CAPITALS DFEFENSEMAN TOM POTI HAS FOUR-POINT NIGHT AGAINST FORMER TEAM
The Washington Capitals built a 3-1 first period lead, thanks to goals from three different defensemen, and cruised to a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden to even the best-of-seven series at three games apiece.
For the second year in a row, the Capitals have come from behind in a series to force a Game Seven at home. Washington hopes this season the result will be different.
Milan Jurcina, Mike Green, and Tom Poti all got the puck past the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, who looked all but impenetrable earlier in the series. Viktor Kozlov and Alex Ovechkin each added second period markers, and for the second straight game Lundqvist watched the third period from the bench.
"He can't play every game like a god," Ovechkin said of Lundqvist, who had stopped 141-of-149 shots in the first four games when the Rangers grabbed a 3-1 series lead. "He can't save the game all the time."
Simeon Varlamov made 29 saves for the win. New York out-shot Washington 32-22, but the Caps only had two shots on goal in the third period due to playing short-handed much of the frame, as they took four minor penalties.
But the Rangers did very little with all that power-play time, as they went 2-for-8 with the advantage for the game.
Tom Poti, who toiled for the Rangers before joining the Capitals, was the player of the game. In addition to his goal, he had three helpers, and logged 23:46, most on the squad.
The game had several interesting sub-plots as well, with a couple that will bear further scrutiny.
First, the Rangers played without coach John Tortorella, who was suspended for Game Six as a result of his altercation with fans during Game Five at Verizon Center.
Tortorella was caught on camera throwing a water bottle and brandishing a stick at fans behind the bench.
That prompted the Rangers organization to file a letter with the Commissioner's Office requesting an inquiry into the security at Verizon Center. It read, in part:
"...we respectfully request that you consider appropriate discipline in light of Washington's gross negligence in ensuring the safety of the personnel on the Rangers' bench, including Coach Tortorella, in the face of the Rangers' repeated requests for intervention against egregious fan misconduct during Game 5. "
The email to Commissioner Gary Bettman continued:
"...several people seated immediately behind the visitors' bench took advantage of the looseness of the glass panels and the unusually wide gaps between the panels to assault the Rangers with some of the most obscene language imaginable. Because of the way the glass is installed, the patron sitting behind Coach Tortorella (the gray-haired, bearded man in the white T-Shirt) could literally scream into the coach's ear. According to Rangers trainer Jim Ramsay, one patron was screaming at the team, in graphic language, about whether Dan Girardi and Marc Staal have a sexual relationship. This was within earshot of several children seated nearby. Several other fans also made repeated homophobic remarks. Moreover, Mr. Ramsay reported that he and other bench personnel were spit on by one or more "fans" as they yelled through the gaps in the glass. "
The Game Six controversies started in the pre-game skate, as Donald Brashear had words with Rangers' tough guy Colton Orr at center ice. As Brashear started away, he gave Orr a shove with his stick and glove.
Physical altercations during pre-games skates are expressly forbidden and the incident is just part of Brashear's conduct that will be reviewed from this game.
Late in the first period, Brashear laid out Rangers forward Blair Betts with a vicious hit from his shoulder to Betts' upper body, knocking the ace penalty killer to the ice, and he needed assistance to the locker room. He is doubtful for Game Seven.
The check, which did not earn a penalty, came as Betts had cleared the puck and was starting to turn for the bench. He never saw Brashear coming.
In the second period, Brandon Dubinsky ran at Mike Green from behind, sending Green head-first into the boards. Shaone Morrisonn came to Green's defense, and according to the Rangers interim coach Jim Schoenfeld, Dubinsky needed a tetanus shot from Morrisonn biting him.
Game Seven is Tuesday night at Verizon Center at 7:00 p.m. Extra security for the Rangers bench is expected.
07:09 Milan Jurcina (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Laich, Steckel
08:15 Power-Play - Scott Gomez (2), Tip-In. Assist: Redden, Avery
13:58 Power-Play - Mike Green (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Semin, Poti
17:14 Tom Poti (2), Tip-In. Assist: Steckel, Gordon
09:21 Viktor Kozlov (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Poti, Fedorov
16:44 Power-Play - Alex Ovechkin (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Poti, Backstrom
04:21 Power-Play - Ryan Callahan (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Morris, Gomez
19:54 Marc Staal (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Korpikoski, Sjostrom
1. T. Poti - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 3)
2. S. Varlamov - WAS (Saves: 29, Save Pct: .906)
3. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 0