The Rangers couldn’t salvage the split in Washington, and are now heading home to New York down 2-0 in the first round. Mike Green’s overtime winner wasn’t a backbreaker for the series, but the Caps have all of the momentum on top of dominating the Rangers for a second straight game. This game wouldn’t have even gone to overtime if Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t phenomenal. This was the game he could have stolen for them, but the Rangers couldn’t finish.
Caps 1, Rangers 0
After a two-minute shift by Ryan McDonagh, the young defenseman made a very careless mistake and flipped the puck into the stands, an “automatic” delay of game. With the Caps on the powerplay, they set up in their 1-3-1 with Green, Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Mike Ribiero, and Marcus Johansson and did what they did at an almost 27% clip during the regular season.
Once the Caps set up (picture above), you can see Ribiero at the top of the circle, and Green at the point. The Rangers lined up in a diamond, which is standard practice to defend the 1-3-1. Green got the puck to Ribiero, who held the puck for a second or two, then wound up for a shot.
As he was holding and winding up, he drew Anton Stralman (who was a shade too high) and Ryan Callahan to him. When he drew Cally, it opened a passing lane and a wide open shooting lane for Green (second picture).
Derek Stepan noticed Cally moving towards Ribiero, and moved up high to get in the shooting lane. But unfortunately, he didn’t get all of the shot. He deflected the puck just enough to beat Hank glove side, ring off the post, and go to the back of the net.
Since there was only one goal, here are a few random thoughts from the game:
- The officiating is horrible all around. I understand there are missed calls on both sides, that’s unavoidable and generally even out. However, that non-call on the Karl Alzner delay of game is inexcusable. It’s in the rule book, you have to call it. It’s akin to the Brett Hull goal, albeit on a much smaller scale.
- The Rangers need to start executing on the powerplay. They didn’t score on their big chance in overtime when the refs actually decided to call the delay of game penalty. It wound up costing them.
- Sticking with the overtime, once the Rangers were done not scoring on the powerplay, they got pinned in their zone for a good couple of minutes. This was done without Ovechkin on the ice, but with Girardi and McDonagh on the ice. Torts took Girardi off at the next whistle, but left McDonagh on. It was McDonagh who shot the puck over the glass.
- This was a second straight game where the Rangers were dominated by the Caps. This time around, it was just an all around offensive assault by the Caps. If not for Hank, this game could have been 11-0.
- Braden Holtby is a solid goaltender, but the Rangers are making him look like Patrick Roy out there. The kid is technically sound and will be a good goalie, but he’s young and his mind fails him at times. They aren’t making him work, which makes his life a lot easier.
The Rangers needed a split, but now they head to MSG down 2-0. They aren’t done yet, but they need to hold serve on home ice. In order to do that, they need to stay out of the box, and capitalize on their chances. In a short series like this, execution is the only thing that matters. If they can’t execute, they won’t win, no matter how much better Hank is than Holtby.