The Rangers out-shot the Capitals. They out-hit the Capitals. They had fewer turnovers and plenty of chances, but at the end of the day they were a bit sloppy in the OZ and just couldn’t get it done. Perhaps the most important stat of all was their 0-5 power play.
I’ll give Torts credit. He let his defensemen jump up on the rush and he gave his skill players the offensive zone faceoffs. Unfortunately no amount of aggressive tactics worked. Ultimately, we just didn’t have the personnel to score. More on that in the offseason…
1-0, Caps take an early lead
This goal is pretty easy to breakdown. The Capitals were applying zone pressure on the power play. Ryan Callahan slipped and fell while defending the point and couldn’t get back to the slot to defend Ovie, the last guy you want uncovered in that position. Ovie got a one-timer and did what he does best.
2-0, Caps take an early lead
I hate to say it, but Bickel is not doing anything to earn more icetime than he is already receiving, which I know has been a big complaint on Twitter and
other blogs. This play is yet another defensive miscue on his part that directly led to a goal.
The puck was initially on the left side of the defensive zone. An errant Washington pass led to the puck ending up on the opposite boards where Carlson collects it. Bickel races out to the point to defend Carlson, but changes his mind mid-stride (notice his hockey stop) and leaves Backstrom wide open on the strongside post. Essentially he’s covering no one. Carlson hits Backstrom, who tips it to Chimera on the weakside post and that’s the ball game. You can also throw a brick at Richards on this play (left red circle). In the photo you’ll notice Richie is with Chimera, but he releases him and Chimera goes to the net unopposed.
2-1, Rangers tease a comeback
The Rangers finally got on board with Henrik pulled and less than a minute left in regulation. Stepan won a faceoff in the Capitals zone. Girardi collected the puck and hit Gaborik cross-ice, who finally fired a one-timer in for the goal. It was a great play, but unfortunately too little too late.
I don’t think even strength hockey is an issue for the Rangers, but five power plays is a gift, especially in that building. The TV analysts seem to put a lot of the blame on our low forwards inability to get traffic in front of Holtby. While I agree to an extent, the real issue is our inability to handle high pressure. Richards, MDZ, & Girardi need to be much better in that regard on Saturday. Passes parallel to the blueline against this PK aren’t going to work. Richie specifically needs to be more decisive when he’s setup for one-timers. Hopefully the Rangers adjust.