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Game 3: Capitals 4, Rangers 0

The Capitals dominated from the start in a must-win Game 3 at Madison Square Garden tonight, beating the Rangers, 4-0, to stay alive in the postseason. New York leads the series, 2-1.

Alexander Semin scored twice and rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov was superb, extending his time without allowing a goal in this quarterfinal to 112 minutes and 16 seconds -- almost two hours. He had 33 saves tonight.

Here's the game summary and here's an early version of Tarik's game story, which will be updated soon. Also, Dan Steinberg points out SI.com's priceless headline, which indicates that Henrik Lundqvist led the Caps to a victory tonight. Good for him.

We'll have much more tonight, so stay tuned.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 20, 2009; 9:39 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps Are Back in It

Comments

Much better effort. I'm pleased with what went on tonight.

Posted by: CDon | April 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Great game! Thanks Varly!

Posted by: thomas20 | April 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Erskine should get the 3rd star after varly and Semin.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Three stars as listed on NHL.com:

1. Varlamov
2. Semin
3. Backstrom

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | April 20, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Who's getting sloppy seconds now Sean? His second chance is over give him the boot.

Posted by: benguiin43 | April 20, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Varlamov made some brilliant saves and actually looked more comfortable tonight than he did on Saturday, which is always great to see. I'm hoping his play starts affecting the Rangers.

I never believed Avery was much of a factor in the first two games, and I think it showed tonight. He became frustrated because he hasn't really been getting any kind of response from the Caps.

Gotta get Green and Flash on more solid footing for the next game. Keep Nylander benched. And continue to let Pothier (great game) play for Schultz for as long as the Caps remain in the playoffs.

Posted by: CDon | April 20, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Three more games like this one and I will be a happy camper.

I wonder if Avery figured that the refs had forgotten about him and he figured he could go back to being himself. Obvious tool is obvious.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | April 20, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Frommer's tried to tell you, but you just wouldn't listen.

Posted by: _828 | April 20, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

How about that, big big win for the good guys. I've been thinking that the Rangers haven't been very good throughout the series, we've just been that bad. We got to see how much better we really are from them tonight. Varly is the real deal and the defense was rock solid tonight, awesome awesome game.

Posted by: alee06 | April 20, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

.982 save percentage. Ha!


Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Avery should get a suspension for that. Did you all hear all the fans cheer when he left the ice.

Posted by: _828 | April 20, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Damn, I knew we would win, but not 4 to 0 !
Let's hear it for our coach who was not afraid to put a kid in goal after just one bad playoof game by his number one guy.
Go Caps

Posted by: sonikitty1 | April 20, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

He should definetely get a 1-game suspension.

And then he will return Friday AT home against us, and then smacked around by brash and erskine.

Varlamov needs a new mask. Full blown Caps with a Lokomotiv twist.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Based on all the other suspensions that have been handed out this post season I am sure he will get a suspension too.

Posted by: graig82 | April 20, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE VARLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY :)

Sean Avery is a loser and it's get to see him get all frustrated.

YEAH CAPS! Let's duplicate this game on Wednesday and come home with the series tied!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 20, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

_828: If the fans in NY are anything like the representatives they sent to my section in games 1 and 2, then I am not surprised at all that they would cheer Avery.

Not. At. All.

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | April 20, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

And fantastic to put 4 in on Henrik

Posted by: Sonyask | April 20, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Avery should get a suspension for that. Did you all hear all the fans cheer when he left the ice.

Posted by: _828


I agree, but the cheering shouldn't surprise you. Remember the game was played in New York!

Posted by: benguiin43 | April 20, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Varly needs a mask that features Gumby on it :)

Posted by: graig82 | April 20, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Great around team win, if Green can't get going this is gonna turn around in the Caps favor. Avery is a complete ass, but as long as he is giving the Caps power play, let him be an ass. If the Caps can score first and get three goals that should be enough to win the game. Torts basically plays two lines after the third period so the Rangers should start to wear down.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | April 20, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

this is odd, i just found this on the hershey, pa news paper web site:

for to rent. apartmentzy for subleases to new persons. no longer needs. includes a nicy set of brown pads for da goalies. low rubles per month. current tennant no come back, ever.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 20, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Anyway CONGRATZ TO VARLY WITH 1ST NHL and PO SHOOTOUT WIN :)
Varly carried hes Lokomotiv (Russian) team all the way to finals for a reason!

And Neuvy will be a solid goalie as well. A lot of people tell that and I start to belive them and Caps scouts who drafted him.

Posted by: Hazz | April 20, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

get=great

sorry, just too excited. I love Varly!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 20, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

1. Dave Barry once said you can tell what an advertiser means by considering the opposite of what they say. (e.g., "This is not your father's oldsmobile" means "Only a fart older than your grandfather would drive this; not even your father would.") In hockey this is "He is our #1 goalie" means "on the ice he's #2, on the bench: numero uno." Gentlemen, (and ladies), we have a star...

2. Too bad Avery got tossed. We'll have to wait until game 4 before Erskine separates his torso from his head. (Or maybe game 5 after Avery's next suspension...)

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 20, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Avery get the hardhat?

Posted by: cougcap | April 20, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

cheers to pothier who played outstanding tonight (karate chop excluded). blocked shots and steped up on dubinsky when he cleaned out flash. i would have had no problem if erskine had dropped avery in the end there (and i dont think the refs would have had a problem either). but the boys showed good restraint and just let avery be avery. i said it before, too much yapping at the refs will backfire on you and it did tonight.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 20, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1, LOL. Nicely done.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 20, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

gumby varly. =) that should be his new nickname.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 20, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

One other Avery thing: Did you see his mouth on penalty 2? "You [family blog] kidding me?" Shocked that a man with his pedigree, reputation and short leash didn't get the gate for that.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 20, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Avery is a Saint!

Posted by: SA-Town | April 20, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Saint " Richard"

Posted by: benguiin43 | April 20, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I am out of town for a wedding this weekend, so...

2 TICKETS SECTION 121/ ROW L FOR GAME 5!!!!
BEHIND THE PLAYER'S BENCH AND ONE ROW UO FROM THE TOP OF THE CAP'S TUNNEL!!!!

SHOOT ME AN E-MAIL FOR INFO:
NatyBG@aol.com

Posted by: McB1981 | April 20, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

what are you doing here rachel? I thought you gave up on the caps. Shouldn't you be off looking for another team to cheer for?

:)
(Sorry I couldn't resist)

Posted by: austinsteve | April 20, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I meant one row UP.
We want Caps fans in our seats!

Posted by: McB1981 | April 20, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Again, Backstrom, Semin and Varlamov were great, but I can't say enough about Erskine tonight. He was Varly's bodyguard and he did everything he had to do with aplomb. I said a while ago that he's been a different guy since he returned from his injury. He's focused and determined and it shows.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town

Yes, he is a saint - of the underworld. Or should that be otherworld.

Boo

Hope you got my earlier post.

Everyone.

THAT was Caps hockey. They play like this the rest of the next few weeks, and we'll be silver.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Avery suspended for 1 game, AND to see Dubinsky gone for one, too because of the late hit.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 20, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Reporter: "Can you describe in words how good Nick Backstrom has been for you?"

BB:"No..."

MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 20, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Erskine has been playing well. I like the fact that he has been giving Avery his own medicine and he does not like it.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | April 20, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Great game, top to bottom. Way to go Caps! Glad to see Brashear, he added a spark. Much needed win and a great way to win. If the Caps can pull it out Wednesday, they'll be in control. Build on this and get this series!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | April 20, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

After all the grief I gave Sexy Lumberjack last year and this...He's giving me a longing for crow.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 20, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I'd be more than happy to feed it to you!

; )

just messing...

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Joe/Greg:
Check your email.

I can't wait for Torts' post-game interview ... talk about icing on the cake!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 20, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Great game! Too bad I couldn't watch it. We were celebrating my daughter's 18th birthday. Plus, she has two tests to study for so the last thing she needed was us being loud watching the game.

Way to go, Semin! And to think that so many people were ready to trade him only yesterday. (Suggestions included: for Pronger; for Hartnall. Would not agree with either. While Pronger is a very good defenseman, he's 32 years old. Hartnall is about as productive in the goal scoring front, is only 2 years older but is penalized a great deal more. No thanks!)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

If Lucic gets a suspension for what he did, then so should Avery. This guy is pathetic.

Great first period for the caps. They kinda looked too relaxed for the rest of the game though. But whatever, they pulled out a win. Varly looked great. Erskine has played great so far this series.

Posted by: ILikeLaich | April 20, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh what joy!!! I can watch NHL network! I can log onto TSN.ca!

GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 20, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Even after the game on Saturday, there was a belief that once the Caps could get to the Rangers, the Rangers would then totally fall apart. (Okay, I was skeptical since I'm paranoid by nature.) But, I did hear that comment and let's make it happen. Go Caps.

By the way, guess where I'm going Friday night. The Verizon center; i.e. the Phone Booth to rock the red.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

All the Pothier compliments are right on. He played a fantastic game in game 2 and played very well tonight too. He's hitting his stride it seems at the perfect time.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, put people suggesting we trade Semin at the top of your "dont read" list. I hope you at least taped the game, becuase its worth watching.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Avery should be tossed for a game. I wonder if that game misconduct will carry over. This guy has a rap sheet, so it shouldn't take much for the execs to figure that one out.

Posted by: blanknerc | April 20, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

My three stars:

1. Backstrom
2. Semyon
3. Erskine

Semin was great. Ovi was great. Everyone had very good games with two exceptions...we'll let it go, for now.

Nicky was a monster tonight and as great as Semyon was, the scoring and butt-kicking was provided courtesy of Nicky. You will rarely see such a great, and flawless, better than Backstrom tonight. Tomorrow I'll watch the archived version. Huge game.

Well done all Caps.

Posted by: saintex | April 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Well Avery (the little twerp) certainly took enough penalties, climaxing with the game misconduct.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Avery is such an idiot, saying something to Varlamov. Varly does not understand.. and does not care :)

Posted by: yrb1 | April 20, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to not get too far ahead of myself but man Varly has looked really sharp. I gotta keep in mind that he is only 20! But he's played in pro leagues before so maybe that's paying off. All I gotta say is he doesn't even need to be as good as he is and we'd win. Good experience for the later rounds.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

DITTO....Backstrom played the hero tonight. He was not alone, he was a key to our success!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 20, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Heh heh, Varly has the calm demeanor of a cadaver.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Who was it who said Gnarley Varly?!? Regardless, I dig it!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 20, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

What happened to Brash? He played only 02:35???

Posted by: CodePoetry | April 20, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, what do you have to say about this comment:

"I don't know if they're being "too" fancy or if they're just being themselves (which is fancy by playoff standards.) I'm starting to think that the Caps, as currently constituted, are what they are. Which is to say they are a collection of very talented players that lack enough grit to win in the playoffs."

That is a pretty scathing critique. I think the difference in play between games 2 & 3 wasn't as great as it will be made out to be. Obviously a big difference in result.

Posted by: bugboy | April 20, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone,

I come in peace, have been reading your blog all week.

Not all of us are A-Holes. And of course Avery is, but he's our A-Hole.

And your goalie was great. Great move by BB. Now we have a series.

Posted by: RangerFan1 | April 20, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Love me some EUROS!!!!!

How do you BASHERS like them now.

Posted by: lightshow | April 20, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

3 people we dont need to see next game....
a hole Avery , nyls and theo....
much better effort by the Caps

Posted by: wendel2 | April 20, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Rags gonna lose, and I admit I love gloating! :-)

Posted by: CodePoetry | April 20, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

RangerFan1:
Thanks for stopping by! We should be in for an exciting game Wed ... go Caps!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 20, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Agree they let up a bit in the third, but man, Varly was superb. I thought we played good D, Laich is fearless, Avery IS pathetic. I'm breathing again.

Posted by: kevbnyc | April 20, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Score of the game easily could have been 8-3.

Posted by: lightshow | April 20, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

RangerFan1 - I'm with ya. I saw your post earlier from practice so welcome. Thanks for the input from practice as well. Yes indeed we have a series. You guys did well at the trade deadline and did well picking up Torts. I respectfully don't feel you guys will win the series due to lack of scoring but it's gonna be fun. I don't know what your farm team looks like but hopefully you've got some good young forwards coming up. You had to know going into the year that scoring was going to be a challenge. Thanks for not being what so many others are.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

That my fellow Caps fan was an old fashion @$$ kickin'. BB certainly has guts because I didn't think he'd put the series on Varly's shoulders, but he did. The boys have to put this one behind them and get ready for Wednesday. How quickly the storyline changes. All of sudden everyone's going to start saying the Rangers can't score!

Our boys did look good, but it wasn't all that different as games 1 and 2. The difference...the horseshoe fell out of Lundqvist @$$.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 20, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that Tortorella's tie was black, blue and silver? Does he still think he's coaching the Lightning?

Posted by: MigMora | April 20, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the NHL Varly... We have seen the future and we LIKE it...

--------

What a stellar performance... Threeormore may just have to change his name to Dontplaynomore and we LIKE that too...

-------

Oh and RangerFan1: You can keep Avery... He showed his true colors and worth tonight. Seriously, he has no place in the NHL. His schtick is old -- almost like sloppy seconds.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 20, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. This is my first post though so it wasn't me earlier.

But yeah, if Hank (lundqvist) wasn't as good as he was it would have been worse.

Another question I have from reading; Who's flash?

Posted by: RangerFan1 | April 20, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

RangerFan44 was here earlier today. Flash is Tomas Fleishman #14 RangerFan1.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 20, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

VS gave mad props to Backstrom, Erskine, Semin, and Varlamov.

flash = Fleischmann.

Henrik and Varlamov were both brilliant. Game would be like 5-2 without them.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Score of the game easily could have been 8-3.

Posted by: lightshow | April 20, 2009 10:21 PM |

Yep.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Flash=Fleischmann

Posted by: kevbnyc | April 20, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Avery is actually an above average hockey player when his head is on straight. The first 2 penalties were dumb on him; that third one was not goalie interference.

At the end of the game I was impressed how Varlamov was
More poised then the hof goalie in NJ last season. I hope we win this series because the caps offense with a stud goalie is scary.

Posted by: RangerFan1 | April 20, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Might have been posted earlier, but that is the most wonderful goaltending leader I've ever seen!
http://www.nhl.com/ice/statshome.htm?navid=NAV|STS|Main

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to think Theo isn't french canadien. I'm thinking he's from Switzerland due to the cheese.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Congrats everyone!!! Great win!

Just as I predicted before the game. Just had this weird feeling that somehow is right most of the time. Like the whole game played in my head before it happened. That same feeling tells me now we're gonna steam roll the Rangers now right out of this series.

I posted a short message here before the game, but here's an excerpt of my GTalk convo with my friend who's a Rangers fan who was saying that he might not have a chance to watch the game because he's stuck at work (and since he lives in LA now the game started at 4pm local time). This is from before the game started at around 1:20pm EST today:

ranndino: in any case, caps will win tonight so u won't be missing much
i have this gut feeling
we'll break thru henrik and once we do we'll be on fire again
and varly is gonna stop what he should and a few he shouldn't

BTW, anymore Varly doubters? He's our Steve Mason, baby! What a monster game! The way he fought for every puck even when it looked like he had no chance... and the most impressive is how he somehow got every puck that went through a forest of players in front of him. Somehow those seem to always squeak through Theo. Those to me were the best saves. Varly managed to see the shots and adjust, even when they were tipped. And the rebounds, when he gave them up were all hard and far away from the net, mostly to the boards, not a foot in front like with Theo. Great goaltending!

I just get a whole different feeling watching Varly play as opposed to Theo. I just know that if he has a chance at all he'll save it. With Theo I'm never really sure. Neither is he and neither are the Caps players. We've got a goalie now! Henrik played amazing again today and yet we won easily because Varly matched his level. Like I've said after game 1 if Varly played in that one we would have won easily. The games were actually very similar. The difference is that Varlamov made the saves for us and Theo didn't. In fact, I'd argue that the Rangers had many more tough shots tonight than in game 1.

Posted by: ranndino | April 20, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Good effort tonight. What a great game. Varley of course was stellar. Good to see traffic in front of Henrik. You won't beat him clean too often, he's too good. Keep net crashing guys! Can't wait for the next game. I'm also looking forward to seeing Bears pound the phantoms and the pens and cryers beat the snot out of eachother! God, I love this time of year!

GO CAPS! AND GO BEARS!

Posted by: BearsWoooo | April 20, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
How cool is that!! That kid must be on cloud nine ... облако ДЕВЯТЬ?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 20, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Man was I wrong about not playing Varly in this series. I love being this wrong. ROCK THE RED!

Posted by: croftonpost | April 20, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Bye, Bye Jose. Say hello to the bench for the rest of the playoffs. Great job Varlamov!

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | April 20, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Torts just said in his post game interview that they just took an old fashioned butt kickin! Yes indeed it was!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I will freely admit I was concerned originally about giving Varly a chance in the playoffs. It was probably my inner business-major saying we can't waste a 4.5 million dollar asset. But hot damn! The kid is superb and deserves all the starts he can get. His rebound control has visibly improved over the games he's played.
I missed all the fireworks in the first two periods, but the third period looked solid. Bummed I'll miss the game on Wednesday too, but at least I can go to class easy knowing they won't be facing a sweep while I try to concentrate on learning. Let's Go Caps!!!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

@MigMora

They said on Versus that the Lightning came back from an 0-2 playoff series against the Caps. Hopefully Torts just hexed his new team! :)

Posted by: austinsteve | April 20, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Where's SC07? Did his bail get revoked in Ontario?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 20, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

4.00 goals against or .50 goals against, I do believe the arguement is pretty much over for the next 8-10 years on the goalie. For once could The caps have the hot playoff goalie?

Posted by: RichC3 | April 20, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

It's past SC07's bed time. He's not allowed up this late. Plus the Caps won so he'll be MIA for the rest of the series. We won't lose again. So after we win in 6 games he'll come on saying we're lucky and we're toast. Can ready him like a book, so predictable.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay, Varly had 33 saves not 32.

Posted by: fnralch | April 20, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

After last game I felt that the panic here was unwarranted, but even more than that, over the last two days I have come to think that this was a game that the Rangers had to win more than the Capitals did.

Before tonight's game, the Rangers had scored exactly 2 more goals than the Capitals during the series...hardly dominating. The Capitals now lead in goals, 7-5.

The Rangers stole game one because Theodore was inept, and they eked out a win in game two because Lundqvist was brilliant.

Now it looks like Varlamov is at least a match for Lundqvist, and is probably playing better at this point. And the Rangers only real goal scoring outburst came at the hands - or perhaps more aptly -through the pads of Theodore.

The Ranger's needed to sieze the series tonight. They didn't. There is even more pressure on them for Wednesday, and I don't think they have the firepower.

Posted by: benz9 | April 20, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

RichC3, Add in Neuvy's 2.0 and .932 down in Hershey. We're going to have a hot goalie tandem in the future.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I liked tonight:

Ovi 20:19
Semin 18:25
Green 21:25
Backy 20:58

Relatively fresh legs.

Plus in the 3rd period, the shifts were very short keeping the tempo. Well done, BB.

Posted by: fnralch | April 20, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

As a Ranger fan I thought you guys went crazy after losing those first two games. But I wouldn't get so far ahead of yourself now as to say that Varlamov is a better goaltender than Lundqvist after two games.

Look at the Rangers roster, there just aren't any really great offensive players. Lundqvist was the only reason this team was as good as it was all year.

Posted by: RangerFan1 | April 20, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

The difference tonight was a commitment to playoff style hockey, simplifying their game, establishing a crease presence, and crashing the net. In Goal, Varlamov was great AND lucky. Thats a winning combination.


Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't really trying to say that Varlamov is better than Lundqvist, but I do think that it is debatable who is "hotter" at the moment.

In the two games they've played against each other both have posted one shutout, but only Lundqvist gave up a four spot...

Posted by: benz9 | April 20, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

WHERE ART THOU, LAMBO-GREENIE?

He was the worst player on the ice tonight! We played well but think about how much better we would be with #52 playing well. Let's hope he gets his act together by Game 4.

Posted by: donknutts | April 20, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I notice that SC1907 is conspicuous by his absence. He only shows up when the Caps lose.

@pokerface1208, love your last comment on SC1907.

@oo7
I enjoy Semin proving his critics wrong. How many NHLer have over a point a game in productivity? I checked it out once and it's about 30. About 10% of players or so

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

benz9:
In fairness, Lundy faced 40 tonight.

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 20, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

RangerFan1, Its a stretch to say that Varlamov is as good or better than Henrik. He played great for us, but thats all that matters. In the end, he stopped everything he had to. The Caps offense did a great job of switching up and recommitting. Most importantly, the Caps blue-liners, specifically Erskine and Pothier, put in their best efforts. One of the announcers over here noted that it was Erskines best game as a Cap, and I agree. He could have bought into Avery's antics but he held it together. Tonight, he looked like a champion.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Pretty good job by Dave Prior with Varlamov. Compare Varly now to his first game in Montreal. I seem to recall he was sending himself flying all over the place after the puck. So Explosive. Now, every bit as athletic, but much more under control and amazing poise. Is my memory failing or is that a good read on him?

Posted by: _Mark | April 20, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Varlomov's ready to be the "regular" goaltender now. Skillwise, he may have been nearly ready back in December. We were concerned about his endurance. And then he was injured for a while in Hershey.

Mason's meanwhile been taking in the chin against the Red Wings. But I'll admit the Blue Jackets have found a gem. I'm sure that team is more than a bit nervous since they never made the post season before.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Understandable, I was just debating. We all tend to get to far down when our team loses and get way to excited after just one game. I'm just hoping my happiest moment wasn't the end of game 2.

Posted by: RangerFan1 | April 20, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

_Mark, that's exactly how I see it. I'm excited by the progress he's made in terms of control & economy of movement.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, i know i'm repeating myself, but you can't teach or learn what Semin can do. He's a game breaker. I understand that he's a great asset, and as such he brings the most return, but some things you just dont let go of. Not unless you have to. And we dont have to. Semin's critics are a bit one sided. That said, they'll learn.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Theo and Nylander:

Don't let the door hit your behind on the way out.

Great win by the Caps. Good call by Bruce to sit the players that haven't been contributing.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 20, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

yeah, jmu, mark, Prior has done well with Kolzig, Johnson, even Theo, definitely Varlamov. There's an advantage to sitting on the Caps bench.

Posted by: oo7 | April 20, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl

On Varlamov, I was ambivalent about whether to start him in Game 2. On the one hand, There's the argument for giving Theodore another chance. On the other hand, I felt that Varlamov would be better off starting Game 2 in our home ice rather than starting Game 3 in hostile territory and likely down 2-0.

As it turns out, he did well in a 1-0 loss and ended up playing in NY after all. He's probably the new regular 'tender.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow college girl. :) You said that so much better in fewer words. Thanks for the verification. I thought Theo would be okay after game 1 and was concerned that putting Varly in was too soon, but it sure paid off. The future is bright indeed.

Posted by: _Mark | April 20, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I liked tonight:

Ovi 20:19
Semin 18:25
Green 21:25
Backy 20:58

Relatively fresh legs.

Plus in the 3rd period, the shifts were very short keeping the tempo. Well done, BB.

Posted by: fnralch | April 20, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Good post, I agree. Need to play all 4 lines like tonight, short and effective shifts.

Brash in the lineup made sure no cheap shots at Ovi and Green, like in the two previous games.

Caps played a perfect game, Rangers were hopeless. Varly is... incredible. Backstrom is playing very good hockey.

However: let's not relax one bit. These were certainly not the Rangers of the first two games, they'll bring it on Wednesday, we need to play with the same intensity. Plus, I'm pretty sure the refs won't be as favorable next game.


Posted by: mauree | April 20, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope that Avery doesn't get suspended. He had what, 18 PIM tonight?

What a difference when Green plays defense instead of always pinching. The combo of Green playing D and Shultz sitting works out well.

Posted by: Padow1 | April 20, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Many standouts tonight, including Varlamov and Lundqvist both. But the true standout star was Backstrom. What a performance. And still underrated! I was shocked after the first when VS presented the Caps' stars from the past season. Not that OV, Semin and Green were among them, but that Backis wasn't. Third in assists, ninth in scoring anyone?

Posted by: arisplato | April 20, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@oo7

Ain't it the truth (on Semin's critics). In any case, I have watched Semin grow and mature as a player over the last few years and how he is so much better this year than last. More goals and assists AND a Plus/Minus rating that is unreal, despite missing 20 games.

In many ways, Semin reminds me of my first child (who's a year younger than him).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 20, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

_Mark, haha thanks. I'm with you on that count. I figured Theo would bounce back after game one, and was downright shocked to hear Varly's name called out on Saturday. But the kid has done very well for himself, and us, even on Saturday.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

What a great game by the whole team! Bruce made exactly the right personnel changes. Everyone in the lineup tonight was a FIGHTER in place of someone who isn't: Brash for Nylander, Pothier for Schultz, and Varlamov for Jose. Backstrom continues to get better all the time. What a game tonight. I'm not sure I would trade him for Crosby; he's that good. (By the way, he saved the goal on the play that would have made it 1-1, and then set up the second goal at the other end.) And Erskine, who I confess I was very down on last year, had ANOTHER awesome game; I loved it when he took the sucker punch from Avery and just stared at him--one of the key plays in the game. Now, if Ovi and Green can start to score, we should be rolling. But the next game will be the key. The Rangers are going to come at us hard, and we'll need another game just as good as tonight. In any case, I'm glad we get the game in DC on Friday night!

By the way, JMUCapsGirl, remember that sunk costs are forever sunk.

Posted by: hockeybob | April 20, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

hockeybob, haha, you're right! My ops finance professor would be highly disappointed I forgot that.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

(Sorry if this was already said elsewhere, but I'm new to the conversation)

Beyond his first shutout, and a big PO win, my favorite Varlamov moment was the little stick check to the legs he gave to Avery which sort of inspired Avery to punch him. Particularly fantastic was the way Varly poked Avery then just spread his arms out on the goal and chilled.

I love this kid. I'm a little worried the Caps are pulling a Price with him, but I have infinitely high hopes. I (along with a friend) think Schultz only big problem is that he's too young to be playing outside the AHL at the moment. I'm worried Varlamov could be in a similar situation.

I hope he's ready to go though; I need me a new Caps Goalie Jersey.

Posted by: mattbuckley80 | April 20, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

@Rangerfan1

I don't know (at least I'm not) basing my opinion on Varly on just tonights game. He played 5 games during the regular season and now 2 games in the playoffs. Understand we've been watching Theo (swiss cheese) in net all year so when it comes time to make a big save and it doesn't actually end up in the back of the net, excuse us for being surprised! Seriously it's been bad. Varly has outplayed Henrik in the last 2 games though. Henrik wasn't really tested in game 2 and when he was OV hit the post. Granted tonight you guys hit the post as well so some luck was involved but even if you score there you're still down whereas OV's goal would've tied the game. So Varly has been great and has only needed to be good. I'm not putting him in the HOF yet but it's a great start for a young kid and he can only get better. Lets just hope he's not another Jim Carey (which I doubt).

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Just back from the Garden (and dinner)!

The good: The entire game. Erskine's play all night. Sasha dominating. Avery being Avery. Varlamov.

The bad: Classless Rangers fans - had saurkraut dumped all over my back, the lights from their thundersticks thrown at me, a cop calling me a dirtbag. Worse than any Philly game I've been to, worse than the Rags during the regular season by far. They don't take humiliation on the ice well. The cheer as Avery got booted.

Posted by: KurtNYC | April 20, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

40: Anybody else feel as though maybe we should get this kid's name right?
19: Gosh. Those euro-sissies sure can lay you flat before ladling out their ninth slick pass of the night.
28: Looks a little more like that demonic artist we saw v. Philly last spring.

NYR16: All those solo trips to the box really helped your team. I'm sure Tortorella (and Sather) feel really smart just now.

Posted by: redlineblue | April 20, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Calgary apparently found inspiration in our win. They're up 4-1. Khabibulin doesn't look as sharp as he did the past two games.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 20, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to tell you we are going to win this series. There is still a heck of a lot of hockey to play. What I will tell you is that we have an inspriring young goaltender that can carry a team ala Lundquist. We also showed some heart tonight unlike games 1-2. Let's savor this one and get ready for Wednesday night as it will not be easy. The Theodore signing was one of the worst moves GM has made since his tenure began 10 years ago. I said it on July 1, he is a backup at this point in his career.

Posted by: diner99 | April 20, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I was one of the Semin critics, throwing out possibilities of trading him. He shut me up tonight. Is it too much to ask for that effort every night? I felt like tonight we saw a 100% Semin effort, which profited nicely when paired with Backy. OV does 100% every night.

A few weeks ago, I stressed that Backy belonged with Semin on the same line, because OVI, Backy, and Semin got too cute. Hopefully these line combos can stick.

One concern I have is Fedorov. He just looks tired to me and had some bad give aways.

Anybody else see that?

Posted by: floms | April 20, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

One post before bed......We found a way to frustrate those Rags. Varly looked good as did the group in front of him. No turnovers that cost us. Varl's has put up the save pct and GAA that deserves praise. Nothing amuses me more then when Avery's shoots himself in the foot, over and over again. If the Rags wish to move to the next level, they must contain this animal, because he cost them 2 goals, plus any momentem the Rag's had. The way our GUYS kept their composure around this lunatic was the be commended. GOOD NIGHT!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 20, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

One more....yes Fedorov does look slow, it saddens me.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 20, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

@Diner99

I'm kinda with ya on the Theo signing but think of it this way. After deciding to not match Chicago with Huet (which looks pretty good right about now) Theo was the best left, or the tallest midget so to say. By having Johnson and Theo man the nets all year it gave Varly time in the minors to get adjusted to NA and he got far more playing time in Hershey than he would've gotten here had Johnson been #1 and he had to backup here. So the Theo signing in and of itself I'm with ya that it wasn't good signing, but it did allow development that right about now looks priceless.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 20, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Game would be like 5-2 without them.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 20, 2009 10:27 PM


From what I saw, it would have been 4-0 Semin v Rangers in the first if it wasn't for Henrik!

Posted by: Greg S. | April 20, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Feds was definitely rusty. Can't say that Kozlov looked much better either. I'm not sure they can provide the needed support to Ovi which was kind of shown tonight. Well, we've got what we've got and have no way to fix it now. It seems we're into some noticeable changes this summer as both are UFAs.

Posted by: fnralch | April 21, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

"3 people we dont need to see next game....
a hole Avery"

A hole Avery...kind of redundant, isn't it? :)

Hey, I think he was one of the stars of the game (4th or 5th)...he really helped the Caps tonight anyway!

Great win!

GO CAPS!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | April 21, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Nice! The game was on VS so I could watch it here in MN. Missed the first two, but this game was total domination. From what I see, and I don't follow hockey as closely as I did years ago, the Caps should not be down to the Rangers. The Caps are clearly the more talented team.

I saw on ESPN some questionable calls or non-calls the first two games that cost us goals (an interference on Avery etc...) and tonight was no exception. A Ranger cross checked a Cap in the back which caused the Cap (don't remember who) to raise his stick in someone's face. Call on us (we were up 2 goals). There was another extremely touchy call in the 2nd period on a Cap. I've always been frustrated with the quality of ref's in the NHL and this game was more of the same. If a team is losing, they are much more likely to get the call or if a team has 2/3 power plays in a row you can guarantee the other team is getting the next call no matter what.

Perhaps, bc goals are such a premium and one or two bad calls can change a game or even a series very easily, it's easy to criticize NHL refs.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 21, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Just back from MSG (had to travel back to CT). Awesome game.

I did not have any real bad dealings with Rangers fans (although I expected it). Had a few drunks talking trash but at least they weren't throwing it.

Truly classless that they threw stuff on the ice. Avery is a class A punk. An idiot that was costly.

Best sign for me, besides 4-0, was hordes of fans leaving with 5 minutes left.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 21, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 21, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone's watching any other series, but the Chicago - Calgary game is completely out of control! I knew this series was gonna be nasty before it started. Love it. All hell's broke loose in the 3rd. Even before that it seemed like 3 guys would get absolutely drilled on every shift. It's like war on ice out there. I would highly recommend you to check out the remaining games of this series if you like tough hockey.

Posted by: ranndino | April 21, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

CTCapsfan: They stayed until 5 minutes left? That's impressive for Ranger fans. I said they were heading for the exits at the end of the 1st period.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 21, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Varlomav was good, but he was not really tested. He might be able to handle the Rangers. That being said, would you want him to play against say the Penguins or Bruins? He is a battler, but definitely not very refined in his game yet. I guess I have not seen enough games to know how bad three-or-more really is...lol.

Federov did look slow. Fleisch needs to get better shots on goal. He sure as hell had enough chances!

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 21, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

As we had planned it.

Luv 2, now 1-2.

We have a franchise goalie too. He's a year early but he's here.

Went to the net tonite with no problems.
If OV isn't the best player in the world overall I have no idea if ppl know hockey as much as they think when they say opposite.

Cheers. 1 down 3 to go.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 21, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

ranndino, I turned the game off after the Flames 4th goal, but I have to say, my only real thought of the Flames is the hit Sarich laid on Marleau last season during the playoffs. I have a hard time bringing any other thought to mind. It was ridiculous.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 21, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

@CTCapsPhan (or anyone else who was at MSG):

1 - What did the Rags fans throw on the ice? Was it before or after the final horn blew?

2 - I read on another board that after the Rags left the ice, Ovie and Backstron went to center ice and "saluted" the crowd, much like the Rags do when they win. Did you see that? Did it happen? The Rags did that last year when they won in the playoffs at the Prudential Center in NJ.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 21, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Caps loaded with young talent.

Posted by: rockbroker | April 21, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"I was one of the Semin critics, throwing out possibilities of trading him. He shut me up tonight. Is it too much to ask for that effort every night?"

@ floms

Check Semin's stats this year. When he plays he has the highest point average per 60 min of ice time for any player in the NHL other than Malkin! Yes, even higher than Ovechkin! I'd say that requires a pretty darn consistent effort. If it doesn't he's even better than I think.

This is why I actually get angry when I read suggestions of trading him. He's a special talent, as good as any player in the world at the moment so totally untouchable. We are very lucky to have him.

Yes, he makes high risk plays a lot, but so does any great player. The kid's a game breaker and there are very few of those around so when you get one you keep him. His poise and skill with the puck are absolutely amazing. For most players in the NHL the game is a chaotic blur. For Sasha it unfolds in slow motion allowing him to think creatively and make beautiful plays. That's very, very rare. I see only a few players in the NHL today who have that trait.

Posted by: ranndino | April 21, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

ON VARLAMOV (part 1)

I'm also happy to finally see people realize just how good Varly is. I've touted him consistently since before the season even started and was often ridiculed. I feel vindicated now.

The reason I was so confident in his ability is because I simply saw him more and at the very high level. He's performed brilliantly in top level international tournaments for Russia as well as last year in the Russian Super Liga, which is an excellent league. It is extremely rare that a 19-year old becomes a #1 goalie in the Russian league and Varly was not just a #1, but on a very good Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club that he led to 2nd place overall in the regular season and to the finals in the playoffs.

I got annoyed when people disregarded this experience without having ever seen 1 game from the Russian league and dismissing it as some beer league (to the point where I was gonna ask if anyone would be interested in me posting some of his playoff games for Loko online this summer).

I've been saying all along that Varlamov is a special kid who's very mature for his age and I've been dying for Boudreau to give him a real chance, especially in light of Theodore playing like crap all year.

I always knew that Varlamov is a much better goalie regardless of his age and lack of NHL experience. If these things were always just based on merit he would have become our #1 goalie long ago, but Boudreau (whom I greatly admire) felt obligated to keep giving Theo chance after chance to "bounce back" simply because he was our expensive free agent designated #1.

I think that Boudreau knew a while ago just how much better Varly is. Finally, after game 1 he decided that he can't keep putting Theo's personal happiness above the team anymore because we'd be bounced right out of the playoffs by a far inferior team (no disrespect to the Rangers... just being realistic).

If you look at my posts going way back I have always had supreme confidence in Varlamov. It only seemed silly to those who didn't see him play as much as I have.

Posted by: ranndino | April 21, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

ON VARLAMOV (part 2)

He's also proving another one of my observations correct. Theo has never been the victim of our bad defense. Rather our defense has been the victim of Theo. Theo's defenders (like Kolzig's defenders last year) kept finding every excuse in the book and blaming our D.

I've always held that any good goalie would have very good stats playing for us because by virtue of us spending most of our time in the offensive zone our D is already pretty good. By virtue of a goalie not letting in soft goals or controlling shots (by either catching them or sending hard rebounds to the boards) it's even better because they're not under constant barrage of 2nd chances for the opposition.

Huet already proved this last year and any goalie that's been in this year was proving it also, yet some people were not convinced. Maybe now they will see that this is true.

Like our Rangers guest has said our team is absolutely scary with a stud goalie in net. Knowing that we have a great young goalie yet are playing a washed up old night stand instead has been the most frustrating thing about out team to me this season.

After all, I even made a point that we did not need to sign Theodore at all before the season started because I believed Varlamov was ready. I pretty much got laughed at by some of the people who consider themselves experts on here. Nobody is laughing now.

I just wish we could somehow buy out Theo's contract for next year (also something I said way before the playoffs started) otherwise we'll have pretty crappy backup with a $4.5 million cap hit. I would rather keep Brent Johnson as a veteran backup to our new star, Varly.

Last thing. We were one of the top teams in the NHL this season not because, but despite Theodore. Not that we have a real #1 goalie how good are we now? The answer is that we are much better and as good as we want to be. I see no reason why we can't overturn this series and go as far as the finals. Beating the Wings would still be a tall order, but we'll find out when we get there.

P.S. Speaking of that series I've noticed someone say that the Wings are eating up Steve Mason. They are, but have you watched any of the games? The poor kid is getting absolutely bombarded by extremely high quality shots. The Blue Jackets are just not even close to the Red Wings level as a team.

P.S. This post has gotten ridiculously long (not intended) so I'll leave an explanation, if anyone is interested, of why IMO certain aspects of being a goalie in the Russian league make it possibly more difficult than being a goalie in the NHL (hence Varlamov's experience there is much more valuable than most North American fans seem to think). That actually applies to all top Euro leagues. Sounds crazy, but take a look around the NHL and see how many top Euro goalies you see. I believe there's a very clear reason for that.

Posted by: ranndino | April 21, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

though i did think the caps woudl bounce back and win this one...and the series...i had a moment of doubt before the game and thought about having to listen to that freagan rags song they sing after goals...and how this game would suck if we had to listen to that a bunch of times in a loss that would ruin my summer...

not having to listen to that song once in a 4-0 victory...priceless absolutely PRICLESS!!!

thanks varly!!!

Posted by: deadskin | April 21, 2009 3:35 AM | Report abuse

i had a moment of doubt before the game and thought about having to listen to that freagin rags song they sing after goals...and how this game would suck if it went bad and we had to listen to that a bunch of times...prolly ringing in my head all summer...

not having to listen to that song once in a 4-0 victory at MSG...well that was priceless, absolutely PRICELESS!!!

thanks varly!!!

Posted by: deadskin | April 21, 2009 3:38 AM | Report abuse

SEAN-B-GONE Avery Pest T-Shirts:

http://www.zazzle.com/rockthered

Posted by: rockthered21 | April 21, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino,

Again, you're right on the money. My 29 year old son, who played at a pretty high level, has been touting Varly all year. Before game 1, he said "Dad, much as I hate to say it, the best thing that could happen to the Caps is for Theodore to play so poorly in game 1 that BB changes to Varly." He was right, and so are you.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | April 21, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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