Caps overthrow the “King” in OT

Caps overthrow the “King” in OT
May 4, 2013, 4:30 pm

Eric Fehr: "You could tell they wanted to score"

The Capitals and Rangers played a thrilling seven-game series last year, filled with tight games, two of which went to overtime.  Last spring it was New York that celebrated wildly in both of those games after regulation.  On Saturday afternoon it was time for the Verizon Center faithful to head for the exits deliriously happy, as Mike Green provided another “Game Over” chapter to his memoirs in a 1-0 triumph.
 
The opening twenty minutes were evenly-played for the most part until a Ranger penalty put the Caps power-play unit on ice. 
 
New York had the first quality chance / near miss when Ranger defenseman Anton Stralman had Braden Holtby beat on the glove side but hit the post.
 
The Rangers seemed intent on getting their defensemen more involved in the offensive flow, as Holtby made a nice stop on Michael Del Zotto a minute after Stralman’s bid.
 
The Rangers had a power-play after Troy Brouwer committed an interference penalty on New York captain Ryan Callahan, after Callahan nailed Mike Green in front of the bench.
 
Both teams were doing a solid job defensively, the total shots on goal were low, tied at five apiece after 10 minutes.
 
It’s always fun to watch top talents match-up against each other.  Ranger defensemen Ryan McDonagh has been on the ice for almost every shift against Alex Ovechkin. McDonagh’s poke check on Ovechkin is as quick as a lizard’s tongue
 
John Tortorella elected to insert Derek Dorsett into the Ranger line-up today.  Dorsett is a stir-it-up kind of player and he over-did it when he took a high-stick penalty while scrapping with Steve Oleksy behing the Capitals goal.
 
Washington usually generates a great deal of offensive chances a man-up, so even when they don’t score with the man-advantage, the momentum tends to shift in their favor.
 
At the tail-end of the penalty to Dorsett, the man nicknamed “King Henrik” Lundquist made an awesome save on Mathieu Perreault.
 
No score after one period of play, with the Caps outshooting the Rangers 12-7 in the opening frame.
 
In the first two minutes of the second period, Ovechkin was on the ice without Ranger defenders Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, his usual shadows, and he had a great chance turned away by Lundquist.
 
Lundquist made two exceptional saves off a pair of his Swedish countrymen before the period was eight minutes old.  He managed to get a glove on a waist-high deflection from Nicklas Backstrom, then sprawled on his belly to beat Marcus Johansson who was set up perfectly by Ovechkin.
 
Both teams did a nice job of “fronting” the shooters from the perimeter, rarely did a player get an open look.  John Erskine had one from 35 feet that he blasted into the midsection of Lundquist near the 12 minute mark.
 
Holtby and Lundquist were both in a good groove today, as outside shots stuck to them.  Goalies at this level become very tough to beat when their rebound control is this sharp.
 
Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer were sent away on a two-on-one break after Martin Erat blocked a shot in the defensive zone.  Ribeiro tried to tuck his own shot over the blocking glove and shoulder of Lundquist, to no avail.
 
Holtby made a fine save on Brian Boyle with 2:15 to go in the second period.  Backhand shots are tough to read and the Caps keeper held strong.
 
Backstrom just missed converting a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with Ovechkin and Johansson with just under two minutes to play.
 
No score after two periods. Shots were 25-19 in favor of the Caps.
 
Washington made several sharp passing sequences today, with a couple of plays that resulted in “over-passing”.  Marcus Johansson made an extra pass early in the third period that nullified a scoring chance set up by an Ovechkin kick-play and a Backstrom backhand-saucer pass.
 
The Rangers bumped high-scoring winger Rick Nash to a line with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan during the second period.  That dangerous trio stayed together in the third.
 
Lundquist had an impressive day. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner made a spectacular stop near the 11-minute mark, robbing Jason Chimera from point-blank range.
 
A brilliant rush up the ice by Rick Nash ended up with him clanging one off the post with 3:44 to play in regulation. Nash was slashed by Troy Brouwer, so the Rangers had a golden chance late in the game.
 
The Caps penalty-killers put a wall in front of Holtby, and heard the sell-out crowd scream in support.
 
Washington defender Karl Alzner escaped unscathed late in regulation after he one-handed a puck over the glass in the defensive zone.  The Rangers believed it was a delay of game penalty, the officials did not. (The refs ruled that it was a deflection)  The delay of game drama would be a huge story a little bit later.
 
After 60 minutes, the score remained tied at 0-0.  Total shots though 60 minutes showed Washington in the lead, 30-24.
 
The Caps went shorthanded early in the extra session when Steve Oleksy was whistled for delay of game.  The Rangers did not muster a shot while enjoying the man advantage.
 
The Caps would get their own opportunity on the power play, compliments of a Ryan McDonagh delay of game call.
 
Washington out shot New York 8-0 in the overtime (in fact, New York went without a shot for the last nine minutes of regulation time as well) and provided the clincher with the man-up.
 
Mike Ribeiro drew sliding defenders toward himself with a big slap-shot fake, then drifted the puck to Mike Green who hammered a 35-footer past Lundquist on the glove side.
 
With the victory, the Caps take a 2-0 lead with them to New York in this best of seven-game set.  Game 3 from Madison Square Garden is a 7:30 p.m. start back on Comcast SportsNet.