capitals 35-28, even in blocked shots 15-15, but beat the Caps in the faceoff circle 52% (26-24).

No comments: