One Game at a Time: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers—Game One

xx yySenior Writer IApril 16, 2009

WASHINGTON - MARCH 27:  Brian Pothier #2 of the Washington Capitals skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 27, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In honor of the playoffs starting and my inability to study during exam time, I figured that revitalizing the live-blog during game one of the Washington Capitals/New York Rangers series would be a perfect distraction.

The scenarios, people, and places are real. So is the fact that I said the Rangers would win game one.

But I'm only saying...

7:00:

It’s the NHL playoffs on TSN! Complete with headshots of this year’s featured stars, Jarom Iginla, Jose Theodore, Zdeno Chara, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, Carey Price, and Jeremy Roenick all gave their thoughts on playoff hockey.

Of those players though, Roenick’s seemed the most heartfelt. Every time he talks about the Stanley Cup finals, it seems like the thought of him not making it back there crushes him emotionally—as it should, I mean this is big.

All of those years of Leaf-beating aside from when he was a Philadelphia Flyer, here’s hoping he can make an impact.

7:03:

TSN starts the show off with shots of—strangely enough—my two keys for New York Ranger success: Sean Avery and Henrik Lundqvist.

That, and James Duthie just said—of Alexander Ovechkin, “He’s done it all except win in this league”.

Well duh. He’s been to the playoffs once before.

Sorry, I like Duthie. Maybe I’m just bitter, or hungover.

7:04:

Ray Ferraro and Gord Miller start the show off, and we’ve got early news: Chris Drury is scratched. At least my fantasy season is over. Ray Ferraro says that the Washington Capitals’ dressing room is in a different place than it was last year.

Then again, so is Patrick Thoresen’s groin.

7:05:

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Our first reference to the Avery rule tonight! Are there more on the way?

Who knows? On the bright side, John Tortorella is only slightly less ornery as a coach than as an analyst.

When asked, “How do you stop Alexander Ovechkin without obsessing over him?”

He answered with, “By doing just that.”

Maybe not an angry answer, but you could just hear the words “I’m not answering that” or “These are ‘The Quiz’ questions that I always thought were dumb” coming out of his mouth.

I want Torts mic’d up!!

7:09:

No surprise with the starting goalies: Henrik Lundqvist and Jose Theodore who, according to Gord Miller, has never lost an opening round series at 4-0. Weird. And we all think he sucks.

7:10:

Dan Girardi is getting the first penalty of the series, so the best powerplay takes on the best penalty kill. Drama anyone?

7:11:

Lundqvist makes his first big save of the series on Ovie. I bet there’s more to come.

7:14:

The first successful penalty kill of the night for the Rangers!

7:16:

A big hit along the boards, and then another huge save from Lundqvist. Looks like he’ll be busy.

7:18:

Seriously. It’s a sea of red in Washington and man, is it loud. And man, are the Caps buzzing. This is going to be a series that’s as free-flowing as it gets.

7:23:

5-1. The Caps are out-shooting the Rangers by four, and outplaying them like mad. So much so that Jose Theodore is throwing outlet passes out there too, which almost leads to the Caps scoring.

I'm worried he may get too concerned with nabbing points and may forget to stop the puck

7:26:

The Rangers have another penalty coming to them and John Tortorella has what, I used to dub in my early writing days as the “Paul Maurice face”. In other words, he looks like he just sat on a seagull.

7:28:

Apparently today was Kevin Lowe’s birthday. He fired one of his oldest friends.

Then his cake fell out of the box in the street. Well, that didn’t happen, but still, you fire your best friend and then tell me how your birthday is.

7:33:

The Rangers best chance just happened when they clanked one off the iron. Then they grabbed the puck in their own end and went back down the ice, missed the net, and Ovie led another rush with a classic between the legs move to drive in on Lundqvist.

7:36:

So Mike Green just took a delay of game penalty, and the Rangers get their first power play, and I frankly don’t know how Theodore can see a thing—the Rangers are doing a great job of getting to the front of the net.

7:40:

I had the chance to go to Washington for game two. Now that I just saw Alexander Ovechkin lay a ginormous hit on Korpikosky, I have to ask: Why does being poor keep getting in the way of stuff?

7:42:

Owner Ted Leonsis went on record saying that if the Caps don’t win a series this year, it’s an embarrassment. Strong words, but how nice is it to have an owner who’s committed to the game?

That being said, if I could create a list of prospective owners to make the NHL more entertaining, here it is:

Leonsis, Mark Cuban, Al Davis, Ralph Wilson, Hank Steinbrenner, Rachel Phelps (Major League), Jim Balsille, Marge Schott, Robert Kraft, and Harold Ballard.

The combined age of Schott, Ballard, Davis, and Wilson? 984.

It’s also probably the strangest four-some of all time.

I need a drink.

7:46:

Scoring update: Pittsburgh is up 1-0 over Philadelphia. Strange goal, but to me it looks like he kicks it to his stick and redirects it from there. I could complain about him running Martin Biron, but it also looks like he got shoved in by the Flyers defenseman.

7:47:

I could start talking about the Craig MacTavish firing right now—like the intermission show on TSN—but let’s keep it relevant: Molly Gannon of the Washington Post wants fans to know that you can send your mobile photos and captions to capsphotos@wpost.com.

So for all of you people out there attending Caps games, snap a few shots! Maybe they’ll end up on www.washingtonpost.com/capitals!

7:51:

Following some more awkward NHL.com commercials, we get bonus coverage of the New Jersey Devils vs. the Carolina Hurricanes!

Seriously, there’s way too much red in the world today.

7:54:

There are empty seats in New Jersey. To watch Martin Brodeur in the playoffs, there are empty seats.  I’d be appalled by that if I wasn’t thinking about how Doc and Chico (Doc Emrick and Chico Resch) is the perfect name for either a radio morning show, or a late 70’s, early 80’s sitcom.

Alan Alda is now wishing he had thought of that when M*A*S*H finished up.

7:59:

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re back to game action with the Capitals and Rangers.

The bad news? I have a sneaking suspicion that Ray Ferraro doesn’t drive a Ferrari. That’d just be too perfect wouldn’t it?

8:02:

There’s a Buffalo Sabres jersey circa 1999 at the game tonight. She’s getting a pretzel.

Someone went the wrong way down the I-95.

Editors note: Bryan isn’t American. He doesn’t know Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, he doesn’t know who the founding fathers are, and he doesn’t know which way the I-95 runs so don’t be offended.

Given the choice, I’d take cheesecake over apple-pie! Take that!


8:04:

This Ranger power play is brought to you by Gillette: keeping the heads of athletes and coaches smooth as silk since 1974.

8:06:

The power play hasn’t been overly intriguing so far, but we’ve got news out of New Jeresy! Mike Mottau has scored!! MIKE MOTTAU!!!!!!!!

Somewhere Anders Ericksson is thinking “I can get a hat-trick!” as the Rangers draw a third penalty.

8:08:

Remember that Thoresen reference? Green nearly did the same thing to Blair Betts on the power play.

8:10:

POOOOOOOWWWEERRRRR PLLLLLLAAAYYYYY GOOAAAALLLLL ALEXANDER OVECHKIN!!!

As the chants of  “MVP” rain down, Ovechkin is shining at the right time.

Amendment: The goal was later awarded to Tomas Fleischmann.

8:11:

Right after, Lundqvist makes a quick kick save as the Caps keep buzzing.

8:12:

Don’t count them out ladies and gentlemen! Scott Gomez has the Rangers back in this one on, well, surprise, surprise, questionable tactics by Sean Avery.

Avery skated in behind the Capitals defense and clipped Mike Green on the way by to get Gomez more room to work with. So far King Henrik and Captain Vogue are doing their jobs.

8:15:

There aren’t too many recaps on sports shows, or too many lame inside jokes, or graphics that are too intense or cheesy.

I need a Bud Light and some cheese.

Score update: Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 0.

8:20:

The American Association of Lip Readers just fined John Tortorella $4,500—a dollar for every dirty word he just used. Thanks HD TV!!

Aaron Voros is off for interference.

8:23:

Henrik Lundqvist just officially found his “wow” factor. He’s all over the crease and doing an outstanding job of keeping the low shots out. In addition to “Enjoyable team owners in the NHL” I’d throw Shaquille O’Neil in there.

Sure he’s not an owner (yet), and if he ever was to become one it probably wouldn’t be in the NHL (but this is a fantasy league ok?) but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone better wouldn’t you? Dance parties, annual “Dress Like Craig Sager” days, free CDs to each of the first 10,000 fans? We can’t lose!!!

Gary Bettman, MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

In fact, I’m scheduling the first-ever “Dress like Craig Sager” day for tomorrow: Pink jackets and striped ties galore!

8:28:

Sean Avery got clipped by John Erskine so the Rangers go to the power play. Whether they score or not, we can only hope the stick to the chops went towards shutting Avery up.

With our luck, it’ll only egg him on more as Shaone Morrisonn (Seriously? Spell-check now hates me) just creamed his man in along the boards. Now THAT’S playoff hockey.

8:29:

The Rangers score, and Nik Antropov just stabbed every Leaf fan in the heart, lifting that puck over Theodore’s shoulder.

If he wins a cup, I quit. What I’m quitting I don’t know, but I’ll find something.

Unless it costs money. In which case, I’ll bill him.

2-1 Rangers as Sergei Fedorov gets the second Washington delay-of-game penalty of the night.

8:32:

Wow, Markus Naslund makes it 3-1. I know I said I was giving the Rangers game one, but Jose Theodore isn’t giving me much faith for the rest of the series.

8:34:

Mike Green just slammed Fredrik Sjostrom. Now if only they could slam a few past Lundqvist.

8:35:

Maybe that hit marked a momentum shift? Right after that hit, the Caps take a minute to spread out the Rangers, find some room, and Viktor Kozlov is able to tip his first career playoff goal past Lundqvist. 3-2 Rangers.

8:37:

As the second period winds down, the intermission show is being plugged with James Duthie. I however, have my own intermission show.

Actually, I don’t. However, I would like to say that everyone whose surprised, shocked, or caught off guard by the fact that Brian Burke is after the first, or second, or third, or fourth, or fifth, or sixth overall pick in this year’s draft is probably in the same group of people who were caught off guard when Clay Aiken came out.

I mean, the Leafs need a forward who can score, and not only that, but every team would love to take a shot every year at the first overall draft pick. Do you think Pittsburgh wouldn’t be interested in John Tavares?

Do you think the Detroit Red Wings wouldn’t want John Tavares? I didn’t think so.

8:41:

Words that make me laugh when Darren Dutchyshen says them: Clapper.

8:50:

3-0 New Jersey over Carolina.

8:55:

The Avery interference call on Gomez's goal is still coming up. As it should be.

And because the Capitals want the refs to keep thinking it over, they loosened one of the stantions to create a delay. Smart. Except this happened a half a period ago, and you can’t re-call an un-called penalty.

Why fans are selective: former Bleacher Report writer Greg Caggiano's Facebook status: "About eight missed calls for the Caps tonight".

So what? That one was the most obvious, and led to a goal. And it was Sean Avery. That's three strikes right there!

8:58:

Apparently Energizer batteries are now sponsoring shot-blocking. Strange things happen during maintenance timeouts.

9:00:

We may not have had another reference to the Avery-screening issue from last year, but we just had a Washington Nationals reference!

It wasn’t anything special though: Ray Ferraro just said that the fans “won’t be cheering for the Nats anytime soon.”

Watch Manny Acta get fired and the Nats and their new manager go on a Bruce Boudreau-like streak of dominance. Washington power play, started off by a Great-Eight howitzer.

9:02:

3-3!! WELCOME TO THE PLAYOFFS ALEXANDER SEMIN!!

On essentially a follow-the-bouncing-puck play, Lundqvist was hung out to dry, making a series of quality saves before the puck bounced to Semin at the left side of the net.

Not only is it the game-tying goal, but it’s the first time the Rangers have given up two power play goals in the same game in 30 games, and we still have 15 minutes to go!!

9:07:

The game has opened up again as the Caps just shot a puck wide on an odd-man rush. Ovechkin just had a pass bounce over his stick so the Washington pressure is starting to resemble that of the first period.

9:13:

Apparently, Washington has been a busy city lately. Along with Capitals hockey, they’ve also hosted the Frozen Four (which they had to scrape off, and repaint all of the NHL logos on the ice apparently) and a Grateful Dead concert as well.

For some reason I now want to listen to Rush. Which reminds me: If there’s ever a night without playoff hockey on, go see I Love You Man—exceptionally funny movie in which Paul Rudd does a great job.

Power play for the Caps. Again. Naslund you schmuck.

9:18:

Wow. The Rangers killed the penalty, played the puck up to Naslund, across to Brandon Dubinsky who side-steps Jeff Schultz—who proceeds to fall down—and Jose Theodore is beaten high-blocker side.

If the Rangers can keep putting the puck there this series, the Caps could have a problem. 4-3 Rangers. Then again, if the Rangers are winning, the Caps have a problem right now too.

9:22:

Ovechkin unleashes another huge shot. Jobs I could never do: Simon Cowell’s hair-dresser, valet, and NHL goalie. Or at least being the goalie playing against Alexander Ovechkin or the Pittsburgh Penguins who now lead Philadelphia 4-0.

Naslund takes another penalty. That’s three!

9:29:

Another power play falls by the wayside without a Capital’s goal. It’s something strange to hear, but when you consider that the Capitals of all teams are 2-7, the words “missed” and “opportunities” come to mind.

9:32:

The shot on Lundqvist is tipped in a strange angle, but he’s still able to make another quality save on Alexander Ovechkin’s 13th shot of the night.

Low and behold, Sean Avery just hacked at Jose Theodore’s glove. Needless to say, the Caps are now in his face and obviously not happy.

9:36:

Well, thanks to a huge blocked shot by Ryan Callahan on Alexander Ovechkin, the Rangers survived a late flurry by the Capitals (who had six attackers) and preserved a game one win for Broadway.

So far, everything that was promised was delivered: Sean Avery was a pain, Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding, and Jose Theodore had…well…an interesting time of it.

Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with Bryan you can do so through his profile, or email him at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. You can also check out all of his previous work in his archives, and at HockeyBarn.com.