A defensive lapse and a fluky bounce proved to be the difference in the Washington Capitals' 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. For a full box score, click here.
-- The talk leading into the game was about staying out of the box against a dangerous Capitals' power play. :34 seconds in and the Rangers take a mindless too many men penalty. Certainly got the message, didn't they?
-- 5 penalties is too many to take. Not just because of the opponent, but it disrupts the ability to get into a rhythm offensively. NYR never seized control of the game and were behind right from the get go.
-- I love Carl Hagelin and what he brings to the team, but a goal scorer he is not. He plays a top-six role but he's essentially a third-line winger. He got the best offensive chances and if the Rangers expect to win that can't happen because he shows more often than not the inability to finish.
-- The two biggest moments from the game: 1) Carl Hagelin's shorthanded breakaway in the 2nd period and 2) failing on the 5-on-3. Hagelin's may be more important because if converted NYR are up 2-0 and the Capitals are on their heels. But the focus is and will be on the power play (0-4) failing to come through when needed.
-- Rangers were 18-2-1 during the regular season when scoring the first goal. Now 0-1 in the playoffs.
-- Henrik Lundqvist was by no means bad tonight, but the last two goals he surrendered he'd love to have back. Johansson's shot he got a piece off but not enough and the third goal may have been deflected on a screen, too. But Hank was outdueled by the opposing goalie Braden Holtby—a sight rarely seen.
-- The D was sloppy tonight and I had a particular issue with Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi on the Caps' 2nd goal. Both let Johansson get behind the play without even looking back (both were focused squarely on the puck). That can't happen with your best defense pair out on the ice.
-- Not that it should be made into an excuse, but the officiating was atrocious for both sides tonight. An Asham charge? Questionable. And Ryan Callahan was absolutely jobbed for "roughing." Refs had a poor night to say the least. They tried calling the game "tight" in an effort to control the game and it backfired.
-- I hope Rick Nash got the message that Washington plans on playing him extremely physical to try and knock him of his game. Hopefully he makes the necessary adjustments. While not invisible (8 shots) Nash needs to be better.
-- Derick Brassard and John Moore had decent playoff debuts and Moore was specifically robbed of a goal. There was no conclusive evidence, but you know that puck was in the net.
-- The main thing to take away is a defensive breakdown and a fluky bounce aside, the Rangers had their chances and could've won the game with some better puck luck. Is this the best Washington has to offer? If so, New York can take this series. If not, the Rangers are going to have their hands full.
-- If the Rangers can get healthy soon e.g.. Ryane Clowe, Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett and even Marc Staal, it could make a world of difference. The D could use Staal's positioning and calm play on the ice. Not to mention his ability to shut down Ovechkin. Dorsett's energy, Clowe's grittiness along with Boyle's big body and faceoff abilities are sorely missed. Otherwise the team is going to have to make due without the depth they covet.
-- Game 2 Saturday afternoon back in DC.
Follow on Twitter @TheWrage. E-mail: Jwrabel9@hotmail.com