Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Posts, Cross Bars and Trickling Pucks - Caps beat Rangers 3-2 to tie series

It's never the easy way with our Rangers

Through 2 rounds of playoffs - it is clear that the Rangers are never going to coast to an easy victory. We're going to have to scratch and claw for everything we get.

In round one, when we won the opener 4-2 against Ottawa - we figured - easy series - Rangers in 5 or 6.

But no. We had to win both 6 and 7 to come from behind and get to the second round.

And once again - against the Caps - we grab game one - but fall in game two - at home - 3-2.

The Rangers and Capitals are playing similar games. Defensive - opportunistic - counter-punching.

In game one we had the better goalie. In game two Holtby - and some truly bad luck - did us in.

What bad luck? Del Zotto beat the Capitals goaltender on two occasions only to have the puck clang off the crossbar - or post - and out. And Washington's 2nd goal was a comedy of errors:

Hank slid his stick across the ice in perfect position - but Stralman was trying the same thing from the other direction. Hanks stick hit Stralman - it lifted up and the puck slid under. Still - it was trickling wide right when McDonagh's skate inadvertently pushed it back int he crease and in. Nice double team fellows. It took two of our own defensemen to beat Hank - but it happened and we were down 2-0.

To our credit - we fought back. Brad Richards got a huge goal in the last minute of the second period - and then in the third Michael Del Zotto - who had hit the post earlier - shot a missile on the powerplay that Callahan deflected in to tie the game at 2 in the third.

But then, a pair of Ranger penalties less than three minutes apart did the Blueshirts in. After the first was successfully killed off - Richards committed the 2nd infraction and this time the Rangers couldn't kill the penalty.

Ovechkin got the puck at the point - and fired off a nasty rocket at the screened Lundqvist. Hank never had a chance at this one - it struck the back of the net with more noise than I ever remember hearing before. That puck from our nemisis was deadly - and it game the Caps all they needed to take game 2.

Del Zotto had one more chance at heroics at the end - but he hit the crossbar - and the game ended 3-2.

We outshot the Capitals 28 to 25 and out hit them 45-35. That's our game - but we couldn't close the deal.

Goals for Callahan and Richards. A pair of assists for Del Zotto and singles for Richards and Gaborik.

So it came down to goaltending. Which I'll take in the long run. But last night Hank's dave percentage was just .880, while Holtby was .929. I can't see that holding up over seven games - but last night - with posts, cross bars, and McDonah kicking it in - it was enough to make the difference.

So we head to Washington, knowing we need to win at least one in their building.

Let's Go Rangers.

-Dave Pucks

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