Penalties the difference as Rangers down Caps

Penalties the difference as Rangers down Caps
April 18, 2011, 1:36 am
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Sunday, April 17, 2011, 9:18 p.m.By Ryan OHalloranStaff WriterCSNwashington.com

NEW YORK Only the Pittsburgh Penguins had a better penalty killing unit than the Capitals during the regular season. Washington was successful 85.6 percent of the time when down at least a skater.

And it was terrific in Sundays 3-2 loss to the Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Problem is, the Capitals spent far too much time killing penalties, taxing several players and not allowing the offense to get any rhythm.

When you take lots of penalties, the game doesnt break on your side, captain Alex Ovechkin said. A lot of guys dont get their minutes and theyre not in the game.

The Capitals took seven straight minors at one point and New York was able to score on one of those power plays.

What all of the short-handed time meant were limited roles for several players. Matt Bradley, Jason Chimera and Matt Hendricks all played fewer than 10 minutes and Jason Arnott was limited to less than 15 minutes.

And it also translated to tough short-handed minutes for Boyd Gordon (4:48), Brooks Laich (5:37) and Scott Hannan (5:55). That trio killed a 1:26 two-man advantage without a stoppage.

They only scored one power play goal but you dont always see a direct result or effect from that, Hendricks said. The guys who are penalty killers are also some of our big-minute guys. They use a lot of energy on the penalty kill and I think it ends up affecting us later in the game.

Although frustrated with the amount of penalties, Hendricks did say: Obviously on a lot of them, we were guilty. We just have to watch our sticks. We just have to be more disciplined. Theyre calling it tighter now in the playoffs everybody has heard around the league.

Six of the Capitals eight total penalties were stick or clutching infractions.

Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed to the Rangers being antagonistic, to draw some penalties when in reality, only John Carlsons coincidental roughing penalty was of that nature.

You knew they were going to be antagonistic and we just have to learn to take it, Boudreau said. This is the time of year to take it. Game 10 of the year, you dont take it.

There was no reason Carlson should have gotten involved with Boyle but after the fourth punch to the head and third warning, he punched back.
Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com.