Saturday, May 04, 2013

Mike "Game Over" Green

Capitals 1, Rangers 0 OT
Scoresheet - Event Summary

Washington leads series 2-0

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
The New York Rangers seemed content to sit back and take their chances against the more skilled Washington Capitals team, which worked for the first three periods. But in overtime, Ranger defenseman Ryan McDonagh was penalized for shooting the puck over the glass. It only took the Caps :51 seconds for Mike Green to shoot the overtime winning goal, the only goal of the game, and to put the Capitals up 2-0 in the series against the Rangers by a score of 1-0.

"I think both teams played very good hockey tonight," Caps' bench boss Adam Oates said. "Not a lot shots, 0-0, both goalies played good. Really good hockey."

Green's goal was the only power play tally for the Capitals who played a much more disciplined Ranger team in game two. They were only sent to the sin bin twice, once in the first minute when Derek Dorsett was whistled for a high stick with 4:02 left to play in the first period. With only two power play chances, the Capitals made good on the one in overtime.

Mike Ribeiro started the play on the near half boards with a great fake slapper that forced the Ranger defender to the ice early, he slipped it to the open Green who one timed it just 5 feet from the blue line.

"[Ribeiro] does such a great job drawing guys to him," Green recalled of the play. "Obviously they are on [Alex Ovechkin], so I just happened to be open and my goal was to get it by the first guy and try to hit the net.”

The shot nicked off of Derek Stepen, slipped passed a sprawling Henrik Lundqvist and hit the post and in. The Verizon Center faithful erupted, Mike Green's legend status grows.

It didn't even seem like the Caps were ever going back to the power play the way the Rangers were playing. Trying not to get caught with odd man rushes, the Broadway Blue Shirts sat back with three of them standing a post on their blue line for a lot of the game. They played the odds that the Capitals would turn over the puck with some timely forechecks and their transition game would do the rest.

"[The Rangers] had moments too during the game but I think we did a great job weathering that," Caps' defenseman Steve Oleksy said,  "I felt we controlled a lot of the game and we knew it was going to come down to one bounce either way and fortunately we got it."

It only ended up being a practice in close calls and near breaks for the Capitals, and low scoring chances for them on the otherside. It also propelled the game into overtime with out a single goal being scored.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
The Caps out shot the Rangers 38-24, and visiting goaltender produced one heck of a game against the Capitals. When the Rangers defenders did make a mistake, Lundqvist was there with the save. His rebound control, side to side movement and sniffing out the puck in traffic in front of him were on point. He has shown in game two why he is the best goaltender in the NHL.

"It’s a tough one," Ranger Rick Nash said of the loss after Lundqvist's performance. "[Lundqvist] was unbelievable, we have to get goals for him;  there are no excuses. We go home now and the next game is a huge game."

Braden Holtby was no slouch either this afternoon. Holtby may have had a rougher time handling the puck and faced less shots, but when the Caps needed a save, he was there. He got more comfortable as the game went on, and the most important aspect to his game was he never loss focus, even when his team would keep the Rangers pinned in their zone for long periods of time.

The Capitals' power play has been a key factor in this series. Now 2 for 7 in the series (1 for 2 this afternoon), they have changed the way the Rangers play them. In game one, there was far more physical play and aggressive fore checking by the visiting team. In game two that changed to a more conservative look, with the Rangers backing up and clogging the neutral zone and hoping to keep the score close and their transitional game could get a bounce or two.

While the PP is cooking away, the Cap's PK has also been up to the task. However, the Ranger's power play is not really worth writing home about. When the Caps have needed to kill a penalty, they have.  Rangers are now 0-7 on the power play.

There was some late game controversy when a puck was deflected out of play by Karl Alzner. The Rangers begged for a delay of game penalty. The ruling on the ice was that the puck was deflected off of a dump in shot by the Rangers. A penalty can not be assessed if the puck is deflected out of play. The Capitals would however, be called for the delay of game penalty just 1:51 in the overtime period when Oleksy dumped it over the glass.

Ovechkin did not score, but he was a factor in this game. In the second period, the winger had two beauty feeds. One to Nick Backstrom and the other to Marcus Johansson but neither could convert. Ovi's game seems to be heating up, and his play with out the puck has helped his game become that much better.

If the Rangers play the same style of defensive style hockey in game three, the Caps could adjust to that for better opportunities. At the moment, all it proves is John Tortorella does not trust his team to play an open ice game with the Capitals. See you in New York.

Caps Notes:
  • Eric Fehr had another very good game, especially in the overtime period on the penalty kill. He had a scoring chance on the shorthanded forecheck, nearly got the puck to the front of the net for a shot. Then he came back to full body block the point shot, landed on the puck and got a much needed whistle. Big.
  • Jason Chimera nearly had a chance to score in the third period when a charging Oleksy threw the puck on net from the corner. Lundqvist was there for the save.
  • John Carlson tied Alex Ovechkin in shots on net with seven. 
  • Oleksy lead the team in hits with 8.
  • Holtby gets his first career playoff shutout. 
  • Ranger's head coach John Tortorella's press conference lasted 1:36, 53 words.

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