This game didn't have the start that was expected, both teams kind of circling each other like a couple of heavyweight boxers. It wasn't really until later in the period that things started to pick up. The Caps had a couple of good chances, hitting the crossbar twice, but the teams were scoreless at the end of the first.
Rangers the better team in the second period, but couldn't muster much offense. It seemed like every time the Rangers were going to have a scoring chance, something would go wrong: a bad bounce of the puck, timing just a little off on the pass, you name it. Shots were 18-11 in favor of the Capitals after two periods.
Less than two minutes into the third, the Rangers drew first blood when Matt Gilroy scored to give the Rangers the lead. Brandon Prust and Wojtek Wolski got the assists. Great hustle from Prust on the play, he fed the puck behind the net to Wolski, who got it out to Gilroy, and Matt banged it home.
Caps picked up the pressure after the goal, and we saw some tremendous work by Marc Staal in the corner. After being knocked down by Alex Ovechkin, he managed to stay with the puck, and worked it out of the corner with a hand pass. It was terrific work by Staal in the sequence, and he played very well in this game, as did the entire Rangers defense.
With just over six minutes remaining with the Caps driving to the net, the puck got underneath Henrik Lundqvist, and after a review and much discussion, it was ruled a goal, and the game was tied. Ovechkin got credited for the goal.
Ovechkin then took a roughing penalty on his next shift, but with the Rangers anemic power play all he did was give himself a two minute rest. Neither team could get a goal in the last six minutes, and to overtime we went.
With just over a minute to go in overtime, a couple of bad clearing attempts by the Rangers did them in, and Alexander Semin put the puck past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Caps the series lead.
Michal Neuvirth was good in net for the Capitals, making twenty four saves, but he had clear vision of the puck most of the night. Rangers must get traffic in front of him, absolutely must.
The Rangers played a tough, hard fought game, the kind we saw all season. They weren't intimidated; they kept the mistakes to a minimum, and showed they can contend in this series. Friday is another day. This was a very good game, it what looks like it is going to be a terrific series.
If the Rangers can get more shots to the net, and make life a little harder for Neuvirth, they will be tough to beat.
Check out Japers Rink for the Washington Capitals Recap.