The New York Rangers were able to battle back after going down 2-0 early on in the first period to come away with at least a point. Unfortunately, the Capitals were able to win the skills com....I mean, shootout to come away with the second point of the game. Although the slow starts are starting to grow old, the Rangers were able to battle back, and show some resilience.
This game looked as if was going to get out of hand pretty quickly. Anton Stralman took an early holding penalty, which sent the Capitals, who currently lead the league in power play goals, to the man advantage. Just 11 seconds later? Nicklas Backstrom redirected home the power play goal off of his chest, which gave the Capitals the early one goal lead. It got a lot worse two minutes later as Alexander Ovechkin got a redirection of his own off of a point shot from Steven Oleksy. Not even halfway through the game, and the Rangers already found themselves down in a 2-0 hole with the blink of an eye.
All was doom and gloom until Kris Newbury made a great play in the neutral zone to spring Arron Asham on a 2-on-1 odd man rush. Asham was patient with the puck, froze up Brayden Holtby and ripped it over the shoulder to cut the lead to 2-1. The makeup of that fourth line tonight was absolutely amazing. It had a combination of nastiness, and some offensive abilities, as we saw with Asham's goal. Sometimes the tough guys can turn around a game without even dropping their gloves.
Four minutes later, Jason Chimera and Karl Alzner took a pair of penalties which gave the Rangers a huge 5-on-3 opportunity to close out the first period. After some movement off of the faceoff win, Derek Stepan received a pass down low from Brad Richards, which he quickly flipped on net and beat Holtby through the five hole. It looked as if Holtby actually kicked the puck in his own net, as he wasn't anticipating a quick shot from that angle by Derek Stepan. Just like that, the Rangers completely eliminated that slow start earlier in the game, and were right back into the thick of things.
The first period was very wide open for both teams, but throughout the second and third periods, both teams buckled it down defensively, and only traded a few chances here and there. Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular once again, and came away with a game saving desperation save with a few tickets left on the clock. Regulation didn't produce a winner, so we went off to overtime where it got pretty intense. Overtime was easily a offensive showdown between both of these teams, as well as the goaltenders.
It might as well of been a playoff game, that's how ridiculously intense the chances were all throughout overtime. Unfortunately though, a great game like that was destined for a shootout, and off we went. Alex Ovechkin was the only goal scorer in the shootout as Derek Stepan came up for his chance to keep the Rangers alive. And let me tell you something, he not only kept them alive, but brought a smile to John Tortorella's face with the move he made.
Both Mike Riberio and Brad Richards missed on their chances, which left the game winning goal on Nicklas Backstrom's stick. He came in very slowly, cut back to the middle, and ripped a shot low to the short side of Henrik Lundqvist, and the Capitals came away with the extra point in this one. As disappointing as it was, the most important thing to take away from this game was the fact that the Rangers rebound and were able to get the point. They could have easily put this game away much earlier, as could the Capitals, but this was how it ended.
The shootout is basically a coin toss when it comes to crowning a winner, so while it's frustrating, it doesn't mean the Rangers didn't play without an effort or heart. It's actually the complete opposite, they played really well, and rebounded when they needed to. The Rangers will be off on Monday before they begin their three game road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Just take it one game at a time.