The Caps got lucky
In staying with my "thinking positive" theme, I'm not going to talk about game 1 against the Rangers in the second round of the playoffs. It's better that way. Instead, I'll focus on what I liked about tonight's game, starting with the fact that the Caps got lucky tonight. They don't often get lucky.
They got lucky when John Carlson's "what just happened here" moment, at the end of a power play, almost cost the Caps a goal as Carlson lost the puck to the rookie Chris Kreider (the one that got the GWG for the Rangers in game 1 coming out of the box. Instead Braden Holtby made a great save and then the puck went back the other way. Matt Hendricks got the puck, put it between his legs and tried to slide it past Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist lost the puck, Jason Chimera shoved at it as he's draped around the goal post corner and it deflected off a Ranger's skate into the net. That happens against the Caps not for the Caps.
The Caps got lucky because the Rangers hit a goal post and a crossbar. On the last scoring chance near the end of the third period, the puck bounced off the underside of the crossbar and popped back out. I watched that slow motion replay and thought, wow, that is usually a goal against for the Caps.
They also got lucky despite some early officiating that went against them. How Marian Gaborik doesn't get a penalty for slamming Matt Hendricks into the boards headfirst by the team doors continues to make me shake my head. But, I'm getting used to this kind of officiating in the NHL.
Other efforts to applaud:
- Old man Mike Knuble winning the foot race and stretching out his stick to prevent the icing very late in the third.
- Mike Knuble/Joel Ward connecting again for the first goal on a pretty passing play by Ward. He's earning more of his paycheck with every playoff game.
- Alex Ovechkin blasting a beautiful game winning power play goal past Lundqvist.
- Jay Beagle bringing it every night and getting rewarded by Dale Hunter with the highest forward TOI tonight.
- Karl Alzner burning out time on the clock at the end of the third by trapping the puck during a scrum with the Rangers behind Holtby. Awesome.