The first period started with the Rangers getting the majority of the chances due to their relentless forechecking but with 12:20 left in the first, the Capitals found the back of the net off the stick of Mike Knuble. Ward picked a pass and brought the puck into the offensive zone. Then he dished to Aucoin who then passed it right back to Ward. He saw Knuble parked in front of the net. Bam. Perfect pass and the puck is in behind Lundqvist.
|(photo credit: The Boston Herald)|
Then a little less then 5 minutes later, the Capitals strike again. Carlson missed a bouncing puck inside the Rangers blue line and the kid who beat us in Game 1, Kreider, got a full head of steam down the ice for a breakaway. Holtby would have none of it as he made the save and the Capitals cleared it and dumped it into the Rangers zone. Then Chimera with his blinding speed, beat Lundqvist to the puck behind the net and kicks it to the front where Matt Hendricks tried a no-look backhander between the legs only to stopped by a diving Lundqvist. The puck then squirts right through the crease where Chimera taps it in off a defenders skate and the Capitals took a 2-0 lead. If that just sounds wacky then this video should help (courtesy of Fred Murtz on Youtube).
It was a bizarre play but gave the Capitals a 2 goal lead, a lead that we had only seen once in the playoffs during Game 5 of the Boston series. And just like they did when they got the lead against the Bruins, they went into defense mode and stopped attacking the Rangers.
The Rangers were all over them at the end of the period, spending most of the time in the Capitals zone. And in the final minute of the first period, after coincidental minors to Carlson and Staal, the Caps were beat on a 4v4 that brought the game within 1 off a nice pass from Gaborik to Richards.
The second period was hard fought but held scoreless by the two netminders.
Just seven minutes into the final frame, the Rangers score on the Knuble penalty and knotted the game at 2. This was the first power play goal of the series but Washington would not take it lying down. They gained two penalties in quick succession but could not convert on the first. No problem. The second one was all they needed. Backstrom won the faceoff which went straight to Ovechkin. He wheeled out to the point and took a MASSIVE wrist shot which blew by a heavily screened Lundqvist. It was perfect timing from the Captain. They had just completed the "Ovi sucks!" chant that they perform with 8:00 left in the third period. A little over thirty seconds later, Ovi is the one smiling and taunting the crowd.
|GIF via Jaspers Rink commentator Dimagus)|
It was awesome to see the Great 8 get the game winner because he's been somewhat transparent during these playoffs. For the Caps to win he needed to step up and he did just that with a beauty of a shot.
For the rest of the period the Capitals played defense and were able to hold the Rangers from scoring, though there were some scary moments. The Rangers were on the verge of scoring the equalizer with Del Zotto seeming to hit the crossbar too many times for comfort. However the Caps held firm and squeaked out the 3-2 win.
This was a momentous game for the boys in white. Here are some of the facts that that were brought around by Game 2:
- This game broke the Capitals 6 game losing streak in the second round of the Playoffs.
- The game MVP, Braden Holtby, was able to rebound from a disasterous Game 1 and control the rebounds, saving 26 of 28 shots faced. My personal MVP was the crossbar that was against us in Game 1 (Most Valuable Post).
- Even though his TOI was low (13:36 with only 3:33 in the first period), Ovechkin proved why he needed to be on the ice as his production was much better with 7 SOG and the GWG.
- The Rangers out-shot the Caps 28-25 (way up from the 14-18 in Game 1) but 15 shots were blocked by Dale Hunter's crew. The Rangers also tallied 15 blocked shots on the night, proving that this series is going to take some creativity in the offensive zone for both teams.
- The series is coming back to Washington tied 1-1. Headed back to home ice, the stats for the home team are not pretty (23 for 55 in these playoffs) but if the Caps can feed off of the Verizon Center crowd and continue getting traffic in front of Lundqvist, they will continue to succeed.
Game 3 tip-off is this Wednesday at 12:30 AM for those across the pond and 7:30 PM eastern time at Verizon Center. Be ready to Rock the Red and cheer our Capitals to a Game 3 victory over the King Henrik and the Bluecoats!
Caps in six. I believe. Lets Go Caps