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Unbelievable Overtime Win!

By Rodger M. WoodJason Chimera 1Down 3-0 after two periods in the fourth game of the quarterfinal playoffs at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, the Caps rallied for three goals in the third period sending the game into double overtime, when Caps forward Jason Chimera’s clutch goal at the 12:46 mark beat the overwhelmed Rangers 4-3.The game’s outcome was truly bleak after Rangers Brandon Dubinsky scored his second goal of the series to make the score 3-0 midway through the second period. During the regular season, New York was a formidable 29-0-0 when leading after the second period.But fate had dealt Coach Boudreau a better hand. Before the game, he replaced an injured Mike Knuble with Chimera on the Backstrom/Ovechkin line and Chimera with Eric Fehr on the Marcus Johanssen/Brooks Laich line.Marcus Johanssen scored two goals in the third period and Chimera was in Knuble’s place on the ice when he scored the winning goal.Alexander Semin started the Caps goal surge at the 2:47 mark of the third period with his second goalof the series.After the game, Chimera said his sudden death winning goal was almost as good as getting married or having a baby. It was also his second winning goal of the series.The first period was scoreless, the fourth in a row in the series in which the two teams did not score in the first period.After a miserable second period, the Caps started knocking the Rangers around again, and getting pucks and forwards Semin, Johanssen, and Chimera on net in front of Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundvquist.In the third period, Rangers young defensemen made mistakes which led to the Caps goals. Semin intercepted rookie Ryan McDonagh errant pass to score, Johanssen was by himself in front of the net for both his goals, and Chimera got behind Lundvquist and Marc Staal to score the game winner.The Caps put 53 shots on the Rangers net, had another 28 blocked and missed 22 while the Rangersput 39 shots on Neuvy, had 21 blocked and missed 12. Brooks Laich took a shot defending a second period power play, which almost disabled him.Keeping the Caps in the game, Neuvy stopped 31/34 shots in regulation, 13/13 in overtime, and 36/39 for the game, while King Lundvquist stopped 49/53 in regulation and 18/19 in overtime.Slumping along with most of the other Caps in the second period, rookie defenseman John Carlson teamed up with defense partner Karl Alzner to play brilliant defense in the third and both overtime periods. He and Jeff Schultz blocked five shots each.By the end of the third period both teams had thrown over 100 hits, the Rangers 61 and the Caps 47. Matt Bradley led the Caps with 7 hits, while 6-7 giant Brian Boyle led the Rangers with 10. Except for Johanssen, every Cap on the ice hit someone.In the first two periods, the Caps had five minor penalties, but settled down for only one minor in the third, and one for too many men on the ice in overtime.The Caps rolled four lines and 3 pairs of defensemen in the game wearing down the opposition. John Carlson played a team high of 34:50, while Rangers leader Joe Girardi played 39:45 minutes.Ahead 3 games to one, the Capitals hope to end the series in a matinee game 3:30 Saturday at the Verizon Centre.

Rangers Outgoon Caps 3-2

By Rodger M. Wood52 Mike GreenThe Caps retaliated to Rangers goon tactics in a hostile Madison Square Gardens, got caught and gave up too many power plays, forgot how to check and block shots, and lost a Gotham street fight 3-2.While the Rangers scored on only one of them, the young Caps gave up eight power plays, two of which were 5 on 3’s. Boyd Gordon and the penalty kill unit were worn down chasing down the likes of Erik Christensen, Marian Gaborak, Brandon Dubinsky, Bryan McCabe, and Vinny Prospal.In the first period, the Caps penalty kill unit held on to kill a 5 on 3 in the last minute and a half of the period. At the buzzard, the score was still 0-0, and it was the third playoff game in a row between these two teams in which there was no goals scored in the first period.At the 5:30 mark of the second period with Mike Green off in the sin bin for a hook, Erik Christensen broke the Caps long penalty kill streak and the Rangers got their first power play goal in the last thirty – three attempts to go ahead 1-0.The parade to the penalty box continued in the second period with John Carlson (cross check), Alex Ovechkin (hook), and Scott Hannan (hold) going off to the penalty box, effectively killing any momentum the Caps could build up in the period.However, at the 19:00 mark of the second period, Alex Ovechkin, assisted by Jason Arnott and Mike Green, raised our hope, putting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist, to tie the game up at 1-1.As Ovie was scoring the goal, “tough guy” Marc Stahl clobbered the side of the head of Mike Green, who just returned to the lineup from a concussion three games before. In defense of our Capitals, this was not the last time Stahl hit Green in the head in the game and was the type of play they retaliated to because the referees didn’t make the calls.At the 8:01 of the third period, Ranger center Vinny Prospal put the Rangers ahead, but after taking advantage of an “unusual” Ranger mistake on Marian Gaborak’s cross check penalty, Mike Knuble, assisted by Alex Ovechkin and Niklaus Backstrom, tied the score 2-2 at 14:48 mark.The game looked like another overtime contest, until Ranger forward Brandon Dubinsky carried the puck to the Capitals net at the 18:21 mark, cut into the crease, and shot the puck off Caps defenseman Karl Alzner’s shoulder and deflected by Ovie’s stick, into the net behind Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth to give the Rangers a dramatic win in Game 3.The Caps lost the game in the trenches. The Rangers outhit them 41- 29 for the night.While Caps goalie Neuvirth lost the duel to veteran adversary Henrik Lundqvist, he stopped 32 of 35 shots, and didn’t have a chance on the three goals that got past him. Failing to block shots and protect the young goaltender like the first two games, the Caps just allowed too many shots to go through on net.Before next game, the Caps need to regain focus, composure, remember how to check cleanly and block shots and not take so many penalties if they want game 3 to be in their win column. When they have won three games and are ahead 3-1 in a fourth game win with ten seconds to go in this series, Coach Boudreau can put DJ King on the ice across from Stahl. Maybe then we can see how tough Staal is.Playoff hockey is like a chess game. You have to change your moves every game, or the opposition catches up to you. The Rangers changed their moves last game and won. Let’s hope the Coach Boudreau changed the Capitals at practice today.The Caps/Rangers 4th Game is at 7:30 Wednesday at New York.Bookmark and Share

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Neuvy, Neuvy, Neuvy!

By Rodger M. WoodJason ArnottTrying to forget an overtime loss in the first game and silence the 20,000+ sea of red at the Verizon Center Friday night, the Rangers came out shooting, failed to get a puck past rookie goalie, Michal Neuvirth, and lost the second game of the quarterfinal playoffs 2-0.23-year old Neuvirth stopped 13 shots in the first period. Stymied by the Caps chokehold defense, the Rangers mustered only 9 shots on the net the second and third periods. Early in the game, a thunderous roar of “Neuvy, Neuvy, Neuvy” started greeting the fans’ new found hero every time he stopped a shot.Skating fast and furious, Caps third line of Brooks Laich, Marcus Johanssen, and Jason Chimera took charge of the ice in the second period. Assisted by line mates, Chimera gave the Caps a 1-0 lead at the 2:11 mark, and barreling into Ranger players the entire game, a psychological lift with 5 hits the rest of the game.Assisted by Mike Green, and Alex Ovechkin, Jason Arnott gave the Caps a power play insurance goal a couple minutes later. Whenever on the ice, it was reassuring to see Arnott and line mate, Marcos Sturm calmly playing veteran hockey.The Caps’ suffocating defense and tough back checking punished the Rangers. Ovie and Chimera set the tone with six and five hard hits each, and each other Capital, except Mike Green, made the Rangers keep their heads up with a hit each.MICHAL NEUVIRTH  Doing the little things necessary to win playoff games, John Erskine, Niklaus Backstrom, and Karl Alzner blocked three shots each. Late in the third period, Green blocked a hard shot from Rangers Russian Fedotenko to keep the Rangers from tying the game.Showing frustration In the second period, the Rangers started resorting to Coach Tortorella’s infamous goon tactics. Rangers biggest culprit, Sean Avery was seen bumping Neuvy every time he passed by him, including a couple times when the play was well down ice out of the referee’s sight. LW Brandon Prust kept trying to get things going with Erskine, and defenseman Marc Stahl took cheap shots on Ovie and Johanssen’s backs.But their tactics didn’t work and the Caps kept laying Brian Boyle and the rest of the Rangers out on the ice. They kept their cool preventing the NY goons from changing their winning ways. The result was a 2-0 shutout, a commanding 2 games to 0 lead in the series, and a strong hope to win two games in New York to win the series.The Caps/Rangers play the third game in a 3:00 PM matinee game at New York Sunday.Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman is back on the ice skating. The prognosis is that he could possibly return to play as early as a week.Bookmark and Share

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