The Washington Capitals continued their winning ways at Verizon Center with a 3-1 victory against the Rangers. Considering the Canucks were road weary and did not play very well against the Caps, this was probably their best effort of the season. The Caps are now 5-0-1 at the Phone Booth this season, and 11-0-1 dating back to last year.
Alex Ovechkin didn't score, but was again running over people on every other shift. He crushed Marc Staal and Paul Mara, and also had a good hit on Scott Gomez.
Tarik El-Bashir, TWP, Nov. 9, 2008:
Ovechkin, though, saw his career-long goal drought grow to nine games. He didn't factor into the scoring, but he was a threat all night. He led the Capitals with four hits.
"Alex will take care of himself," Boudreau said. "It's a moot point. He's playing hard."
Lundqvist played a brilliant game, and finished with 25 saves. He played a major role in keeping Ovechkin, the league’s reigning Hart Trophy winner who scored 62 goals a year ago, off the score sheet. Ovechkin now has gone a career-high nine consecutive games without scoring a goal, though he had plenty of great chances to score on Saturday.
Indeed, at 15:47 of the first, Ovechkin thrust his arms in the air after whipping a one-timer on net from between the circles believing that he had snapped his goal-scoring drought. But Lundqvist tightly squeezed his pads together, making a magnificent save, further frustrating the Russian sniper.
Playing an extremely up-tempo, physical game, the Caps jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
“They should have some credit for the first period,” Lundqvist said of the Capitals. “They did play really well, but I think we bounced back pretty good. Our best period was definitely the third period. ... We made it a little too easy for them in the first two periods.”
Renney agreed that the Capitals did most of their damage by the way they stormed out of the gate on Saturday.
“We thought Washington would come out that way, and when you get some tough calls, your tendency is to maybe to play it a bit safer, and you that's not the way to play this game,” he said. “The bottom line is you got to go after it. Ultimately, we did, but we were down 2-0 by that time.”
When called upon, Johnson was sharp in denying Callahan’s rising snap shot in the first, as well as clutch saves on Michal Rozsival, Wade Redden, and Nigel Dawes in the second. Blair Betts also created a good scoring chance from in close during the middle stanza; and he set off a shoving match between the two teams when he whacked away at Johnson’s pads trying to pry the puck loose after the save.
Perhaps spurred on by Betts, the Rangers played a more physical contest as the game progressed. Dubinsky and Marc Staal, who shook off a thunderous first period hit by Ovechkin that left him dazed for a moment, keyed the physical play in the third period that helped the Rangers nearly complete the comeback from a 2-0 deficit.
However, the Rangers were left frustrated by Johnson, Semin, and the calls that went against them when the final buzzer sounded.
Larry Brooks, NY Post, Nov. 8, 2008:
The Caps were engaged from the outset, crashing both the net and the netminder with impunity in assuming a 2-0 lead by 17:06. It was Michael Nylander early who landed atop Lundqvist, and it was Alexander Semin later who barreled into him, an act egregious enough to prompt the goaltender to chase referee Dan Marouelli when no call was made.
It did not help when Tom Poti scored the 2-0 goal less than a half-minute after Semin had crushed the King on his crown, sending the puck into the net after one of the pegs had come off its moorings. The decision by video review in Toronto to allow the goal to stand was as questionable as Marouelli's decision not to penalize Semin.
"There are some guys in this league who always get penalties [called] if they get touched," said Lundqvist. "Because I don't stay down [I don't].
"It was pretty clear. Of course I got a little upset."
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