Saturday, 11 May 2013

Caps Win In OT, Push Rangers To Brink

With the series tied at 2-2 after both the Caps and the New York Rangers both winning their games at home, the best of seven returned to the Verizon Center for a match where it was all to play for. The game itself was a tight, intense affair and ended in fitting fashion, with an overtime goal from Mike Riberio took the W for the Caps:

McRibz reels away after scoring the game winning goal
Full recap is below the jump:
- The Rangers came out very strong, and not a minute into the game Derick Brassard found Brian Boyle to take the lead. I, like many other Caps fans let out a groan, but I shouldn't have worried - the Caps are one of the best teams at comebacks, and showed it yet again last night.
- Both teams continued to throw shots on net to attempt to thwart both Holtby and Lundqvist, who were both once again on fire, stopping everything.
- However, the Caps managed to get a breakthrough when Joel Ward, who I like to dub "Mr Clutch" (forgetting high stick penalty, of course...), smashed home a goal on the powerplay - it wasn't a pretty goal, but that didn't matter. The game was equalised.
- Holtbeast and Lundqvist continued to battle in the 1-1 game, and would not allow either team to score for the rest of regulation time, despite a third period when the Caps put 13 shots on net.
- The game proceeded to enter overtime, and some of the most nerve racking minutes of Caps hockey this season. The goalies continued their duel for just under ten minutes, which was when Karl Alzner took a slapshot from the blue line, and whilst this shot was stopped by 'King Henrik', a slight deflection of Troy Brouwer's skate landed the puck on Mike Riberio's stick. Ribz had one job, and he did it. The puck went in the net. The biscuit was in the basket, the cat was in the hat, the fish was in the tank, the Caps had won game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals.       

This was a vital game for the Caps to win, and they have done just that. Of course, with the system being whichever gets to four wins first ends the series, the Caps can now advance to the next round if they win at Madison Square Garden in New York tomorrow night. Failing that, game 7 is scheduled for Monday night. Simply put, the Caps need to win one of the next two games, and the way they can do that is primarily ensuring that Holtby maintains his solid play, with a 1.91 GAA and a .933 save percentage. Whilst just this could well seal the deal for the Caps, but Alex Ovechkin reappearing would be nice - he has been held scoreless since the first game. If the Caps draw some penalties, then this will give Ovi a chance to thrive. 

On another note, congratulations to Tom Wilson on his NHL debut! The 19 year old 6'4, 210 lb right wing wasn't a standout, but give him a bit of time and he could be a good second liner in the future. After the Caps traded away Filip Forsberg in one of the most controversial decisions in recent DC hockey history, Wilson and Kuzya (who will come over after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics) are our top prospects, so it was good to see him out there tonight.