The Capitals dominated the Rangers for the entire first period and to no surprise the score was reflective of that. Washington’s first goal was one that should have been stopped by Henrik Lundqvist. I think it is the first time we have said that in this series.
Anyway, the Caps were doing a good job pressuring us in our zone prior to the goal. The puck kicked out along the walls to Chris Kreider. Kreider was facing the goal line and had two Capital players in front of him and one coming from behind. He had to get rid of the puck, but unfortunately he rushed a backhand pass diagonally right to Alex Ovechkin, who was up high in the zone just below the blueline. Ovie just rifled a shot in off of Hank’s glove.
I thought Hank had a good look at the shot. He wasn’t screened and the shot wasn’t tipped by Boyle, who went for the block. Still, it’s hard to hate on Hank, since he did rob Ovie on that deflection during their first power play and many more times throughout the game. Oh well.
1-1, Rangers even the score
The Rangers answered the call early in the second period thanks to our bread and butter, getting the puck deep and pressuring the zone. On the goal, Brian Boyle won a battle down low and passed the puck up to Girardi at the point. G sent one towards the net, but it was partially blocked by Brooks Laich. Laich couldn’t get to his own rebound, thanks to a quick steal by Anisimov in the slot. Arty simply out-waited Holtby and buried one. Nice goal by Arty. He’s played very well in this series.
2-1, Caps answer back
Well, he played well until this play. Arty went to the boards to lay a hit on Niklas Backstrom, who is 5 foot nothing. Backstrom braced for the hit, put Arty on his ass and then bee-lined towards the slot. He got a quick pass from Chimera and then sniped one over Lundqvist blocker side. The entire play unfolded thanks to broken coverage by the Rangers.
After Arty picked himself off the ice he went to the slot to cover Ward, who was open on the strongside post. Stralman wanted to take Ward, but Arty beat him there and Anton ended up caught in no man’s land. This left Backstrom completely undefended.
2-2, Rangers even the score again
Just when I thought I was done talking about Anisimov he beats Schultz and Wideman to what would have been an icing. Both d-men went towards Arty and he made them pay by feeding an undefended Gaborik in the slot. Gabby did what he does best and scored, beating Holtby through his five-hole.
The TV analysts blamed the officials for waiving off the icing, which caused Wideman to hesitate instead of going for the puck. Sure you can make that argument, but at the end of the day you’re coached to play through the whistle. He didn’t. Artie did. Boom.
3-2, Caps defeat Rangers
This goal was pretty ridiculous. Callahan has the puck on the PK and is about to break out, but he is tripped up by Laich. Cally loses the puck, Wideman collects and feeds Green at the point. The rest is history. The trip on Cally should have been a penalty, but that’s what happens when Watson refs in Washington. His nickname should be “no-call Watson.” If you don’t get that joke, go back and watch the series where Avery had a rule book written just for himself or any series we’ve played against the Penguins that he refereed.
Ovie’s hit on Girardi
Ovie left his skates and hit Girardi on his head. This is exactly what the league is trying to get rid of. With that said, don’t expect a suspension for two reasons. 1) Girardi wasn’t injured on the play. 2) Ovie is a Superstar. I don’t agree with these variables, but the league has made it clear this postseason if you’re super famous and you don’t decapitate someone, you’ll likely be left alone.