August 8, 2020

Washington Capitals Second Round Game 6 Recap: Capitals melt down in first period, Rangers force Game 7

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL GOES TO DECIDING SEVENTH GAME IN MANHATTAN

Down 4-1 in the third period, the Washington Capitals furiously tried to dig themselves out of the hole they had dug themselves into, trimming the deficit to just one with still over nine minutes to play. But despite being awarded a misgiven late power play, the Caps could not find the equalizer and fell to the New York Rangers 4-3, forcing Game 7 Wednesday night back at Madison Square Garden.

Faced with elimination for the second game in a row, the Rangers proved to be the more desperate team Sunday night — at least for the first 20 minutes of the game and first five minutes of the third period.

The atmosphere before the faceoff resembled a rock concert, with over 18,000 Washington Capitals fans screaming “Let’s Go Caps!” at the top of their lungs. For a few moments, they urged their team on to victory like head coach Barry Trotz has implored them to do for three weeks.

By the time 20 minutes had come and gone, Verizon Center was as lifeless as the team it hosts, as the Rangers scored two early deflating goals — one 40 seconds into the period and the second with 0.3 seconds remaining.

Chris Kreider scored the two dagger-like goals at highly inopportune moments for the Capitals, who had hoped to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1998. Just 40 seconds in, Kreider got behind the Washington defense and turned Washington netminder Braden Holtby inside-out. Kreider then beat the first-period buzzer later on with Holtby helpless on the ice to take all the air out of the arena.

Jason Chimera scored the Caps’ first goal after Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist got in the way of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s deflection of a Joel Ward shot, but Chimera got a stick on it and poked it past the longtime Washington nemesis to temporarily bring some life to 7th & F.

Rick Nash and Dan Boyle made it 3-1 and 4-1, respectively, in the opening stages of the third. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Joel Ward gave the Washington fans in attendance a good glimmer of hope with 9:27 remaining.

The Caps went 0 for 4 on the power play, with a system that was deliberate to a fault and generated just five shots on net.

Washington will spend Wednesday in New York, attempting to avoid extending their NHL record for lost 3-1 series leads to five. The game will start at 7:30 p.m.

Full story coming later tonight.

About Eric Hobeck

Eric Hobeck is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Capitals. Eric contributes to high school sports coverage at InsideNova.com. He served as sports editor of The Rotunda at Longwood University for two years, where he was also the men’s basketball beat writer. He hosted a campus radio show for three years and called basketball and baseball games for the station’s award-winning sports team. You can follow Eric on Twitter @eric_hobeck.

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