Is Arnott happy or angry he scored? (Photo credit: AP)
Thanks to tallies authored by the two Alexes Wednesday, the Capitals opened up their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Rangers with a 2-1 overtime victory. Who would pot the goals in game two? Um, obviously the Jasons.
After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich decided to hold a forechecking clinic at 2:11 of the second period, taking on towering Rangers’ defenseman Matt Gilroy. After being knocked to his keister not once — but twice — Laich pushed the biscuit with only one hand on his stick to Marcus Johansson. Mojo — acutely aware of all of his surroundings — immediately sent a tape-to-tape pass to Jason Chimera, who roofed the puck high and glove side past a stunned Henrik Lundqvist.
1:57 later while on the power play, Jason Arnott would win a face-off. Alex Semin then passed it back to Alex Ovechkin at the point. Ovechkin, when pressured by a Ranger penalty-killer, skated across the blue line with the puck and fed Mike Green who was rotating down to the slot. Green then wound up to the sky with all his fury and released a slap shot. Gilroy blocked the attempt both with his skate and stick. Unfortunately for him, the muffed puck then deflected across the ice directly onto the blade of Jason Arnott’s twig, who was skating towards the net already looking for a rebound. As Lundqvist panicked and made a quick move to block the right corner of the net, Arnott made a veteran move and waited as he fell down and then shot the puck past. ANGRY SCOAR FACE.
That would be all she wrote. Michal Neuvirth would get his first career playoff shutout. Caps beat Rangers, 2-0!
Brooks Laich summed it up well after the game. “I thought we did a good job in our defensive zone,” he said. “I think that’s going to be the key for us in the series. We didn’t give them a lot of chances in the slot tonight.” It’s true. Despite controlling two of the three periods of play, the Rangers couldn’t penetrate a group that we can now say has truly learned how to play stifling, defensive hockey.
The Rangers will now be in full-out desperation mode headed into Sunday’s matinee at Madison Square Garden. It will be important for the Capitals to ride out the first ten minutes of the game – which will surely be loud and intense – and try to take control from there. But while we have a day, let’s all smile and enjoy this. Winning sure is fun.
Two down, 14 to go.
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