Capitals-Rangers Game 3 Recap

Last post, I said that it’s important that Washington wins at least one of these first two games at Madison Square Garden.  If we let the Rangers extend this series to beyond six games then we’re in trouble and it’s hard to think that they would lose both games at MSG. I sort of saw today’s game as a “must-win” for the Caps seeing how I’d rather just get the one road win out of the way now and be one win away from victory but it looks like that we will have to do that on Wednesday.

The Caps certainly didn’t have their best effort in either game 1 or 2 and it was the same case for game 3 only this time the Rangers took advantage of it. The Rangers out-hit, out-shot and generally outplayed the Caps in just about every phase of the game. It probably doesn’t help that the Caps took eight penalties and gave the Rangers seven powerplay opportunities. It’s hard to win when you’re constantly a man down and it’s especially hard to create scoring chances, hence why NYR had 10 more shots than us. It’s not a convincing effort from Washington but I hope they can come out on Wednesday more motivated and more disciplined to get ready to take a 3-1 series lead. We really need to if we want to have a chance.

Notes/Observations:

– Yes, Washington has a very good penalty kill but they will get burned eventually when they take seven penalties in the same contest. They only gave up one goal today but the penalties were a big reason the Caps couldn’t gain any momentum in this game. Most of the penalties were very stupid but there were a couple “ticky tacky” calls like Bruce said. The Caps actually held the Rangers to 7 scoring chances at even strength, meaning they did their job. It was killing off seven powerplay that doomed them.

– We saw some rookie mistakes from John Carlson and Karl Alzner today. Carlson had a couple of stupid penalties and made a bad play on Vinny Prospal’s goal. They were also the worst defense pairing territorially and were on ice for a few chances. Assuming it’s because they had a good amount of ice time on the PK.

– Of course, neither of these two had as much PK time as Scott Hannan who did well for the most part but he got caught flat-footed on Dubinsky’s game-winning goal.

– Neuvirth was great today, I thought. He cheated a little bit on Erik Christensen’s goal..which was one hell of a shot and he did give up a bad rebounds on Prospal’s goal but he was still solid. He was especially good on the first couple of penalty kills.

– I heard people say the first period of this game was boring. If you hate physical hockey, I guess you could say it was boring but I loved it. Lots of big hits and physical play but not too many scoring chances. Also, we need our fourth line to be more like the Prust-Boyle-Avery line was the for the Rangers today.

– The phrase “Crash the net, score goals” remains true. It was how both of our goals were scored today. Mike Knuble is perfect for scoring those kinds of goals and Ovie is learning nicely, too.

– New York’s learning from their mistakes in the first two games. The Caps were creating chances from turnovers and stretch passes. New York responded by back-checking well and not allowing the Caps to score on their 0dd-man rushes. Tortorella’s a good coach so something like this should have been expected.

– Lundqvist played well but I think more credit should go to the defense in front of him. They didn’t allow the Caps to get too many good chances in front of the net and all of the Caps shots came from way out and Lundqvist saw all of them and snagged them right out of the air. More traffic in front please.

– Chimera only had 9:50 of ice time tonight. Odd after a strong game 2 on Friday.

– Mike Green and Jeff Schultz were reunited and neither had a negative corsi rating. Go figure.

– Alexander Semin was given a ton of offensive zone starts today and had 6 shots on net, some were some very good scoring chances. Hopefully one of them finds the back of the net soon. Sounds a lot like last year, don’t it?

– Despite having 7 penalty kills and being down for a good portion of the game, we had no players with ridiculous shift lengths. Good.

I’d like to think that this game would serve as a wake up call to the Caps going into Wednesday because getting a win at MSG is important if they want to avoid another first round exit. I think they can win with a more disciplined effort but it would also help if we got to the front of the net more often to create chances. That didn’t happen too much today.

Three Stars

1. Brandon Dubinsky

2. Henrik Lundqvist

3. Alex Ovechkin

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