The good and the bad from Game 2 of Caps-Rangers
I’m always glad when an afternoon game ends well so the rest of the night isn’t spent brooding.
Here’s some thoughts in the immediate aftermath:
1) Braden Holtby. Again, not much else needs to be said. Aside from a couple of lackadaisical passes to his defense, he was on tonight. He also benefited from a bit less work, as I thought the Caps defense as a whole played better. Even when Nash hit the post, I thought Holtby’s decision to poke at the last second caused Nash to change his shot ever so slightly. Nothing like a big 1-0 win in OT for your first playoff shutout. It’s interesting that he told reporters after the game he didn’t even realize it was his first. Shows you just how focused he is.
2) Steve Oleksy. He continues to show up night in and night out. A great hipcheck, a great pass to Chimera in the slot, etc. Even when he gets beat, he’s somehow able to get back into position. I’ve never really been sold on him over Orlov, but it’s beginning to look more and more likely that it will be Hillen and Orlov battling it out next year.
3) Adam Oates. He continues to push all the right buttons. His players ooze confidence, and I think a lot of it has to do with their coach. They all LOOK happy too, which they obviously were not last year all the time. His post-game press conference was so refreshing today. “It’s hard for me to tell players to shoot the puck when I never did.” Reminds us fans that we can second guess all we want, but in the heat of the moment, even the coach knows its tough. He also sounds like the Dalai Lama after listening to Tortorella.
4) Green OT Winner . That is all.
1) John Erskine. Probably the only thing I will criticize Oates/Calle for is continuing to play this guy so much. He’s just too slow, especially against quick Rangers forwards like Stepan, Callahan and Nash. I’m still scratching my head over the amount of money given to him mid-season.
2) Backstrom/Johansson. Too much passing from them today. They aren’t playing terribly (although Backstrom is still not looking like himself yet this series), but they aren’t playing well either. Obviously Oates says you can’t blame the players for not shooting in the heat of the moment, but at some point they need to make better decisions.
3) Henrik Lundqvist. This is “bad” in the sense of being a Caps fan. He was brilliant today. Aside from that 7 minute stretch in Game 1, he’s been nearly perfect. Fortunately Holtby (and some timely posts) have been slightly better. If he keeps playing this way, the Rangers have to feel good about winning both games at home.
4) Second Line. I’m still not feeling it. They didn’t play horribly and they continue to show flashes where they keep the Rangers buried in their zone for long periods of time. But I still think they need to get on the same page. Erat needs to look for his shot a bit more as right now he and Ribeiro are playing almost the same game.
5) The 3rd period. For as good as the 1st, 2nd, and OT were, the 3rd was kind of a snoozer. Only five shots a piece and lots of chess moves out there.
6) The Delay of Game Rule. I don’t hate the rule, I just think it needs tweaking. Only obvious shots and passes over the glass should be called. The fact that Alzner conceivably COULD have gotten a penalty for attempting to poke the puck out of the reach of Dorsett is kind of silly.
All in all, it was a great game for the Caps. I had more in the Bad column, only because it was hard to single out players for good games tonight. Alex Ovechkin was stellar as always, and I thought the third and fourth line played better than their counterparts from NY. That’s all you can ask them to do this time of year.
Up 2-0 in the series, let’s go get one at MSG.
Posted on May 6, 2013, in NHL, Washington Capitals and tagged Adam Oates, Alexander Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Henrik Lundqvist, John Erskine, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Steve Oleksy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.