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Live chat: Caps at Rangers

Post reporter Gene Wang will be chatting live around 7 p.m., when the Caps go for a franchise-record 12th straight victory.

Join the conversation below:

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 4, 2010; 4:47 PM ET
 | Tags: New York Rangers  
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Next: Caps beat Rangers, 6-5, for 12th straight win

Comments

From CTV:

The United States men's hockey team named Ryan Whitney and Tim Gleason as late additions to its roster in a conference call on Thursday.

Whitney and Gleason will replace injured players Paul Martin, sidelined with a broken forearm, and Mike Komisarek, who is set to undergo shoulder surgery next week.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 4, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm worried about the ice tonight...dangerous

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 4, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

True, stretch those groins boys.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 4, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Green sees reason for suspension: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=516233

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 4, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

For anyone who has XM/Sirius, McPhee and the Pittsburgh GM Shero will be guests on tonight's NHL Hour at 6pm.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 4, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

It's apparent he doesn't want to be there. He won't get that much (10 mil/yr) from many other teams.

@lyle

Spot on. Malkin = Shrek indeed.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 4, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Kovalchuk to the Devils (per ESPN)

Posted by: griz0615 | February 4, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Kovalchuk on the Devils is kind of a scary thought.

Posted by: TotallyTacos | February 4, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

We're still too vulnerable to speedy, aggressive forechecks.

How do you counter speedy, aggressive forecheck effectively?

You get to pucks first. You win battles along the boards. And you make good, quick decisions with the puck when you do get possession.

I still see our inability to deal with good forechecks as our most glaring weakness. It leads to too much time in our own zone and too many shots and scoring chances for opposing teams.

Good forechecking teams are often good backchecking teams as well as you see with the Rangers tonight. They're not only hemming us into our own but also preventing us from breaking out and getting much going at the other end.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

deja vu????????? too many penalties and horrid pk....standing around and no one willing to block a shotwill Laing ever dress again or is he Nylandered? Backstrom is too soft to make the committement that the pk needs

Posted by: wendel2 | February 4, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have been totally abysmal in PK today. Nearly every penalty has resulted in a goal for the Rangers.

I think the Caps should have had practice yesterday instead of the day off just to work on PK. (That was my opinion even before tonight's game.) Maybe not a long practice or a hard practice but there were enough mistakes make that I felt practice was warranted. Like puck clearing and other things that would get them on a 5 on 3 PK situation.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@wendel2

The last game they looked this bad was the Tampa game in Tampa. We had an awful lot of guys in the box and got scored on a lot but tonight's is even worse.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Jeezus!!! The penalties are killing us! Are the Rangers 100% tonight?!?!

Thank God Ovie slipped his way in before the end of the 2nd.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 4, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

The same types of defensemen that would improve our ability to deal with good forechecks would also help our penalty killing.

It's your move GMGM.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

If you want to look at the bright side, it's good that some of our weaknesses are showing through now before the trade deadline.

I wouldn't be surprised to see McPhee make a deal by early next week. He wants any incoming pieces to get acclimated and to develop chemistry ASAP with the playoffs approaching.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

I completely agree about the defense. It is a lack of speed and stick skills.

That will obviously be subsided some when Green replaces Sloan. I also think adding Alzner over Erskine is another way to improve the mobility and zone clearing skills of the defense.

But an additional defenseman, like Niedermeyer or Kaberle would help with that.

When you have defenseman who are great at making accurate passes when clearing the zone teams will not forecheck as aggresively as it won't cause many turnovers.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 4, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The play by Potheir that led to the Rangers 3rd goal was awful.

Everyone is going to make bad passes and such but that play was just stupid by blindly passing the puck into the middle of the ice. That killed the momentum the Caps had at the time.

I hope Pothier was chewed out in the dressing room for that play. It has to be known that when you make stupid plays like that you will be called out.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 4, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

GOOOOOAAAALLLLL!

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 4, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Another Rangers power play...JEEZUS!

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 4, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

6-5 CAPS!

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 4, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

GOALLLL!!!! WOW! What a game.

Posted by: robostop10 | February 4, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness I am DVR ing this one!

Posted by: robostop10 | February 4, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

This game just can't end any sooner. We got lucky that slapshot hit both posts and not in the net for the Rangers.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 4, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Another power play - time to put this one away!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | February 4, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

~SIGH~

Oh my goodness. What a game. The streak lives on to 12.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 4, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Well...what can you really say?

Posted by: capscoach | February 4, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

-Nerve wrecking game!
-Amazing goal by Ovie at the end of the second. Put this team on his back and carried them to the finish line.
-Backs was a monster.
-Tom Poti possessed by Mike Green?
-Not Theo's best game, but made some timely saves.
-Penalties need to stop.

Posted by: elicea | February 4, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and NUMBER 12!

Posted by: elicea | February 4, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

And, it's nice to see Gordo chipping in goals wise.

Posted by: elicea | February 4, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Great game. Rather exciting.

New controvery - with about 20 seconds left, there was a green laser being shone on Theo's face. I think he gestured toward his eyes, to the ref, as he left the ice. My daughter said this happened to Kipper on Calgary recently.

Whoever said Kovy to NJ was right. I was wrong with Kovy to Hawks.

Tomorrow night - a cakewalk over a demoralized Thrasher team?

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 4, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I will need to see another bad PK game or two to say we have regressed. What was it? Four of the five goals against were scored on the PP so, at even strength we killed them. The PKers didn't pressure the PPers enough IMHO. The Rangers have been working on their PP but still...

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 4, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I said Kovalchuk would go to the Devils.

And I am very, very sad that my prediction turned out correct. I think the Devils are now a much bigger problem if the Capitals have to play them in the playoffs.

Although I do really like Oduya whenever I actually see him play. Hopefully somehow this trade will actually make the Devils worse. I doubt it, but you never know.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 4, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Theo didn't have much of a chance on some of those goals and remember, he kept us in it in the first period.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 4, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Man the Rangers must be pi***d!!! they finally score, but still manage to lose.

I don't think Theo had a bad game...one5 on 3, a couple breakdowns in front of him, and possibly some goalie interference on one...

AMAZING goal by Ovie!! Go BACKIE!!!

Posted by: capscoach | February 4, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Kovi has problems adapting to NJD's defensive style of play.

Posted by: elicea | February 4, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Awesome win but let's not forget that the PK was horrible. PK MUST, MUST, MUST improve, especially on the road.

But just goes to show we can win any way possible and we can play with any team and their style of play. Seriously, how often do you win when you give up 4 PP goals?

Posted by: rachel216 | February 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Our PK has been weak for years. I'll take a sample of multiple seasons over any small stretch of games where it was on an uptick.

I see a lot of the same problems in our penalty killing that I see in our attempts to counter good, aggressive forechecks.

In both cases, key factors are the ability to get to pucks first (speed), win battles along the boards (grit/skill) and make good, quick decisions with the puck when you do get possession (skill).

No team is perfect and the Caps are obviously among the elite teams. I'm still concerned about our ability to handle strong opposing forechecks and to kill off penalties effectively. I think those are bigger weaknesses than goaltending.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I still think Braden should make his debut tonight. He'll go against a Kovy-less Thrashers team and Theodore needs a break, he needs to get ready for the Pens.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 4, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Devils gave up a lot. Oduya is good, Bergfors as well. Cormier could be nice as well.

McPhee needs to respond with a dman. A rental, Kubina or Neidermayer. Ball is in his court. Better not be Aaron Ward or someone like that. We have assets, we have cap room. No excuses.

To me, this means the Devils win the Atlantic, that puts Pittsburgh 4th. We would need to play them in the second round.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 4, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Theo was good. Too many penalties. The boys still pulled out the win. I'm happy to get the two points.


To be honest I'm more concerned with Kovalchuck going to NJ. We have a lot of problems with NJ as of late and if we have to face the Devils in the post season, it could be a devastating problem. Imagine, a NJD team that can score. Not a good situation for our boys.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 4, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Correction: Just checked box score and noted the Caps scored three on the PP so we outscored them 3-1 at even strength. Not really a killing.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 4, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Glad the Caps won, but what a sloppy game.

Bad PK. My recommendation is for the Caps to work on PK during practice, starting with Saturday's practice (assuming the practice even takes place on Saturday).

Great day for Ovi and the top line.

I would also recommend giving Theo the day off tomorrow. (This recommendation would have made regardless of how he performed today.) Given that he had just recovered from an injury, I would be leery of having him do back to backs at the moment.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

DID OVIE ACTUALLY TO THAT?

COME ON!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 4, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

BB is the always spot on

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 4, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Don't you mean we should start Holtby tomorrow as opposed to tonight? But agree with you that Theo needs a night off in goal. Would like him fresh for the Pens game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

While we could use some help on the blue line, I hope you're not suggesting the same trade that Scott Burnside of ESPN is suggesting which is Hamhuis for a certain red headed forward of ours who comes from the City of Red Ore. No likey that trade suggestion.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

it's highly unlikely that Holtby will get to play in the middle of this winning streak... I don't believe BB will put him in there unless Theo is hurt

Posted by: joek443 | February 4, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

If any of you haven't already, try to pay attention to the PKs of some of the better defensive teams in the league. Also, note how good some of those teams are at stifling opposing forechecks by getting to pucks first, winning battles along the boards and making good, quick decisions/passes with the puck in their own end.

Two great examples are Chicago and San Jose. I've watched both of them a number of times this season and Chicago, in particular, is absolutely stifling in their own end. They get to pucks first with their speed, they win battles along the boards (at both ends of the ice) and make good decisions the vast majority of the time. They are the current definition of a puck possession team. They really do it in all zones but I'm focusing on the defensive end for the purpose of this discussion.

Even though we've been winning, we've been giving up a ton of shots and scoring chances in many of those games. It's great that we're finding ways to win but what if we don't find ways in the playoffs and our inability to handle forechecks and kill penalties bites us in the you know what. All it takes is one slump by your penalty killers at the wrong time or a team with an aggressive forecheck exploiting our weaknesses on the backend and all this great regular season success will be a distant memory.

Remember, we barely squeaked by a lesser version of this Rangers team in the playoffs. Their speed, forechecking and backchecking presented problems for us as did their goaltending on occasion. Now, they've got more firepower to go with their very good defense and goaltending.

Even when Chicago loses, they almost always dominate in terms of puck possession and other key statistics. I'm not saying we have to be as good as Chicago in our own zone but I do have questions as to whether or current defensive corps (even with Green and any other players in house) is where it needs to be to really make us a full-fledge contender.

Having said that, I have absolutely no doubt McPhee is going to make a move to upgrade our defense and I wouldn't be surprised to see a move as early as next week in order to get the new player(s) settled in and acclimated as soon as possible.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Would not surprise me if the Thrashers are demoralized tomorrow.

I didn't notice the laser pointer pointed at Theo.

I wasn't sure where Kovy would end up but I didn't think it would be the Hawks since they got a lot of money tied up in their key players. I knew the Devils were a logical choice as well as the Kings. (I would have been happy with the latter so we wouldn't have to deal with Kovy in any round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

If Devils win Atlantic and Pens finish 4th, it doesn't mean we'll necessarily meet the Pens in Round 2. That would only be if all of the Top 4 seeds advance; i.e. the division winners and the 4th seed (probably Pittsburgh, which is usually the case). Someone could be upset, like the North East Division winner.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

tmac: great analysis. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I've heard Joe B on the junkies say that GMGM will definitely make a move this year. We'll see what happens. 4/5 goals on PKs against the lowly NYR is abysmal and there is no way a cup contender should be having a stat like that. However, this is the regular season and things change in the playoffs. Look at the Pens last year. ...meh whatever..

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 4, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The Devils included their suspended "bad boy" prospect, Patrice Cormier, in the Kovalchuk deal.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:
Wow wasn't that a barn burner but nonetheless - it's 12 in a row for the Caps. What a fantastic never say die game.

Lots of penalties tonight - some obvious - some ticky tack. Yes the penalty killing gave up shots but let's be real people - the first one was a sweet deflection and the other two were bounces off our guys skates that went right to their guy who had an open net. Theo couldn't do much with any of the goals scored against him.

As many bounces as the Rangers got tonight even off those damn boards in that hell hole of an arena you'd think the Caps were doomed but they keep finding a way.

Ovie comes up with another highlight goal - nice one hander just to get it up on Lundqvist and get the bounce off the pipe.

They just keep coming. Even if they were due for a pond hockey type of game - they found a way to win - another big reason streaks of this nature occur and continue to last. Yes they got lucky and fortunate bounces (post to post and out in the third on that point shot from Redden) but when they had to in the third they clamped down and finished it off.

Theo made some great saves again early on and did what he could when he had the chance to make the saves.

A resilient win. Hope the players' dads had a great time. It's back home to face a Thrashers team that traded away their best player. By the way - it'll be interesting to see how Kovy adapts to a boring offensive style of play.

It's been a two point night.

ICE BREAKERS GOAL SHAKERS

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 4, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I didn't even read Burnside's trade idea. What was the entire suggestion?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be very odd for the Caps to make a huge trade during the midst of this win streak, unless they didn't have to give up much to make the deal.

Just saying...I don't think teams normally make big changes to their line-ups while they are tearing up the league, and working on historic win streaks...

Posted by: aybee27 | February 4, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: Yes I meant tomorrow. Guess I wanted two games in one night! ;)

To be honest I heard of all the talk about Patrice Cormier and never watched the video. I did and now I'm traumatized. So painful to watch that poor guy like that. If that happened again I think I would cry. How long is that guy suspended anyway?

Posted by: rachel216 | February 4, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes but if I'm not mistaken, the Caps are only playing with a 21 man roster with dudes from Hershey filling the missing holes. They could very easily acquire a D-man since they have salary cap room to spend. It's not out of the question. And as for win streaks in the regular season, they're simply not the objective, however, winning the cup is.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 4, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

i guess at the end of the day Atlanta had no choice on this deal. still Oduya is not a top four d guy, they gave up bergfors who has not scored since december, a prospect that has not played one day in the nhl and a late first round draft pick. so does that mean we could have gotten for S morrison, first round a propsect like osala or perault a goal scorer like kovy... hmmmm

Posted by: samb99 | February 4, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Congrats on 500 career points Ovie!

Posted by: hockeyfan8 | February 4, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

@samb99

Would Kovalchuk have helped our ability to handle strong forechecks or improved our penalty killing?

NJ made a move to upgrade their offense.

McPhee is going to make a move to upgrade our defense.

By the way, we're now the 25th ranked PK in the league. We've been near the bottom for years now. It's an obvious weakness and McPhee is going to do his best to make it less of a weakness.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 4, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

@LloydChristmas, who said Caps have been having problems with Devils lately.

Yes it's true that the Caps are 1-3 this year against the Devils. But for two of the losses, Ovechkin wasn't in the lineup. The other loss was a shootout loss. The Caps won in their last game 4-1 on the day after Christmas.

Last year the Caps went 2-0-2 against the Devils. Both losses were in shootouts.

But, yes, especially now with Kovalchuk, I worry about the Devils.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 4, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

the Caps would have given them substantially more than what the Devils did because they are in the same division.

Posted by: joek443 | February 4, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

And whoever pointed the green laser at Theo's face, I wish very bad things for him/her.

I hope if you are at a game and you see anyone doing crap like that that you try your best to get him/her kicked out.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 4, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

I guess you're following the same philosophy on hockey as Ernie Banks used to have on baseball, "Let's play two.".

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

Semin for Hamhuis. (Semin comes from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia and Kranoyarsk literally means "red ore")

I do NOT want to see that trade happen. No way.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 4, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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