Capitals-Rangers instant analysis

Capitals-Rangers instant analysis
March 24, 2013, 10:15 pm
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NEW YORK – Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 shootout win over the New York Rangers Sunday night at Madison Square Garden:

How it happened: Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the shootout to give the Caps their first win by shootout this season. They became the last NHL team to have a game decided by a shootout.

What it means: The Caps moved into 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings with 31 points, two behind the eighth-place Rangers.

Shootout sequence:

Rick Nash poke-checked by Braden Holtby.

Matt Hendricks stopped by Henrik Lundqvist.

Ryan Callahan misses the net.

Alex Ovechkin fakes and scores under Lundqvist.

Derek Stepan: fakes and is stopped by Holtby.

Mike Ribeiro stopped by Lundqvist.

Brad Richards wrists a shot that misses the net.

Nicklas Backstrom snaps a shot from four feet past Lundqvist.

Before the shootout: The Caps skated out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin and had the MSG fans booing their Blueshirts. But an Arron Asham snap shot into the top right corner ignited the Rangers bench and the crowd. Asham was playing his first game after missing the previous 15 with a back injury and his goal was followed by a power-play goal by Derek Stepan on a pass through the crease that caromed off Braden Holtby’s paddle and between his pads.

Near misses: Marian Gaborik was stopped by Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist early in overtime.  

Ovi rolling: Alex Ovechkin’s first period redirection of Steve Oleksy’s point shot gave him his team-high 16th goal of the season and his sixth goal in five games. If this was an 82-game season he’d be on pace for 41 goals and 77 points.

Upper body injury: Eric Fehr left the game with an upper body injury and will be evaluated on Monday.

Upper body goal: Nicklas Backstrom scored a goal with the left side of his chest when Ovechkin’s shot fluttered off the front of Backstrom’s jersey and behind Henrik Lundqvist.

Power outage: A key point in the game came early in the second period when the Caps were awarded a 5-on-3 power-play for 1:42. They managed just one shot as the Rangers trio of Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan blocked nearly every passing lane.

What’s next: The Capitals are scheduled to practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at 11 a.m. on Monday. They’ll face the New York Islanders, who beat the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Sunday, at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.

Line tweaking: Right wing Joel Ward was dropped to a fourth line with Matt Henricks and Jay Beagle. Eric Fehr replaced him on a third line with Mathieu Perreault and Jason Chimera.

Defense pairings: Adam Oates switched up his defense pairs, uniting Karl Alzner with Mike Green; Jack Hillen with John Carlson; and Dmitry Orlov with Steve Oleksy.