Well another game in the books in this series, and another thriller. It wasn’t triple overtime, but this game had everything. The Rangers dominated from start to finish, but found themselves down 2-1 with less than ten seconds left in the game. Then the magic happened. Brad Richards scored on a powerplay. Marc Staal scored on the same extended powerplay. The Rangers prevented Braden Holtby from stealing the game, courtesy of Joel Ward.
The Rangers got this started with a dump in and some great board work. The puck wound up on Staal’s stick, who moved the puck to Anton Stralman. Stralman had some room to work with, so he took the puck in, and moved around one Cap player –I think it was Matt Hendricks– before firing a bad angle shot on net. The shot went through Dennis Wideman’s legs, who appeared to screen Braden Holtby, and then through Holtby’s legs. This was a bad goal by Holtby, and one he wishes he had back.
1-1 Caps tie it up
This goal was just some bad luck and some lack of keeping your head on a swivel. After a face off was controlled by the Caps, Alex Ovechkin threw the puck toward the middle. It bounced awkwardly off Brian Boyle’s stick and right to Brooks Laich. Artem Anisimov did not realize Laich was behind him in the slot, and got caught watching the puck. His dive was futile, and Laich buried it. Of course, Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t see it and guessed wrong as well. That always helps.
2-1 Caps powerplay gives them a lead
The play began with Ryan Callahan breaking his stick. This essentially makes it a 5 on 3 advantage for the Caps. After some good puck movement and board work by the Caps, John Carlson winds up with the puck. Naturally, Carlson is Cally’s man, and he uses the opportunity to rip a shot. Hank may have been slightly screened by Dan Girardi, but the shot hits his glove and goes in. This is the second game in a row that has happened. It’s tough to blame him, but when it happens twice in a row…
2-2 Rangers tie it up dramatically
This goal was Chris Drury-esque. It was Zalari Zalapski-esque. It was the Rangers winning a face off with a 6-4 advantage –following a double minor on Joel Ward for high sticking Carl Hagelin– with Hank pulled. Michael Del Zotto, who had a rough game, gets a shot on net low and hard. That is textbook hockey. Cally goes for the rebound but can’t stuff it in. Holtby is caught out challenging the rebound, as he should be. This goal shows how hockey is a game of fractions of seconds. Richards got his rebound shot off a split second before Holtby covers the puck, and gets it through Carlson’s left arm a split second before he closes it. Banks off the post and in. Bedlam ensues.
3-2 Rangers win in overtime
For about four months we had all been questioning why John Mitchell was on the powerplay. Today we know why. Mitchell won a face off to Staal, who walked the puck to the middle for better angle and ripped another low and hard shot. This time around, the shot was tipped by Laich. Thanks to some timely screens by Anisimov and Derek Stepan, the puck found its way to the back of the net. Lost from this is the fact that on the face off Staal was on the right side. Staal, a left handed shot, usually plays on the left side. He and Stralman switched sides for the draw. It made all the difference.
This has been one fantastic series. Game Six is Wednesday. The Rangers have a chance to close it out.