The Capitals lost the first game of the series last night in a very back-and-forth game that gave one goalie a deserved victory and left the other on thin ice. The game was entertaining from start to finish. The Caps simply dominated the hitting, and had the puck in the Rangers’ end practically the whole game.
Both teams started the game off a little nervous, but the physical play was evident. Alex Ovechkin was all over the ice hitting Marc Staal, putting the puck to the net, and causing havoc for the Rangers’ defense. He had 13 shots the entire game, and 2 assists but no goals for Washington’s superstar. The Caps outshot the Rangers 14-4, but both teams went to the locker room without a goal.
The second period saw a lot more controlled plays as the teams were able to regroup from an adrenaline pumping first period. Tomas Fleischmann got the scoring started with a tip on the powerplay from an Ovechkin shot from the point. Scott Gomez answered right back after skating by a tripped up Mike Green–cough cough Sean Avery–and burying the puck past Theodore. Theo felt he could have challenged the play a little better.
“I don’t want to get into technical part, but just being able to challenge more,” he said to the Post. “I like to be able to come out of my crease a little more and challenge the shooter. Yesterday, I thought I was a little passive and wasn’t challenging like I can.”
Nik Antropov and Marcus Naslund followed up with two powerplay goals towards the end of the second. It looked like the Caps would head into the third period down two goals. But then Nicklas Backstrom broke down the boards and threw the puck across the crease for Viktor Kozlov to tip it past Henrik. The score was 3-2 after the second.
Alexander Semin tied the game up with a rebound goal on the powerplay t0 even the score up at three. The Caps controlled most of the period once again outshooting New York 12-6. The puck was in the Caps offensive zone for most of the period but the Rangers were relying on fast break opportunities, which they capitalized on the whole game.
Brandon Dubinsky shot down the left wing, entered the Caps zone, and ripped a shot past Theodore. This is one of those instances I think Theo wishes he challenged a little bit more. The goal ended up being the game-winner as the Caps couldn’t return the favor.
Theodore has taken the blame for the loss, but I don’t see any drastic changes in the near future. He believes it’s a little too early to be making rash decisions. Tarik El-Bashir of the Post asked Theo about Boudreau’s decision to possibly make a goalie change.
“It’s the first game, so I don’t really know what you’re referring to,” he said, growing a little testy with the line of questioning. “It’s 1-0 in the series. I’ve been down 3-1 in a series and came back and won. So I think you’re jumping the gun a little bit.”
Boudreau isn’t releasing his decision to the media or the goalies for that matter. But Jose has taken the first step to recovery, and that’s to admit you have a problem. He has been in this situation before and will hope to bounce back on Saturday if Boudreau lets him.
Alex Ovechkin had 2 assists, 13 shots and 6 hits
Mike Green played over 30 minutes of gametime and registered 2 assists as well
Scott Gomez had a goal and 2 assists all in the second period to give him the league-lead in playoff points
The Caps went 2-7 on the powerplay but the Rangers were able to capitalize on the powerplay twice in 4 opportunities
Washington outshot the rangers 35-21
* Alex Ovechkin *
** Scott Gomez **
*** Brandon Dubinsky ***