Last night's Caps game was quite the roller coaster of highs and lows. The first period was pretty good, as the Caps largely outplayed the Rangers, but neither team was able to score. The second period was largely dominated by the Rangers, and was one of the worst periods of play all season for the Caps.
They only had 3-4 good shifts, and allowed three goals. One was a bit fluky, passed from behind the net, and deflecting in off the skate of a Capital (Hendricks, maybe?). The other two were cases where the defense neglected to actually cover anyone. Oh, and those two were a mere seven seconds apart. In fact, I walked into the kitchen when the first one was scored, and was still there when the second was. So it was ugly.
And to make matters worse, looking back, the Rangers were 29-0-0 in the regular season when leading after two periods. And I'll bet that most of those 29 were less than three goal leads.
Well, as usual, I stopped watching at that point to put my daughter to bed. Being a bit depressed about the situation, I did a couple of other chores before checking on the score of the game. Holy crap, it was still going on in overtime!
I zipped back to the TV, and put the OT on (was afraid the OT might run past my recording limit if I watched the third via the DVR beforehand). It turns out that Semin and MarJo (twice, actually) had scored in the third to tie up the game.
Well, the Caps heavily dominated play (including killing off a too many men penalty without allowing a shot), but were unable to score, so it was off to double overtime. It's depressing how many such games the Caps have played; at about thirty minutes of overtime, this was still only the fifth longest game in franchise history.
The Caps continued to dominate play in the second overtime, but were still unable to puncture the Lundqvist wall for quite a while. But eventually the forecheck forced a bad clearing attempt, and Chimera followed a shot towards the net that Lundqvist wasn't able to corral. The defender (Dubinski?) tried to clear it away from the goal, but just knocked it up into Chimera, whence it bounced down right in front of the net, behind Lundqvist. I've certainly made knocks about Chimmer's hands of stone, but he coolly deposited this one in the net for the win.
And my family was happy the goal was on such a busted play, because it felt so anticlimactic that I didn't shout loudly enough to wake everyone.
As far as individual players, Neuvy did very well. Despite the three goals (and I'll admit, even though he didn't really deserve it at the time, I thought it likely he wouldn't come out for the third), he pitched a shutdown for an entire game after allowing them. The MarJo-Fehr-Chimera line was actually the best one for the Caps, although I think I'd rather see Sturm-MarJo-Chimmer with Fehr on the top line. Semin was excellent in the overtime (and given that he scored, probably in the third, as well). Carlson and Alzner were the defensemen abused for the second and third goals, so they did not have a good game (they both got assists on the tying goal to somewhat make up for it, at least). And Arnott made up a bit for his dreadful last game on the dot, winning twelve of twenty.
So the Caps manage to walk away with an away game win; the series has unquestionably started, now. They've restored their two-game lead (which is, admittedly, a bit ominous given their history of blowing two-game leads), and are in position to be able to close out the series on Saturday at home. Here's hoping that they do so.