Mike Green: picking the right time to play the best hockey of his life.
Shut the book on the quarterfinal series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. In just five (not that short) games, the Caps sent the Rangers to an early vacation and a hot shave. This is the first Caps playoff series since the lockout (and the first of Bruce Boudreau’s career) that has not gone to a full seven games.
For the first time in the series, a goal was scored in the first period. While on the powerplay, Mike Green caught his own rebound and used Dan Girardi as a backboard for the game’s first score. Scott Hannan stretched a pass to Alex Ovechkin in the second, who then beat Henrik Lundqvist on the backhand. Alex Semin’s one-timer off Marcus Johansson made the score 3-0, which should have been the final. But then this happened:
About a minute later, Wojtek Wolski finally got one past Michal Neuvirth. Oh well. Caps beat Rangers 3-1. Series score: 4-1. The Capitals advance to the next round, but first comes a few days of well deserved rest.
The Capitals won this short series because they played their brand of hockey: getting pucks deep in the offensive zone, cycling until the defense got nauseated, crashing the net, and generally being bad asses in their own zone. On the other hand, the Rangers had neither their signature toughness behind the goal line or any offensive threat tonight, and that might have made all the difference. Those extended shifts in the OZ early on set a tone of this game that never quit. A triumphant and exuberant win for a team that badly needed an early victory in the first round.
And that’s the story of the quarterfinals. We don’t know yet who our second round opponent will be, but we know we’ll have a rested and focused team ready to face them. We may yet see the return of Mike Knuble (hand) or Dennis Wideman (leg) or Tom Poti (jkjkjktotallynotcomingback). But first: downtime. Let’s put to rest the Madison Square Garden drama, the Sean Avery ad hominem attacks, the hay-making hack pieces about Boudreau’s job security or the Alexes’ playoff production.
Four down. On to the next round.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland and we totally ripped off some of Neil’s tweets, too.
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