Friday, March 19, 2021

A TWO-Point Night: Washington Capitals -- Game 30: Capitals 2 - Rangers 1

The Washington Capitals hosted the New York Rangers on Friday night in the first of a back-to-back set of games at Capital One Arena.  The Caps were looking to extend a six-game winning streak and widen their lead in the East Division, while the Rangers were trying to build some momentum after their 9-0 pasting of the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. The Caps spotted the Rangers a goal, and it almost held up.  But Alex Ovechkin put an end to that mischief with two late goals, and the Caps escaped with a 2-1 win.

First Period

The Caps had the edge in possession early, but the Rangers caught up, and then some, when they went on a power play 15:21 into the period.  Nicklas Backstrom was sent off for tripping.  The Rangers converted at 16:42 when Artemi Panarin one-timed a cross-ice pass from Ryan Strome that goalie Vitek Vanecek got a piece of  but not enough to prevent it from crawling over the goal line.

Washington got its first power when Filip Chytil was sent off for hooking at 17:32.  The Caps did not convert, and the teams went to the first intermission with the Rangers in front, 1-0.

-- The Caps held the Rangers without a shot on goal for the first 9:21 of the period; the first four shot attempts by New York were misses.  The Rangers had nine missed shots in the period.

-- New York outshot the Caps, 8-5, and out-attempted them, 21-17.

-- Nicklas Backstrom skated a team high ten shifts in the period; Justin Schultz led in ice time with 7:28.

Second Period

There was much back and forth with no result in the first when Brendan Lemieux for the Brenden Dillon for the Caps were sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct at 11:36 of the period to put the teams 4-on-4.  Neither team could take advantage of more open ice, and the Rangers hung on to their 1-0 lead.  They would hang on for the remainder of the period, taking a 1-0 lead to the locker room after 40 minutes.

-- The Rangers outshot the Caps, 11-6, in the period and out-attempted them, 18-13.

-- Conor Sheary and Nick Jensen led the Caps with two shots apiece through two periods; three Caps had four shot attempts (Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and Jensen).

-- Neither Brenden Dillon nor Garnet Hathaway had a shot attempt in 40 minutes, but they had five and four credited hits, respectively.

-- Nic Dowd was 9-for-11 on faceoffs through two periods.

Third Period

Things started poorly for the Caps in the final frame, Brenden Dillon going off for hooking just 31 seconds into the period.  Washington killed the penalty to remain within a goal of tying the contest.  They had to kill another mid-way through the period, Richard Panik going off for holding the stick at 10:46 of the period.

The Caps killed the penalty and were rewarded in the 14th minute when they tied the game.  Dmitry Orlov fed the puck to Justin Schultz in the left wing circle for a one timer that got through to the paint.  Evgeny Kuznetsov nudged the loose puck to the top of the crease, and Alex Ovechkin swatted it into the open net past goalie Alexandar Georgiev at the 13:18 mark.

Ovechkin scored from almost the same spot three minutes later.  A John Carlson attempt got through to Georgiev, but the puck squirted out in front.  Ovechkin hip-checked teammate Garnet Hathaway out of the play, settled the puck, and backhanded it past Georgiev to make it 2-1, Caps, at the 16:27 mark.

The Caps held the Rangers off for the last 3:33 to win in come-from-behind fashion, 2-1.

Other stuff…

-- Alex Ovechkin’s two goals gave him 147 career multi-goal games, seven behind Mario Lemieux for third place in multi-goal games since 1979-1980.

-- New York outshot the Caps, 33-18, and out-attempted them, 60-49.

-- No Capital had more than two shots on goal. Ovechkin, Nick Jensen, Justin Schultz, and Conor Sheary each had a pair.

-- Ovechkin led the team with seven shot attempts.

-- Brenden Dillon led the team with six credited hits.

-- Nic Dowd finished the game 14-for-17 on faceoffs (82.4 percent).

-- Richard Panik was the only skater to take the ice for the Caps who did not record a shot attempt.  Trevor van Rimesdyk did not, but he did not take a shift in the game.

-- John Carlson led the team in ice time (23:12); Daniel Sprong had the least among players taking the ice (9:11).

-- The Rangers had as many missed shots (18) as the Caps had shots on goal (18).

-- With his 32-for-33 effort in goal, Vitek Vanecek is not 8-2-1, 1.97, .923, with one shutout over his last 11 games.

In the end…

It was a boring game for more than 50 minutes, which played into the visitors’ hands.  But then the Captain took over, leaving his “office” (left wing circle) for his “annex” (top of the crease) to get a pair of greasy goals that one would see in a playoff setting.  As the Caps go forth in the second half of the season, it is a welcome development.