Andre Burakovsky scored twice, and it was all the Washington Capitals needed to put the President’s Trophy winning New York Rangers on the brink of elimination. For the second straight game, the Rangers were the better team, dominating the Caps all over the ice. But for the second straight game, Braden Holtby pulled a rabbit out of his hat, and stole a game for the Caps.
Henrik Lundqvist did everything humanly possible to give the Rangers a win, but he has to be perfect in order for this club to win. Neither of the goals from Burakovsky were on him, but since the Rangers can’t buy a goal with all of King Midas’ gold (or silver), the Caps came away with the win. It’s maddening to watch a goalie like Lundqvist, who has a .940 SV% these playoffs, go down 3-1 in a series because his team has scored four goals in five goals in four games, with three coming in Game Two. You can’t win if you can’t score.
On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Caps 0
The Caps get caught here with four guys looking offense, despite the fact that Rick Nash has the puck. Nash flips the puck out, and Martin St. Louis and Derick Brassard have an instant 2-on-1. This is the result, as St. Louis gets the puck to Brass, who roofs it over Holtby.
You can see that the Caps recovered nicely on this goal, but St. Louis and Brassard are too skilled.
Caps 1, Rangers 1
This one was tough. The TV analysts said that Derek Stepan was taken down by Troy Brouwer, which game Andre Burakovsky all that room after taking the puck from Chris Kreider. I believe it was just two guys that ran into each other, and Stepan fell. Either way, Kreider turned the puck over, and Burakovsky had all day.
Caps 2, Rangers 1
Ryan McDonagh coughs up the puck to Brouwer at the red line, and the puck is taken by Burakovsky who gets a breakaway. Burakovsky beats Lundqvist high over the glove on a nice move.
I’ve been very hard on Dan Girardi this year, and this is why. Here’s the Lundqvist save on Burakovsky in the second period:
Here’s the screencap of where Girardi is, during his snow angel:
This is what I mean by the snow angel is death. Look at the position of Girardi compared to Burakovsky. Unless the pass is terrible, there’s no way Girardi blocks that. He’s better off on his feet, sticking his man. He took himself right out of the play and Lundqvist had to make a great save.
I mentioned above that the Rangers played their game last night, and we saw a lot of chances off the rush. The problem is that Holtby was up to the task. They forced a ton of turnovers that generated chances like Nash’s shorthanded chance, the Carl Hagelin breakaway/penalty shot, and a bunch of other plays not GIF-worthy. The Rangers were the better team for a second straight game, and they couldn’t solve Holtby. It’s maddening, but it’s poetic justice for the last two series when the Caps were the better team and the Rangers won.
Funny how possession works. The Rangers were a mediocre –at best– possession team in the regular season, won the President’s Trophy. They’ve dominated possession this series, and are down 3-1. Sigh. Possession is a great predictor of future success, but I’d rather be lucky in the playoffs.
That’s a huge scoring chance differential for the Rangers.
See above, more domination for the Rangers.
Great defense by the Rangers, limiting the Caps to the outside on most of their chances while getting most of their chances from high risk areas. Just can’t buy a goal.
Alain Vigneault did another good job of ensuring Ovechkin wasn’t out against Boyle/Yandle. But I have a serious problem with rolling the fourth line with five minutes left in a must win while down a goal, as he did with Miller/Sheppard/Glass. You need a goal. You don’t roll the fourth line. I also have an issue with Kevin Hayes on the bench for St. Louis for the final faceoff.
This is maddening, watching Holtby steal a series. Perhaps it’s poetic justice, as the Caps were the better team the last two times these clubs met in the playoffs, and the Rangers won both series. The Rangers have been the better team this series, and just can’t buy a goal.