Caps 6, Rangers 3 - Caps Win Contentious Game at MSG and Eliminate Rangers
I apologize I have not been posting as much the last week or two. My full-time job has been hectic lately. Today I will recap very generally the last week or so for the Capitals and also recap the game tonight against the Rangers.
The Capitals swept the Islanders in an impressive three-game set and then lost both games to the Penguins to follow later in the week. The Capitals have in large part been short-handed the last week or two. Ovechkin and Carlson missed about three games each. Schultz was out for a bit as well. It was the first game Ovechkin has ever missed against the Penguins in his career. With the OT loss to the Penguins on Thursday. The Capitals clinched a playoff birth. Thank you, Tom Wilson! More on him later. Now that the Capitals have clinched, the most important thing is to get healthy and get into a groove of playing consistent playoff style hockey.
The Capitals remaining games are as follows:
Wednesday 05/05 @ NYR
Friday 05/07 vs PHI
Saturday 05/08 vs PHI
Tuesday 05/11 vs BOS
With the Penguins loss tonight, the Capitals are back in the driver seat for the division. But lets be real, who really cares about the division title. If anything it has been the kiss of death for the Capitals the last 13 years. At this point, all I care about is getting healthy and getting our goalies to step up to another level.
Capitals vs Rangers Recap:
Short-handed Capitals Knotch Six Goals – The Capitals were missing many starters in the game tonight. Oshie was out for personal reasons. Kuznetsov was forced to sit as team discipline for being late to a meeting or something. Cmon Kuzy, really?! Ovechkin returned from injury but only lasted 39 seconds before reinjuring himself. The short-handed Capitals were up to the task tonight. It was an all around effort from the team from top to bottom. The Rangers had some tough turnovers this game that led directly to goals. To the Capitals credit, the Caps also had some great shifts with long zone time and eventually were able to take advantage of tired Rangers defenders and bury the biscuit in the back of the net.
Tom Wilson –I wont say much about the theatrics but I will give my honest and of course bias opinion. Many of you surely have seen the play after the whistle. Wilson punched Buchnevich when his head was already on the ice. Then an all-out brawl ensued. In the chaos of the brawl, Wilson threw Panarin to the ground and Panarin didn’t have his helmet on. Not a great look in the heat of the moment. Here are my thoughts. The punch to Buchnevich was uncalled for and disrespectful. Worhy of suspension? Nope. Throwing Panarin to the ground could have and should have EASILY been avoided. The entire sequence from start to finish was a matter of seconds and went from 0 to 100 real fast. It escalated quickly to say the least. That being said, I am confident Wilson will not get suspended for that either. Feel free to insert all your slow mo shots and clips on why I am wrong. Questionable stuff from Wilson per usual but nothing worthy of a suspension. As a Capitals fan, I am incredibly disappointed with the lack of discipline Wilson showed tonight.
As it relates to the game, the brawl galvanized the Capitals and they went on to outscore the Rangers 4-0 the rest of the game. Panarin did not play the third period for what was described at the time as a "lower body" injury. Tom Wilson of all people scored the empty netter that ultimately sealed the Rangers fate and eliminated them from the playoffs.
Michael Raffl - I haven’t had a chance to talk about Raffl much but he has been a very underrated pickup for the Capitals. He makes plays on both ends of the ice. Tonight he had two assists but he also was responsible for a number of key backchecks that broke up some of the Rangers breakout opportunities. I love this addition and I want him to be a key part of the lineup when everyone is healthy.
The Rangers - Although the Rangers did not make the playoffs, they should be right in the mix again next year and likely will be firmly in the hunt for top three in the division. This team is scary good and it’s unfortunate they did not make the postseason. In any other division the Rangers would be in. I have nothing but mad respect for the New York and I look forward to watching them next year as well. Maybe if Zibanejad doesn’t get off to a slow start or if Panarin doesn’t take time off for all those crazy Russian allegations maybe JUST MAYBE, this team would have made the playoffs this year. They had their chance against the Islanders in two games last week and failed to score a goal in either game.
Thanks for Readings. GO CAPS