The Washington Capitals imploded tonight at Madison Square Garden, getting absolutely blasted by the Rangers. With the loss, the Capitals drop their sixth consecutive game and are hanging on to a top seed in the East only through leading their weak division.
The Capitals came out hard in the first period, generating good pressure on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was up to the task. The Capitals once again were unable to convert on their opening power play opportunity, and conceded the first goal of the game, AGAIN, when Alex Frolov somehow beat three Capital defenders down low and dished the puck to Brandon Prust, who beat Semyon Varlamov with a sharp angle shot, one that the young Russian would probably like to have back. But that was only the beginning of the worst performance of Varly's young career. In the second period, the Rangers scored three goals in three minutes, one each off the stick of Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik, and Brandon Dubinsky. The Capitals continued to screw around in their own zone and not get anything done when they possessed the puck, and Alex Ovechkin tried to pull a card out of Sidney Crosby's book with a fight to get his team going. The Caps were gifted a power play a little more than halfway through the frame to try and make the contest interesting...but failed at that, too. Brandon Prust stole the puck off an errant Ovechkin pass in the offensive zone and fed it to Brian Boyle, who found a cutting Marc Staal for a shorthanded goal on the ensuing 2-on-1, effectively ending the game. The Rangers added two more in the third period from Ryan Callahan before the massacre ended with a final score of 7-0. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots for his 5th shutout, while Semyon Varlamov was simply dreadful, stopping 13 of 20.
I really don't even know what to say other than I don't think it can get much worse - but I've been saying that for the last week. The Capitals were utterly humiliated tonight in a way that we have not seen in a long, long time. After the first five minutes of the game, they were beaten to every puck, lost every battle along the boards, and were broken men by the time the game ended. They are getting shots, but are unable to finish. They limit their opponent to low shot totals, but the chances find the back of the net. This is just depressing to watch; and a total gut check time for this team. As a Caps fan, you have to try and find a positive, but you just can't. It's a helpless feeling. And it sucks.
The Capitals, if they survive what Bruce Boudreau is sure to do to them over the next two days, will face the Anaheim Ducks and superstars Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry at the Verizon Center on Wednesday before hitting the road for two tough road games in Boston and Ottawa on Saturday and Sunday. A huge, huge week for the boys in red.
Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!