Caps down Rangers 4-1
THE GAME TURNED WHEN… Jason Chimera crashed the net and broke a three game scoreless drought of the Caps against Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Before today, Lundqvist recorded over 200 consecutive scoreless minutes against the Caps, dating back to game six and seven last year in the playoffs. Chimera’s goal broke that streak and started the three goal rout in the second period.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN… When Steve Oleksy scored just twenty-five seconds after Chimera to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. The goal caught Lundqvist off-guard and took the wind out of the Garden crowd and the speed out of the Ranger’ skates. It also gave extra pep to the Caps, who out skated the Rangers, despite a back to back game.
OUR GAME MVP… Simple. Phillip Grubauer. In just his second NHL game, the young rookie net minder when into a hostile Madison Square Garden and stopped 30 of 31 shots. He was two minutes away from his first career shutout, but did walk out of the Garden with his first career win.
THE GOOD… The second period. Washington has been strong offensively most of the season in the second period and today was no different. After a scoreless first period, the Caps put up a trifecta on Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers in the second period. Jason Chimera broke up the Caps three game scoreless drought against Lundqvist and started the three goal onslaught. The Caps out shot the Rangers 17-10 in that period.
THE BAD… The Caps power play. Caps had two man advantage opportunities. They failed to convert a goal. The second power play chance the Caps didn’t even register a shot on net. Fortunately, the Caps didn’t need one.
THE FIGHTS… Well, not a real fight. But roughing between Rick Nash and Alexander Ovechkin in the second period gave us some punches. Nash got a stick whack and a jab in on Ovi, but Ovi retaliated with two nice jabs to the face of Nash. Count it for Ovechkin.
THE STUDS… Mikhail Grabovski powered a slapper past Henrik Lundqvist on a penalty shot in the second period to give the Caps a 3-0 lead. What a shot by Grabo. No dinking, deeking, and hot dogging, just a straight up blast that he buried right past Lundqvist. How about rookie goalie Phillip Grubauer? In just his second ever NHL game, he goes into the Garden and dominates the Rangers. Grubauer made some nifty saves tonight and Olie Kolzig has to be smiling. Steve Oleksy has been a scratch and got back into the lineup tonight and responded with his first goal of the season and an assist. A 2 point night for Oleksy. Oleksy and Nate Schmidt were both a plus 3.
THE DUDS… It’s a shutout baby! There aren’t any duds.
THE MISSING IN ACTION… Brooks Laich and Michal Neuvirth sat this one out due to injuries. After a successful NHL debut last night for rookie defenseman Patrick Wey, he was a healthy scratch tonight giving Steve Oleksy an opportunity to get back in the lineup. Oleksy responded with a goal and an assist in the second period.
MULTIPOINT SCORERS… Steve Oleksy had a 2 point night, 1 goal and 1 assist.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS… The Caps got another needed a win on a back to back night. Prior to the game, the Caps led the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division by just a point. This win moves the Caps to 34 points, leaving the Rangers at 31. Caps sit seven points behind division leading Pittsburgh. Washington improves overall to 16-12-2. It was also an important game for the Caps to snap out of a scoreless drought against Henrik Lundqvist. Nice win for the Caps. They’ve scored 9 goals over the last two games.