Ranging Afield

Was happy to be able to watch yesterday's Caps-Rangers tilt live, for once. Got the good news at the beginning that the Penguins had lost game two to the Islanders, despite the return of Crosby, too.  I even had the soccer channel tuned when I turned on the TV, and caught thirty seconds of Arsenals game vs QPR along with Arsenal's first goal.

Buoyed by those, I was feeling good as the Caps came out flying, and looking very good.  They were looking good enough, in fact, that I was never especially worried about them losing.  Not even on the couple of occasions when a Rangers shot hit the post.

The Caps were generating so many good chances that it seemed that even if Holtby let one in, they were sure to get it back right away.

But the game stayed scoreless.  The Rangers got an early power play, and it still stayed scoreless.  Hank made a bunch of fantastic saves, and still there was no score.  Matching minors in the second left the play 4-on-4 for two minutes, and still it stayed scoreless.

The Caps were ahead on shots, 25-19, at the end of two, and still no one had put it into the net.  It stayed that way for most of the third.  Both teams had managed to threaten, but still the scoreboard was a tabula rasa.

Then Brouwer got called for slashing as he tried (weakly) to stop a Nash breakaway (this was one of the shots off the post to which I earlier alluded).  But the Caps did a fantastic job killing this one, not even allowing a shot.

I was hoping the momentum from that would carry over, and get them to score.  I was half-right, as they came out firing, leading to several good chances, but Lundqvist was up to all of the challenges and pulled it into overtime.

At that point, my wife, not being familiar with playoff overtimes, asked how long the overtime would last.  When I answered, "Until someone scores", she asked if that was five minutes, or what.  So I had to explain that my answer was complete and correct, and that full-length periods were involved.  She was not thrilled, as my daughter had to go to soccer before too long.

Well, things did not start out great for the Caps, as Oleksy was called for delay of game less than two minutes in.  This was not killed as impressively as the last, but was killed.  It wasn't enough to break my confidence, but it did get me thinking that it was possible that Lundqvist would steal the game for the Rangers.

Three minutes later, though, the Caps were rewarded a bit, as they got a power play of their own (also on a delay of game penalty).

They lost the initial face-off of the power play, but brought it back down fairly quickly and set up the offense.  Ribeiro got the puck up high on the half-wall and started skating in.  Getting close to the circle, he faked a slapshot.  When two defenders went down to block it, he calmly passed it back to Green at the point.  Greenie took the one-timer, and finally broke the King's scoreless streak.

On the whole, there really wasn't anything to dislike about the game.  The Caps played very well, and won.  If Lundy hadn't played a fabulous game, they could have won by several goals.

Erskine had a very good game.  He didn't have any glaringly bad plays, and did have several nice defensive plays to go along with three shots (and I must have noticed all three, because I would have guessed that there were more).  Carlson also did well, with seven shots to go with his four blocks.  And OV was a beast again, hitting hard and often, and creating a number of opportunities for himself and his teammates.  And, of course, you can't overlook Holtby, who has, thus far, outplayed Hank.  In fact, he's improved on his absurdly good numbers from last year's playoffs.  Unlikely to be sustainable, but lovely to see.

And for me, I was also happy that they finished in time to go watch my daughter play soccer.

So now the series heads back to New York, with the next game at 1930 on Monday.

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