Game in a Sentence:
Did you stay up? Liar. The Rangers eeked this one out in a tense game which was really two. Full value to whichever team won.
- I actually really enjoyed the pace of this game. I know many, myself included at times, have been quick to harp on the defensive tendencies that come with Hunter and Tortorella coached teams, but this game had a pace to it that I very much enjoyed.
- I’ll jump into game thoughts at-large since chronological seems a little long-winded at this point…
- Ryan McDonagh may very well be the most underrated defenseman in the NHL right now. The guy logged 53 minutes of ice time tonight and fought off the biggest hit I’ve seen in this second round courtesy of Matt Hendricks. A warrior, and one heck of a defender at that.
- If this means Marian Gaborik is off the schneid, the Capitals should be concerned. Gaborik has been ice cold since early in the first round and if he’s rolling for the Rangers, they are a tough out. Not a vintage Gaborik goal for the win, but one that still counts. Sometimes all you need is one…
- Dennis Wideman really hasn’t been particularly good this postseason and I’m really starting to wonder if he should be in the lineup at all. Obviously a Schultz-Erskine tandem would be a disaster back there so Hunter’s hands are tied but you’d be hard pressed to argue that 6 in red really deserves to be in the lineup right now. He needs to snap out of it… desperately.
- Matt Hendricks may have been the best player for the Caps tonight. He was buzzing offensively, throwing his weight around (see: McDonagh hit) and made himself noticeable on every shift. That’s all you can ask from a guy like him. Thoroughly entertaining every shift.
- Jay Beagle also had a great game for Washington. For more on Beagle, check out this piece by Mr. Bourne.
- I don’t care what anyone says or if they want to knock him, Alex Ovechkin played a good game tonight. He bullied his way through people, he got chances on goal and that post he hit was atrocious luck. The Rangers have been clamping down on him hard and he fought through nicely.
- While we’re on the topic of clamping down defensively, Staal-Girardi; Del Zotto-McDonagh (shuffle as you like) may very well be the best top four on the blueline in all of hockey. Their versatility and ability to shut someone down is incredibly impressive. Much better than most of the units the Rangers have put together in recent seasons. The development of the latter two has been great to watch.
- Chris Kreider continues to look like a nice little player for the Rangers. Very encouraging to see a kid step right in like this.
- Braden Holtby did all he could to keep the Caps in this one and went save for save with Henrik Lundqvist. He made several quality stops in overtime, held his ground when the Rangers dug in around him and played well enough to get a win. The Rangers beat him fair and square, but he did all he could.
- Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal in this game. He obviously had some luck on the Brouwer miss after the Hendricks hit, but all in all, like Holtby, he made every save he had to and that shot which beat Holtby fair didn’t find it’s way at the other end. You could argue Ovechkin beat him with that very shot, but the post had other ideas. A great performance from King Henrik.
- I’m willing to bet that the Caps tie this up in game four. This series reeks of a seven gamer.
My Three Stars:
1) Henrik Lundqvist
2) Marian Gaborik
3) Braden Holtby