The Washington Capitals were out shot, out hit, out played by the New York Rangers and only lost by one. Regardless, they lost, by a 4-3 count. This series is tied at 2 heading back to D.C.
– The Caps had two opportunities with the extra-man in the first period and the troubles they had at the end of Game 3 carried over. With the Rangers all but daring Ribeiro and Backstrom to shoot the puck, overplaying Ovechkin and Green, there was precious little puck movement and few quality chances. They got two shots on goal on the two power plays combined.
– Braden Holtby loves to play the puck, and this time he paid for it. It wasn’t so much coming out of his goal to play the puck — that probably wasn’t the worst thing he could do there. But instead of safely playing up the left wing wall, where John Erskine was waiting without a Ranger to defend, Holtby chose for the home run pass across the crease to the right wing side. Inexcusable.
– The coincidental minors at the end of the period was, simply, a joke. Erat earned the hooking call when Stepan got a step on the winger. But the “charging” call Ovechkin received was bunk. At full speed, the play looked dangerous and all, but the fact of the matter is Ovechkin clipped Stepan when he was off-balance, leading to the collision. Ovechkin didn’t target the head, there was in fact no contact with the head, and there was no reason for the second penalty other than the spectacular looking collision.
– At the time of the Rangers second goal in the second period, they were outshooting the Caps 21-8. Yup.
– Great effort by both Jason Chimera, to win the puck along the boards and pay the price on the hit by Eminger, and Ward with the skill move around the fallen defense, to get the puck to Perreault on the far post for the Caps first goal.
– Beauty backhand by Brouwer on the tying goal, but credit to Ribeiro — without his stick — and Mike Green at the point for keeping the offensive zone. The goal was a culmination of all four lines consecutively keeping possession in the Rangers end. It was the first succession of puck possession for the Caps all game and it resulted in the tying goal.
– On the power play caused by a needless cross-check by Chimera at the end of the second period, Holtby didn’t respect Dan Girardi from the point, half-playing the long shot and he paid for it. Holtby made some incredible saves in this one, but just as many poor ones.
– The Caps top line was caught on the ice on an icing play, could not get the puck out of their own end on the ensuing face-off and the result was the Rangers fourth goal.
– Despite a valiant final 12 minutes when the Caps owned play, they just couldn’t find the equalizer after the two early third period goals. The better team on the ice Wednesday night won.
It was a clunker on the road. Let it go. Step back off the ledge. Game 5 is back at Verizon Center Friday night. Doesn’t get much bigger than that.