A defensive lapse and a fluky bounce proved to be the difference in the Washington Capitals' 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. For a full box score, click here.
-- The talk leading into the game was about staying out of the box against a dangerous Capitals' power play. :34 seconds in and the Rangers take a mindless too many men penalty. Certainly got the message, didn't they?
-- 5 penalties is too many to take. Not just because of the opponent, but it disrupts the ability to get into a rhythm offensively. NYR never seized control of the game and were behind right from the get go.
-- I love Carl Hagelin and what he brings to the team, but a goal scorer he is not. He plays a top-six role but he's essentially a third-line winger. He got the best offensive chances and if the Rangers expect to win that can't happen because he shows more often than not the inability to finish.
-- The two biggest moments from the game: 1) Carl Hagelin's shorthanded breakaway in the 2nd period and 2) failing on the 5-on-3. Hagelin's may be more important because if converted NYR are up 2-0 and the Capitals are on their heels. But the focus is and will be on the power play (0-4) failing to come through when needed.
-- Rangers were 18-2-1 during the regular season when scoring the first goal. Now 0-1 in the playoffs.
-- Henrik Lundqvist was by no means bad tonight, but the last two goals he surrendered he'd love to have back. Johansson's shot he got a piece off but not enough and the third goal may have been deflected on a screen, too. But Hank was outdueled by the opposing goalie Braden Holtby—a sight rarely seen.
-- The D was sloppy tonight and I had a particular issue with Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi on the Caps' 2nd goal. Both let Johansson get behind the play without even looking back (both were focused squarely on the puck). That can't happen with your best defense pair out on the ice.
-- Not that it should be made into an excuse, but the officiating was atrocious for both sides tonight. An Asham charge? Questionable. And Ryan Callahan was absolutely jobbed for "roughing." Refs had a poor night to say the least. They tried calling the game "tight" in an effort to control the game and it backfired.
-- I hope Rick Nash got the message that Washington plans on playing him extremely physical to try and knock him of his game. Hopefully he makes the necessary adjustments. While not invisible (8 shots) Nash needs to be better.
-- Derick Brassard and John Moore had decent playoff debuts and Moore was specifically robbed of a goal. There was no conclusive evidence, but you know that puck was in the net.
-- The main thing to take away is a defensive breakdown and a fluky bounce aside, the Rangers had their chances and could've won the game with some better puck luck. Is this the best Washington has to offer? If so, New York can take this series. If not, the Rangers are going to have their hands full.
-- If the Rangers can get healthy soon e.g.. Ryane Clowe, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett and even Marc Staal, it could make a world of difference. The D could use Staal's positioning and calm play on the ice. Not to mention his ability to shut down Ovechkin. Dorsett's energy, Clowe's grittiness along with Boyle's big body and faceoff abilities are sorely missed. Otherwise the team is going to have to make due without the depth they covet.
-- Game 2 Saturday afternoon back in DC.
This playoff series will be won on Special Teams thus it is tailor made for Clowe and dare I say Boyle. I've been a big critic of Boyle this season but the Rangers could use him in this series both on the PP and PK. Clowe in front of the net on the first PP unit and Boyle in front of the net on the 2nd PP unit. Boyle would be an asset in the faceoff circle on specialty teams. Here's hoping that they get healthy quick: Clowe for Kreider, Boyle for Newbury and Dorsett for Pyatt.
Why is Nash always trying these bad angle shots or going for a wrap around with 3 guys in front of Holtby? Esp on the power play! Is this Torts idea? And what a shocker, no presence in front of the net. They are making Holtby look amazing by shooting at his chest with no traffic. They might as well yell at Holtby, "get ready, Im going to shoot now, here's my wind up, here it comes. Wow great save. You didn't have to move at all. Oh and that theatrical glove snatch when you caught a puck floating in front of your face, made you seem like such a bad ass." His best performance was stealing that goal from the Rangers that was on his back. Holtby did have a couple of key saves, but COME ON!
So I guess the Rangers aren't sweeping the Caps then. It wasn't the penalties that killed the Rangers, it was the missed shots on net, and Hank being human on the 2nd and 3rd goals. I bet the Rangers attempted at least twice as many shot as they were credited with. To paraphrase the Great One, you miss 100% of the shots you take that miss the net (well except that one Richards scored off the end boards). Gotta hit the net more. If they score on 10% of the shots they missed, they probably win the game last night.
For the most part I liked the way we played that game. If we keep it up and the King plays like the king we win the series. Bad breaks balance out in a 7 game series. Say what you want about Hags not finishing but he was our best player tonight and is developing into bonifide 2nd liner IMHO. He hit crossbar, made a decent move and got a good percentage shot off on the breakaway and got our only goal. Not sure what else you want from him. Horrible D breakdown on the breakaway goal against, and a bad read on the Ovi goal, but D looked solid for the most part. It was a good off the boards pass to Ovi and looked like a set play but those should never happen and I think a sharp Henry would have blocked the pass. All 3 caps goals were stoppable by "The King" standards in fact and we got a crossbar and a goal taken away. Keep up with the sharp passes and uptempo offense and we got this series.
Great point about Hagelin. I love the guy and think he brings a lot to the team, but he's got NO moves in close. His whole game is about speed, so I guess it's not surprising that he lacks the cold-blooded calm of a pure goal-scorer. You can't really fault him for shooting instead of putting on a move on the breakaway - at least he hit the net. But the lack of finish on the play where he hit the crossbar was painful. He had 5 different ways of dunking the punk on that play.
When the Yankees were winning in the 90's you always had the feeling that the game would turn their way. That they would get the bounce or the other team would mess up and they'd pounce on it. I don't get that feeling from the Rangers. When the Caps messed up lastnight the Rangers ended up with a big dump in their pants. http://youtu.be/vW4_DabdpnA
Put Step on the point on the power play....IT WORKED WHEN WE DID THAT. Also they need to hit the net and nash needs to be more physical. Shit game but they can turn it around I wasnt impressed by the caps
Horrible luck all game. bad calls, that 2 on 1 post, Moore's phantom goal, a few bad bounces, and a failed 5 on 3. I think the rangers were the better team in period 2 and 3. Gotta stay out of the box. The trend continues of average caps goalies standing on their heads and getting all the luck against us.
Once again Richards and Girardi have NO business manning the point on the power play!!!!! It didnt help that we couldn't win a powerplay faceoff all night. Hey Torts 7 minutes into the game you start shuffling lines? Have some confidence in this team. let them go out an play. I have never ever seen someone panic as quickly as him. This team has a lot of talent and is well balanced. Let the scorers go out and try and score, let the playmakers go out and try and make plays and PLEASE let the bangers go out and BANG!!!!!
Lets get the following individuals more time....Moore, Brassard and Stralman.
Lets get the following individuals less time.....RICHARDS and GIRARDI (especially PP time). Is it not ridiculous to see Girardi get over 5 minutes of pp time????
I loved how the MSG feed was like "uh well there's no conclusive evidence..." then they ZOOM IN ON THE PUCK as it lands on Holtby's back as he goes in to the net. Not much more needed. I'm still grumpy as hell, even if it's just one game.
We played downright bad. After caps scored, they took it all the way and all the way to theor third you could see they wanted it more. Lost most puck battles, missed easy passes, and yes! Couldnt hit the net
Hagelin is the last guy I would rip into. He should more energy on the ice than another else. Totally agree on the penalties and the missed opportunity on the 5-3. Does Zuccarella ever hit the net? Lundqvist's soft goals in the 2nd period really hurt.
Actually, they had a number of spurts where they looked good, but it doesn't mean much if you don't bury the puck. What I saw last night simply was a continuation of the regular season. Period. And the Washington team the Rangers beat earlier this year is not the team they are playing now. The Rangers need to step up NOW, or they will be eliminated in five. It's as simple as that. If you think otherwise, you are fooling yourself.
You people are freaking crazy they looked good. Conditioned and ready to play... It was one game. Calm down. They can still take the series...
Ron, "shot wide" was a catch phrase for this team all year. This team misses more opportunities than any other team I watch via my hockey package.
Hagelin!...Shot wide....Nash! Shot wide...
I think we're missing how incredibly inaccurate the Rangers were with their shots. I'd like to see the stat for how many shots they missed wide. Gotta hit the f'n net!! Holtby is mediocre at best and gives up huge rebounds. If the Rangers aren't hitting the net, they aren't going to score dirty goals in front off rebounds.
I also agree that the defense looked brutal tonight. How does Mac/G let Johannson slip by for the second goal?? Pathetic showing by your "top defensive pair." I forget who had the right lane by Hank on the first PP goal as well, but no one stopped him down the lane when he put that puck in off a rebound. Came right through.
On the bright side, this Caps team just isn't that good. We can match them physically and Hank plays a better game Saturday. Rangers in 6.
They looked like a team that was totally unprepared. Right from the beginning you could just tell the only way they were going to have a chance in this game was if they got a lucky goal or two on an awkward bounce or something and Lundqvist just had one of those dominant games where he wasn't going to be denied a win. Neither of those things happened, obviously. I lost track of how many shots this team took that missed the net.
Great write-up James. Everything the Rangers needed to do tonight they didn't. Win faceoff battle: nope. Win special teams battle: nope and stay out of the box: nope.
They need to put Richards on his off wing on the power play. Dudes got a deadly one timer and he can't use it when he plays the left point on the power play. On the power plays in the 2nd there were times where the puck needed to get on net quickly but Girardi was playing the right and Richards the left, NO ONE TIME OPTION AVAILABLE.
Another thing, Nash looked like he wanted to make a difference, but he needed to take it up one more level to become that dominant force that the Rangers need. He just seemed a step behind tonight.
Definitely liked Moore's game tonight. He and Eminger were very solid. Would love to see that pair get more ice time. Stralman (to use one of Torts sayings) STUNK. Can't really put it it any other way than he STUNK. He has to be better. The turnover on the 3rd goal was ATROCIOUS.
I know we'll be better in game 2.
I was disappointed with the loss but it's going to be a long series and the Rangers can't play any worse than they did tonight. On a different note if the Rangers ever want to get over the hump and jump from a good team to a great team they need a stud defenseman. If you look at the last 6 Stanley Cup winners they all have one thing in common and that's a great defenseman. The last 6 teams that have won have had Doughty, Chara, Keith, Letang, Lidstrom and Pronger on their teams. Those guys can shut down the other teams top guy and they all played the point on the power play for their respective teams. The main reason the Rangers power play is awful is because they don't have a player that can blast it from the point. I love Mcdonagh as much as anyone but he's not on their level and he doesn't contribute on the power play. Maybe Mcilrath can develop into that kind of player but they need to find that player somewhere. I know thats its very rare to find that type of player but Pronger and Chara have played for several teams and Lidstrom and Keith were drafted in the second round and Letang in the third so there are ways to acquire these kind of guys. I know I'm ranting and this has nothing to do with the game but I think the Rangers have to find a Norris winner defenseman to take that next step.
Sorry, last thing. I just saw this... http://www.msg.com/teams/rangers/games/game.2013050223.html
what does it take to get a media pass... these guys asking questions are awful and that one guy I don't think has watched a game of hockey in his life... move guys out of the front of the net... are you kidding me. And no one asks what happened on the too many men... Seriously NY media not living up to its reputation
One last thing the Rangers had a total of 43 shots that were either blocked or missed the net... that cant happen. Zuccs has to shoot on target as does Kreider
I said it on twitter and as you said above James, if Game 1 was the best the Caps had to offer, the Rangers should be ok. But they've got to stop shooting themselves in the foot. Yeah the officiating stunk, but those are adjustments you make in game. They played with fire one time too many and it cost them. Win Game 2 and NYR have home ice and we forget tonight.
So many issues tonight. But I am going to focus on the most important. The special teams both ways was atrocious. You can say the PK was solid, but 5 penalties are you kidding me? when the main thing going in was staying out of the box. You could argue Asham's, but Pyatt's elbow was one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. If they want to win this series that has to change.... Then lets go to the power play... It really was not the puck movement or even shots that pissed me off. It is the coaching.... When you have a great player you build your PP around them, like the Devils with Kovalchuk, Caps with Ovi, Lightning with Stammer.... If someone could tell me why the fuck on a 5 on 3 the two guys you want shooting the puck are Richards and Zuccs I would pay big money. There are 7.8 million reasons a year why Nash should be up there, and not down low forced to take shots from a terrible angle. I have said it all year but Sullivan needs to go, he is an awful PP guy and does not offer anything else (Where is Leetch).
Well, this was a huge disappointment, thought we played a lot better in the 2nd and 3rd but couldnt find the back of the net and a couple of breakdowns. Having said that a split in Washington is all you can ask for heading back to the Garden, but being down 0-2 would be catastrophic... they need to find a way to win saturday. Also, where was step tonight? besides the PK thought he was nonexistent... and how much does DZ suck?
and a side note: Zucc's size is more evident in playoff hockey and he needs to hit the net with his shots - but I still liked his play.
@rangersfan Puck looked like it flipped up on him when he hit the crossbar. Touch to control the shot when that happens. Holtby made a nice save on the breakaway, Hank missed basically the same shot on his breakaway.
@ChrisP I agree with you about Step. He and Calllahan are the two players on our team with the best instincts. They both need to be on the power play.
@KevinDeLury just ONE FUCKING GOAL ON THE PP EVERY NOW AND THEN. ITS NOT HARD. BUT NO.
@KevinDeLury they don't need to win the special teams battle.... just a push would be all they need.
@clarkeybabes Marc Staal if he can stay healthy for once
@clarkeybabes Letang wasn't that good back then
@Josh6 Add Richards to the list. He has this unbelievable ability to put shot directly into the shins of his opponent.
@gravey94 @rangersfan Like I said, I have no problem with the breakaway play, althougth I think a better goal scorer would have done more to test Holtby there, but I'm fine with it. The rolling puck thing - yes, but again, a better goal scorer puts that in the net. Holtby was going full speed across the crease. Hagelin could have cut to the middle and glided the puck into the net uncontested. I know it's a super fast game and he DID have a wide open net, so not really criticizing his choice to shoot there, anyone could have missed on that particular play. But I think the moderater's point (I emphasize - I think) was that Hagelin just isn't a pure goal scorer on the NHL level and that Hagelin is best suited for more of a 3rd line role and I agree with that. These TYPES of plays are reflective of his shortcomings as a goal scorer even though no one play / missed opportunity is conclusive evidence of that.
@GraigGiuliani @Josh6 Maybe thats because he sucks, and even with his recent play there is not one person in the world that watches hockey that could tell me he should be making 12 million dollars this year. He looks better but to be making the same amount as Crosby is more than a joke, it is almost Carl Pavano status
@rangersfan @gravey94 Agree, I don't think Hags will ever be a top goal scorer, but I could see him being a steady 20 goal 40-50 point player. You can't teach his speed, but you can teach him to shoot better and handle the puck better. He's got decent hands, just not elite. I see him as a 2nd liner.
@Josh6 @GraigGiuliani you cant get caught up with how much players make. It's not your money, not your decision, or our problem. You cant kill a guy for taking money being offered. It's ludicrous. If I offered you 10 mil to cook for me and you don't know how to cook that well, are you goin to say no thanks? It's not our money, we shouldn't use that as a way to gauge players. He has been playing well, that's what matters, not how much he makes.