Thursday, May 02, 2013

PK And Holtby Shine In Game One

Capitals 3, Rangers 1 
Scoresheet - Event Summary

Washington leads series 1-0

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
The Washington Capitals exploded for a three goal second period and Braden Holtby made a magical save in the third to help the home team take game one over the New York Rangers. It had looked like the Broadway Blueshirts were going to rope-a-dope the Caps as they practiced bending but not breaking through the first 16:00 minutes of the game at Verizon Center. The Caps would open up the scoring spurred on by their league leading power play in the second period to take game one 3-1.

Alex Ovechkin scored his first of the playoffs on a power play in the second period. Marcus Johansson scored his first off of a beauty of a pass by Steve Oleksy to break out the speedy forward. And Jason Chimera netted the insurance goal under a minute later for his 34th birthday.

The Capitals had an ideal start, getting an early power play in the first minute of the game when the Rangers were whistled for too many men on the ice. While the Caps did not convert, their aggressive forecheck kept New York on their heels as the Caps rolled out a 10-0 shot advantage through the first ten minutes of play.

But a late goal in the first by the Rangers' Carl Hagelin settled the onslaught and put the Capitals down by one goal. It had looked as if the away team weathered the storm and took advantage of a miscue by the Capitals to take the early advantage.

That is when the league's best power play reared it's head six minutes into the second period. Arron Asham was called for an "Illegal check to the head" and on the ensuing power play, the Caps worked the puck around to Mike Green. Green shot it wide, whether on purpose to avoid the sliding blocker or just missed the net, the puck bounced back to the front where a charging Ovechkin back handed it past Henrick Lunqvist.

The Capitals would run into some penalty trouble after that. Martin Erat took a boarding call when he slammed Mats Zuccarello into the dashers from behind. A short time later, Eric Fehr took an interference call on the PK when the Rangers stormed the net. The Rangers, however, where not able to convert on the 5 on 3 power play. 

Nearly seven and a half minutes after Ovi's power play goal, Oleksy would make a phenomenal pass to a streaking Johansson behind the Ranger defense. MoJo scored just under Lundqvist's glove and above the leg pad to give the Capitals their first lead of the night, and ended up being the game winner.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Chimera's goal came just :46 seconds later, when the birthday boy turned and shot it past Lundqvist who was being screened by Matthieu Perreault.

Holtby was spectacular. Making a plethora of glove saves look routine, the Caps goaltender saved his best save for late in the third period. It was a sharp angle shot that looked as if it went off his shoulder and in. But looking at the replay, the puck is never seen crossing the line. Holtby claimed the puck went into his blocker and that he had the puck in his hand the whole time. It was a magic trick best seen on the stage from David Copperfield, literally the puck disappears after hitting the post. Video was inconclusive, no goal.

The Capitals' penalty kill was sparkling tonight, killing off all four man advantages. That included a 1:26 Ranger 5 on 3. While New York went 0-4, the Capitals were 1-5 with seven shots on net.

Caps take game one and retain the home ice advantage until the two teams are under way Saturday afternoon on the NBC network.

Caps Notes:
  • Oleksy took a shot off a shot deflected off his own stick that hit him in the chin/jaw. The big defenseman shook it off, played the rest of the game, with out stitches. It will be a big bruise though.
  • Eric Fehr had a spectacular game, even though he didn't score. Drew a few penalties and played tough defense on his own end. 
  • John Tortorella's press conference was less than a minute long.

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