Saturday, April 16, 2011

Playoff Round 1 Game #2 Recap: Caps 2 New York Rangers 0

New York managed 22 shots on goal and Michal Neuvirth was up to the task. The Capitals rookie goalie stopped all 22 for a shutout victory and a 2-0 series lead. Another strong defensive effort from the Capitals stifled the New York attack which saw the Caps block 21 Ranger shots. With a strong surge to begin the game the Rangers out shot Washington in the first period 13-7. The game was played at a fanatic pace with both teams trading big hits all over the ice. Alex Ovechkin really threw his weight around and it appeared to be working on the defensive pair of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. The Rangers top pair seemed to wilt as the game went on. The Capitals pressed early in the second period and broke through on a good shift from the third line. The Caps kept the pressure on the Rangers in their own zone and Brooks Laich, after initiating contact with the Ranger defenseman, made a strong one handed pass from behind the net to Marcus Johansson in the left wing circle. Johansson quickly sent it to the crease where Jason Chimera one-timed it into the net. One minute and fifty-seven seconds later the Capitals made it 2-0. While on the power play Mike Green took a pass from Ovechkin and fired a slap shot from the right point. The shot hit a body in front of the net and caromed directly onto Jason Arnott's stick in the left wing circle. Arnott calmly settled the puck and fired it home before Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist get across the crease giving the Caps a 2-0 lead. The Rangers were stunned and took their timeout to regroup but the Caps wouldn't allow them to generate many scoring chances the rest of the way. The Caps allowed just 7 shots on goal in the third period and Neuvirth gobbled up anything that came his way. The series now shifts to New York for Games 3 and 4 with the Caps up 2 games to none.

Of Note:
  • Jason Chimera now has 2 game-winning goals in 9 playoff appearances with the Capitals. His line with Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson was buzzing all night long. The trio combined for 7 of Washington's 17 shots on goal and 7 hits. Laich was excellent in the dot winning 6 of 9 draws.
  • Michal Neuvirth in his first career playoff shutout stopped all 22 shots he faced. His play in the first period was spectacular with several key saves that stemmed the Ranger initial push.
  • While Alex Ovechkin didn't score a goal, his presents was felt all over the ice. He recorded 6 hits and was fearless on the forecheck. He picked up an assist on the Arnott power play goal and has 42 points in 30 career post season games.
  • Jason Arnott, who was dealt for at the trade deadline, scored on the power play and has points in both games of the series. His leadership has been such a positive influence on this Washington team.
  • The Caps went 1 for 3 on the power play and killed off both New York advantages and nearly scored a shorthanded goal. The penalty kill has been a strength for the Caps all year long.
  • Karl Alzner and the rest of the defense continued their excellent play blocking shots and winning the key battles along the boards. Alzner has 11 blocked shots in the series and his tandem with John Carlson has been playing against the Rangers top line. Not bad for a couple of rookies.
  • Mike Green recorded an assist and doesn't look like he missed 20+ games prior to the series. His ability to skate the puck from harm is huge in this series. In 16:29 of ice time he had 1 assist, 1 shot on goal, 1 hit and 2 blocked shots.
  • Finally rookie Marcus Johansson got his first career playoff point with an assist on the Chimera goal along with 1 shot on goal, 1 hit and 2 blocked shots.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary

Game Highlights:

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