Henrik Lundqvist continued his stellar play saturday stopping all 35 shots thrown his direction. He was not without help, as the New York Rangers also blocked 29 shots in the process. The biggest surprise for the Capitals was Simeon Varlamov, the 20-year old rookie netminder, stepping onto the ice first at the beginning of the game. The fan reaction showed how most felt about the switch in goal as everyone cheered as if the Capitals had just won the game.
Varlamov played a solid game, making a few key saves to keep the Caps in it, but stopping 23 of 24 shots still wasn’t enough as Lundqvist showed the rookie what perfection was. Though some of the Capitals seemed to be skating hard, they were pressing way too much, taking ill advised shots, making arrant passes, and not using their heads.
Superstar Mike Green had an off day, getting caught out of position, throwing passes up the middle of the ice trying to force the play, and overall looked like the early start was hurting him.
The Capitals dominated the first and third periods, peppering Lundqvist with shots, but couldn’t seem to get enough traffic in front of him to make a difference. In the second period the Rangers played a very conservative shut down style of game which seemed to frustrate the Capitals, and created chances for the Rangers, but Varlamov was there at every turn keeping the score at 1-0.
He made a case to start for game 3, but for now that is only speculation. The Capitals need to find a way to get shots through while still getting traffic in front of Lundqvist or this series could be over before most people’s playoff beards are nothing more than a 5 o’clock shadow.
* Henrik Lundqvist *
** Ryan Callahan **
*** Marcus Naslund ***