Sunday, February 17, 2013

Caps Outworked At MSG

Capitals 1, Rangers 2
Game Summary - Event Summary

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
John Carlson scored just 1:19 into the game against the New York Rangers. It would be the only highlight of the Washington Capitals as the Rangers out worked the visiting team at MSG. Outside of a brilliant goaltending by Braden Holtby, the Caps struggled with the Rags' aggressive style and their winning streak comes to a dead stop as they lose 2-1.

Being "Hockey Day in America", NBC Sports Network highlighted John Carlson's time playing for Team USA at World Juniors in 2010 where he scored the gold medal winning overtime goal. Carlson didn't disappoint when the Caps came out on a tear to open the game to a Ranger team that seemed to be running around. The puck came around to Carlson who blasted it top left corner over Henrik Lundqvist blocker side. It was a good start for the Caps.

But after a few penalties in the first, a "too many men" penalty and a couple of boarding calls, all the momentum the Capitals had built up in the first few minutes of the game disappeared. The Rangers perhaps were a bit stand-offish of the Caps new system, not sure what to expect from their playoff rivals from a season ago. Once they settled into their game, the Rangers gave the Capitals bad fits in the defensive zone.

Mike Green was a scratch with a lower body injury and was listed day to day. The Caps certainly missed his ability to leave the zone and set up the forwards through the neutral zone. The Caps did have some shots on the power play, but it lacked a good quaterback on the back end where Green was before his injury. Carlson filled the role, and didn't do poorly. But he made some poor decisions with the puck.

The story of the night was the game's third star Braden Holtby. He faced down all twenty shots in the first period and made 38 saves on the night. He stone cold robbed Marion Gaborik, Rick Nash close in on several occasions. He was the only reason the Rangers didn't put up a 5 or 6 spot on the scoreboard. He was in the zone, reading the plays coming across the zone and had a little luck along the way. The two goals that beat him was a redirected point shot and a power play tic-tac-toe play that gave him no chance to make the save.

Bottom line for tonight, the Capitals just got out worked and out hustled at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers were aggressive on the puck and forced the Caps to make quick decisions that they were not prepared to make. Mark it down as another growing pain in learning a new system by the Caps. Lucky for them, they come home for a three game home stretch.

Caps Notes:
  • The Capitals were solidly out hit against the Rangers 34 to 22. The physical play was something the Caps had difficulty dealing with, but something they will need address going forward.
  • After going on a five game win streak, then being blanked against Tampa, Mike Ribeiro had an assist tonight against the Rangers. 
  • Eric Fehr also recorded an assist on Carlson's goal, giving him a four game point streak with (3g, 3a during that stretch).

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