Well, there was certainly reason not to be terribly optimistic about last night's game. I deliberately didn't talk about Caps earlier post-season failures the other day (so I was annoyed about the write-up from yesterday's Post). But it's true that they've never won a Game 3 after winning games one and two in a seven-game series (they did sweep the Flyers in the opening round in '84).
But they came out really trying to take the game to the Rangers (a little surprising, actually; I'd expected the Rangers to be the ones coming out that way). OV's early roughing penalty was certainly a surprise (thought the call would be borderline for regular season, let alone in the playoffs) which blunted the Caps attack a bit. But they killed it ok, and opened the scoring a minute later when Backstrom tipped in Carlson's shot from the point. Was definitely flying high at that point.
But a couple more penalties (one of which led to a goal exactly two minutes later; initially credited as PPG, later changed to even strength), brought me down to earth. The goal was a bit of a soft one; Boyle snuck it by short-side. Disappointing.
The second period was largely decided by the three consecutive penalties the Caps took. They only allowed one goal, but almost all of the Rangers shots were on the power play. It was a nice shot by Brassard in the slot that beat Holtby. At even strength, though, the Caps were dominant, and tied the game when Green skated in from the point and wristed a shot into the top corner.
The third period did not go at all well. The Rangers scored twice as the defense decided to watch play in the corner and allow players to skate unmolested very close to the goal. Between those two, Beagle did manage to tip Hillen's shot from the point past Lundqvist.
The Caps put up a heck of an attempt to tie the game up in the last couple of minutes, although all they really got out of it were a lot of shots blocked by the Rangers. It was a disappointing end, but it was good to see that the Caps never looked like they were either taking the Rangers for granted (was especially concerned about this at the beginning) or giving up on the game.
Disappointing result, but a very good game nonetheless. Shots were almost even, with the Rangers blocking twice as many. The Caps were heavily positive in both Fenwick and Corsi. Erskine, who I actually thought looked decent, was the only one on the team negative in Corsi. He, Carlson, and MarJo were the only ones negative in Fenwick. Alzner was a beast, at +11 Fenwick of the team's +16.
OV had a pretty good game, and gave MarJo a couple of incredible set-ups that he couldn't convert.
As I said, a disappointing result, but play like this (especially without the six penalties) will lead to a lot of victories. So, encouraging, overall. Next assessment tomorrow evening at 1930. Fingers definitely crossed.