All they had to do was clear the zone. Less than two minutes left in overtime stuck in a stressful 1-1 tie, they still had a chance to win. With a captain and an all star defenseman at the helm, that shouldn’t be hard right? But Chris Drury and Marc Staal weren’t able to and in overtime of the first playoff game of round one in enemy territory, one mistake, one bad giveaway is all it takes to drop a game.
Staal’s half hearted attempt to lift the puck out of the zone was thwarted by Jason Arnott who immediately dished the puck to Alex Semin securing the Capitals 2-1 overtime win.
It was worse than a punch to the gut; and worse than a blowout even. The Rangers had every chance to steal a game in Washington. The same issues nagged them though:no conversion on the powerplay and a lethargic offense.
After defenseman Matt Gilroy–the most unlikely of heros scoring in his first playoff game– got the Rangers on the board first in the third period, it almost felt like they had the win in the bag. Wojtek Wolski was looking good and Artem Anisimov was chipping in on defense and skating well. Henrik Lundqvist looked unstoppable and made save after save.
But lazy, hard and inopportune cross ice passes kept the Rangers 1-0 third period lead on edge. Marian Gaborik couldn’t finish. The game was a tight defensive match for 60 minutes with most shots getting blocked, especially Alexander Ovechkin’s. But OV kept throwing his weight around and chipped the puck through Lundqvist at 13:44. It appeared Lundqvist had possession of the puck but the referees hadn’t yet blown the whistle so the goal stood making it 1-1 and on to a very tense overtime the game went.
The Rangers looked more like they were hanging on, rather than pouring it on. Lundqvist gave them every opportunity to win it. Someone needs to find the back of the net and quick. This is going to be a long series.
Take a seat: Mats Zuccarello isn’t as effective in regulation as he is in the shootout. But there are no shootouts in the playoffs. Only big hits, bloody blocked shots and quick goals. It’s time for Sean Avery to get his game face on while the rookie sits awhile. Zuccarello took a bad penalty in the first period and had a hand in the too many men on the ice call earlier.
BS: The Rangers had 28 blocked shots, with Dan Girardi leading the way with 5. The more defensive minded Caps had 32, with Karl Alzner taking 8 hits for the team.
Move on: The Rangers have another chance to shake the Caps psyche on Friday night for Game 2.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)