Saturday, May 11, 2013

Caps Take Rangers To Brink

Capitals 2, Rangers 1 OT
Scoresheet - Event Summary

Washington leads series 3-2

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
Mike Ribeiro has had a pretty quiet series thus far. A few assists, some solid play on the power play. But tonight, Ribeiro goes from a dull quietness to amp up the volume in Chinatown as he slipped a deflected shot past Henrik Lundqvist in overtime as the Capitals take Rangers to the brink of elimination with a 2-1 win. The Caps now go up 3 games to 2.

The Rangers did get off to a quick start, scoring the first goal of the game just :58 seconds into the first period. Derek Brassard shuffled the puck from behind the net past Steve Oleksy to an open Brian Boyle in front of the net. Just like that, the Rangers had a one goal lead. After that, the Rangers really clogged up the neutral zone and Ranger net minder Lundqvist did the rest.

It would take a bone head play by Boyle in the second period who took a retaliatory slash to Ribeiro's legs in front of the Ranger net. Literally eleven seconds later Joel Ward buried a Marcus Johansson pass to tie the game at one.

The Capitals' special teams continues to impress in the post season. They tied the game on the power play and was 1 for 2 on the night as the Rangers tried to stay out of the penalty box. Their penalty kill was a perfect 4 for 4 including when the Capitals took two straight penalties when Jack Hillen was tapped for body slamming a Ranger, then John Carlson batted the puck over the glass for a delay of game "puck over glass" penalty.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
The Caps killed both to survive the second, and then dominated the third period. Out shooting the Rangers 13-4 in the final period, Washington was unable to solve Lundqvist. The game would be decided in overtime.

Unlike the previous three periods, the overtime frame would be froth with chances for both teams. The play opened up as both teams tried to take each other to the brink of elimination. The firehouse hockey would give Mathieu Perreault a golden opportunity but Lundqvist came up with the outstretched leg pad save.

A few minutes after that the Capitals finally found some offensive pressure as the puck made it way around to Karl Alzner who sent a snapper on net. The puck hit Troy Brouwer in front of the net and trickled to Ribeiro who got position on his defender John Moore. And just like that, the Caps win game five in dramatic fashion and regains the series lead as it heads back to New York for an afternoon game at MSG.

This would be Ribeiro's first game winning play off goal, overtime or otherwise. It capped off a great effort by the Caps to keep the Rangers from scoring again after their early tally in the first. The Rangers pressured but Braden Holtby held it out even with long stretches of not seeing much rubber come his way in the third period. He would make some solid saves in the over time period included a chance by Rick Nash in close on a wrap around shot.

Capitals have a chance to end the Rangers' season on Mother's Day.

Caps Notes:
  • Per Caps PR: Tom Wilson made his NHL debut tonight, becoming just the fourth Capitals player to make his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The first three were Chris Felix (4/10/1988), Grant Jennings (4/26/1988) and Trent Whitfield (4/17/2000). Wilson became the first Caps teenager to make his NHL debut in the playoffs, becoming the fifth teenager to suit up for the Capitals in a playoff game (Bob Carpenter, Scott Stevens, Kevin Hatcher, Yvon Corriveau – according to ELIAS). He skated 6:24 and registered one shot and four hits.
  • Ribeiro was solid in the faceoff circle, winning 70% of his draws and nearly perfect on defensive zone draws. 
  • Joel Ward and Mike Ribeiro both scored their first goals of the series. Ward his 11th career playoff tally, Ribeiro his sixth career playoff goal.
  • Matt Hendricks led Caps in blocked shots with seven.

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