Ovi: What frustration? We didn't lose the series
Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers Sunday at Madison Square Garden:
How it happened: A deflection goal by Derick Brassard 9:39 into the second period stood up as the game-winner thanks to a 23-save shutout performance by Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped three glorious scoring opportunities by Alex Ovechkin.
What it means: The Caps will return to Verizon Center for a winner-advances-to-the-secnd-round Game 7 Monday night at 7 p.m. Each team has won its three home games in the series. The Capitals are 3-8 all-time in Game 7s and 2-4 during the Alex Ovechkin era.
What’s next: After the game both teams are catching flights back to D.C., where they’ll butt helmets again at 8 p.m. Monday night at Verizon Center.
Goal by goal: Rangers 1, Capitals 0: On a controlled forecheck, Rangers rookie defenseman worked the puck back to Derick Brassard, who faked a shot then, at the urging of 17,200 fans, shot through a crowd. The puck deflected off the left arm or glove of Caps defenseman and past Braden Holtby.
Hit of the night for the Rangers: Michael Del Zotto crushed Mathieu Perreault with a hard, clean check to the chest/chin in the first period, but after taking a shift off to shake off the cobwebs Perreault returned.
Hit of the night for the Caps: Alex Ovechkin’s two-hand shove sent Dan Girardi hard into the boards early in the third period. Girardi took some time getting off the ice and took a temporary seat on the Rangers bench.
Back to old D pairings: After switching things up in Game 5 at the advice of assistant coach Calle Johansson, the Caps returned to their normal defense pairings of Karl Alzner with Mike Green, John Erskine with John Carlson, and Jack Hillen with Steve Oleksy.
Killer penalties: The Caps took three penalties in the first period but killed off all three. Two of them were completely unnecessary. Jack Hillen retaliated against Ryan Callahan for a roughing penalty at the 10:01 mark and Eric Fehr took an ill-advised elbowing penalty on Derick Brassard with 2:44 remaining. Karl Alzner also took a dreaded delay of game penalty. With the three kills the Rangers fell to 2-for-24 for the series. Joel Ward was also vcalled for a questionable cross-checking penalty on Derek Dorsett in the third period but another strong kill left the Rangers 2-for-25 in the series.
Did you notice: Caps rookie Tom Wilson checked Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh so hard in the first period his own skate blade came off and he had to practically crawl back to the Caps’ bench. When he got there his teammates reeled him in.