Simeon Varlamov got his 3rd win of the playoffs in a hard hitting affair last night at MSG. Blair Betts, a critical penalty killer and overall player for the Rangers, left the game half way through the first period after taking a late hit from Donald Brashear. More on that later from Parks…
The defenseman for the Caps stepped up last night in a huge way. Bruce Boudreau seems to have figured out how to beat these Rangers. Milan Jurcina started off the scoring after ripping a wrister past Henrik Lundqvist’s short-side glove. Scott Gomez answered back with a powerplay goal less than a minute later.
Mike Green finally found the back of the net on the powerplay after ripping a similar shot to Jurcina. You could see the look in his eyes after his goal, and it seems like a huge burden has been lifted off Green’s shoulders. Tom Poti finished off the scoring with a goal to end the period at 3-1. He then assisted on two other goals in the 2nd to demoralize the Rangers. It seemed like they had given up to the more powerful Capitals squad.
The second period it seemed like there was only one team on the ice, the Caps. After falling to a 5-1 deficit late in the 2nd period, andeven before the two goals in the second by Viktor Kozlov and Alex Ovechkin, the Rangers just simply gave up–without their head coach John Tortorella.
I don’t care what the score is, this is a playoff game and you never give up but thankfully for the Caps that was the attitude from the opposing bench. The game was still tied 1-1 when Brashear hit Betts, and it seemed to be the turning point of the game.
The Caps went 2-2 on the powerplay with goals from Green and Ovechkin–sounds like something I’d say during the regular season. Both goals were of huge importance. Green’s goal broke the tie at 1-1 and started an onslaught on Lundqvist. Ovechkin’s goal came at the end of the 2nd to increase the Caps’ lead to 5-1 and sent Lundqvist packing.
On the other hand the Rangers went 2-8 on their powerplay. It was the first game in the series they scored a powerplay goal since Game 1. Look for special teams to play a huge role in Game 7 now that both teams are highly familiar with the other.
Ending the Game
The 3rd period was a little different than the rest of the game as the Caps only recorded two shots on net. The Rangers had 11 outshooting the Caps for the second time in the game. They also had two goals to bring the score to a more reasonable appearance. Not a good way for the Caps to end the game–let’s hope it doesn’t role over into Game 7 on Tuesday at Verizon.
* Tom Poti *
** Simeon Varlamov **
*** Alex Ovechkin ***