It seems insignificant to write about hockey today of all days with the all the craziness in the world, but sometimes hockey and sports can provide some semblance of normalcy... unfortunately, the Caps couldn’t bring those good vibes, as they lost 4-1 to the Rangers. Despite the score, they actually played a decent game until the last 10 minutes before it fell apart.
Plus: The Capitals penalty kill came up big against one of the best power plays in the league. A good sign that hopefully they can build off of going forward as they have the 26th ranked PK.
Minus: The Capitals had a handful of grade-A scoring chances tonight that they just shot themselves in the foot with. They either tipped or shot it wide, or flubbed on it. And the ones they did get on net, Igor Shesterkin stopped them.
A few more notes on the game:
- There’s a worry about coming off break and being a bit rusty but the Capitals looked really good to start the game, creating a couple great chances and limiting them against. The only bad chance against was a John Carlson turnover but Martin Fehervary was there to tie up a tap in goal.
- The Rangers were first on the board after a 100mph knuckler from Mika Zibanejad. This is when you want Vitek Vanecek healthy and playing, because Zibanejad just has Ilya Samsonov’s number. Samsonov made a nice point blank save shortly after to get him back in the game.
- The Capitals turned it on after an early second-period power play fizzled into a penalty of their own, and creating a couple of great scoring chances once they killed it off. The Rangers came back down on a chance of their own but Samsonov came up big.
- Garnet Hathaway got a partial breakaway but Igor Shesterkin came up big. He was fantastic tonight and it’s easy to see why he’s the Vezina favorite. Without him the Caps could have had three or four half way through the game.
- The Caps got back the power play with five minutes in the second period. They had a couple good looks but the Rangers got the right bodies and sticks in the right areas to prevent a shot.
- With a minute left the Rangers got a nice tip in goal to take a 2-0 lead. TJ Oshie made an ill advised pass to Lars Eller in the slot who flung it away to the boards. We’ll give Oshie a pass since it’s his first game in the last 14 games.
- The Capitals drew another power play at the end of the period that bled into the third but they didn’t score. The Rangers got a power play a few minutes later but the Caps killed it.
- Rangers took a 3-0 lead after Ovechkin couldn’t find the puck in his feet and the Rangers found it, with Chris Kreider scoring into a wide open net.
- Late in the game, the Rangers made it 4-0 on an odd-man rush... which Ryan Reaves had nothing to do with.
- Ovechkin ended the shutout for Igor with a minute left to get his 32nd goal of the season so it was kind of worth it.
A decent start and a stumble to the finish snapped the Caps’ mighty two-game winning streak. Next up, a trip to Philly for a Saturday matinee against the Flyers.