Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Caps 5, Rangers 3 in a game with plenty of hits and unlikely goal scorers

By Katie Carrera

First, if you haven't already, check out my hard-copy edition story of the Capitals fifth straight win with a 5-3 victory over the Rangers, a back-and-forth game that featured 55 hits, 34 penalty minutes and goals from some who were slumping and some who are rarely ever expected to score.

Let's start there, with the most improbable goals of the bunch. At the beginning of the second period after Matt Hendricks won a faceoff in the offensive zone where Tyler Sloan passed the puck cross-ice to John Erskine, who stood all alone in the left faceoff circle. Erskine wound up for a slap shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist cleanly to snap a 31-game streak without a goal.

But if that wasn't enough just 41 seconds later, that dry spell was topped when Rangers tough guy Derek Boogaard scored after 234 games without a goal.

"That should be in the Guinness Book of World Records, easy," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That will never happen again in the same week, let alone the same shift."

Not quite as unexpected scorers for the Capitals, Mike Knuble and Brooks Laich also ended their own scoring droughts of 13 and nine games, respectively. Knuble joked about his comment about sacrificing a goat (Somehow, I doubt he did) after the game and was glad to get things going again.

Knuble's tally didn't come until 9 minutes 18 seconds in the second period though, after several key chances by the veteran right winger leading up to that point where he couldn't seem to buy a goal.

"I didn't think he'd ever score," Boudreau said about the early chances. "I think it was the first period that he had like 10 bell chances and then all of a sudden out of the blue it goes in. I didn't even see him coming up [the ice] until he scored the goal."

Laich's first goal of the night was a tip-in of Alexander Semin's shot on the power play and the second came with an empty-net tally in the final seconds of the game. I had to run upstairs to finish my story for the paper before Laich spoke to reporters, but via several folks on Twitter he had this doozie of a quote:

"Any donkey can go to the front of the net and stand there with his stick on the ice," Laich said.

Some other notes from the Caps' win over the Rangers:
-- It seemed to be one of those games that may be a trend for Michal Neuvirth. He didn't have the greatest start to the game -- granted he didn't get too much work the first half of the first period either -- but steadily got better as the game went on, to make 25 saves and come up big a few times in the third.

"I thought Michal looked a little nervous in the first two periods and he settled down and that will bode well," Boudreau said.

-- Boyd Gordon had a good game despite bearing the brunt of several big hits by the Rangers, and even an unintentional collision by one of his teammates. He won faceoffs at key times and was only on the ice for Brian Boyle's second goal, a power play tally that was the result of a clearing gaffe by Karl Alzner. And yes, the record with Gordon in the lineup remains intact as the Caps are 9-0-0 with him.

There were times that Gordon appeared to be in discomfort late in the game, but Boudreau said it's a result of his hard effort and not necessarily an injury.

"He plays so hard and he competed so hard," Boudreau said. "He reminds me ... of Jim Brown. Every time he was coming off he'd look like he was dead.

-- Part of the reason for the line juggling you might have noticed throughout the contest by the Capitals was the result of skate blade problems for several players, Boudreau said.

--The Rangers had not surrendered a power-play goal in the previous two games until Laich's first tally.

--The team is not practicing tomorrow and won't be back on the ice at KCI until Thursday for a morning skate in preparation for that day's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

By Katie Carrera  | November 9, 2010; 11:17 PM ET
Categories:  Brooks Laich, John Erskine, Mike Knuble, New York Rangers  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Capitals at Rangers
Next: Almost a Gordie Howe hat trick for Matt Hendricks

Comments

@Tominsocal

Man, you're a texting FOOL tonight.

The hockey Gods were smiling. The boogeyman and Erskine score on the same shift.

Leonsis, get us back in that division. Push Nashville into our SE slot. They play playoff hockey nightly in this division. Maybe that explains how the Flyers went deep, after the historic come back against
The B's.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 10, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Can we finally agree that King is a waste of a roster spot? King hand had two shifts of his five end with a goal against and two end with a penality against us and in the game where he was supposed to go after one of the league big heavyweights to show he can at least be out heavyweight the only fight of the game comes from Mike Green. I am sure Boogaard would have fought if King had asked. We have Hendricks so while not a heavyweight can hold him own and not just be the team bleeder like Bradley was last year and Hendricks can actually play. And don't give me the we need him out there to keep guys from taking runs at our guys line. We just played Philly one of the dirtiest teams in the league with him in the press box and nothing got out of hand. I am all for having some fighters on the team. I liked when Brashear was here because he at least could play 8 minutes a game and would hit anything that moved. That is the kind of player we need. I would have anything against King if he wasn't having his shift skipped 3/4 of the game and isn't even out hitting when he is out. Brash in his last year had 1.89 hits per game King only has 1.33. I don't care if he can't score I would just like to see him play and hit more then I would actually see a reason for him to be in the lineup.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 10, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm seeing a lot of unanimity about effort and style of play in a game I wasn't able to watch. (Darn friends. Hate them.)

I'm always skeptical when I see the Caps get out-hit, out-shot, and out-shot-blocked: was it really so clearly the "right" kind of game?

If so: cool.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | November 10, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

@Hunter. For getting more games against the Pens and Philly for the history and rivalry but I don't buy playing in that division as being better for the playoffs. In the last 6 years the Southeast has 2 Cups (TB and the Canes) and the Atlantic has 1 (Pens). Even in Conference Finals it is 3 for the Atlantic and 2 for the Southeast. Looking at that is doesn't like there is much of an advantage if any in playing in their division. The Southeast many not be the strongest division from top to bottom but they seem to do fine in getting teams the Cup over the last half dozen years.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 10, 2010 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Another great game for the Caps. Sure, there were some horrible miscues by Alzner, Carlson, and Sloan, and Neuvy looked as weak as he's looked all year. In fact, there were a load of mistakes from a load of Caps, including every D man. Nonetheless, the Caps played well as a team, didn't rely on the big guns to get it done, and were the best team on the ice in a hard hitting, physical, hard-working contest.

Each of these games against Philly, Boston, and Rags, have featured a Caps team looking bigger in physical, tight-checking games. I can definitely live with this.

Posted by: Justafan | November 10, 2010 5:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you all now, DJ King is terrible, can't play a lick. He is on the ice almost for every goal against. you are right hammer...i love the fighting aspect and really miss Brash.

Posted by: PhilHelmuth | November 10, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Earlier in the year, I was grumping that BB could not get the Caps to play playoff hockey to anyone who would listen (well, read). I was wary of how the Caps would play the B's, Phlyers, and Rags. Now they look much improved. Green has really improved his defensive game. The 3rd and 4th lines are inspiring the team with their gritty grinding and the top lines are starting to really buy in. Less stretch passes and more standing up at the blue line = good. More backchecking and more forechecking for a cycle game = better. This sort of play will actually open the stretch pass and force oppossing teams to shoot from the perimeter and gamble for scoring oppurtunities. BB has drawn up a better system and the Caps are buying in = super-duper.

That all being said, a veteran blueliner for Flash would make me even happier. Find a veteran, legit 2nd line rent-a-center for the playoffs = even happier.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | November 10, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts from last night:

1. That clown forgetting the words to the anthem is inexcusable!

2. Horrible flubs by Alzner and Sloan but the ice did look pretty bad at MSG.

3. Was that Neuvy's first appearance at the Garden? BB is right, he looked nervous.

4. If BGordon stays healthy I will eat every negative word I said about GMGM resigning him. The guy has been great lately.

5. GREEN dropping the mits for the 2nd time this season! Good for him, bad penalty but other than that the rest of his game was good as well.

6. Overall good effort, it did look like playoff hockey other than all the goal scoring.

Posted by: PhilR | November 10, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

The Lightning will be a really good test for the Caps. Stamkos is running away with the Rocket Richard so far, so I bet OV elevates his game even higher. The TB PP versus the Caps' PK will also be a huge match-up. Stevie Y has looked like a genius so far in picking the coach and the grit players to compliment plenty of offensive power. It's time for the Caps to make a statement -- the SE is ours, so get outta here you pretenders and malacontents.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | November 10, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Hi Katie - you new around here?

Anyways:

"He won faceoffs at key times and was only on the ice for Brian Boyle's second goal, which came on a power play as the result of a clearing gaffe by Karl Alzner."

Was the power play a result of the clearing gaffe?

Posted by: keepandbear | November 10, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I was doing the dishes and thought I heard the Anthem started over - was it that bad? That's a tough job, don't know why anybody would volunteer for that one...

Posted by: jeets | November 10, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I wasn't sure I had heard it right! Glad I wasn't just imagining that anthem fiasco!

I thougt that play by Sloan was inexcusable! Nuevy definiely started to look more like himself in the 3rd which was a little weight off my shoulders. I am kind of frustrated that we seem to be outplaying teams in either the first or second but are always scored on 1st...we then play a little less responsibly and win it.

I say trade flash for a D,move MaJo back to 2nd line C, go get a center at the trade deadline if he can't hack it and move him down to 3rd line...Gordo won't last a whole playoff series and Stecks should be scratched anyhow.

And was I right abou Laich???? He parked his butt in front of that net and look what happened!

Posted by: capscoach | November 10, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

The ex-singer for the Bare Naked Ladies is a Canadian, so the American national anthem is not 2nd nature for him. That being said, as a performer trying to restart his singing career and a big hockey fan, his performance was weak. He should know the lyrics and be able to hit the notes. It's also a weird way to promote a solo singing career.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | November 10, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh...and where is Bradley when u need him to jump off the bench and stop our star defenseman from doing something stupid!!! Although...he kinda won that fight but i was yelling Noooooooo at the top of my lungs to the tv when I saw Green square off.

Posted by: capscoach | November 10, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

lets see, Alzner and Sloan were directly responsible for 2 of 3 goals scored against us yet it's King's fault for being on the ice?? Once again, DJK was misused by BB last night (5 shifts to Boogey's 7??)but I'm not complaining...it's definitely comforting to know that he's on the bench (Hendricks, while game, won't deter anyone from doing anything)...It's taken awhile for many of you homer's to recognize Erskine's attributes; you'd see DJK's if BB would utilize him as Ron Wilson would

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 10, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS

I realize I am supposed to be a koolaid drinker, but I have a bad feeling about the TB game. They have been really good defensively and our games against them have always been tough...unfortunately I think TB will be the ones really pumped for the game...to show the NHL the "new" SE power house! I hope I am wrong and the Caps go in there with the attitude that "we are going to bring them back down"!

Posted by: capscoach | November 10, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

@lets see, Alzner and Sloan were directly responsible for 2 of 3 goals scored against us yet it's King's fault for being on the ice?? Once again, DJK was misused by BB last night (5 shifts to Boogey's 7??)but I'm not complaining...it's definitely comforting to know that he's on the bench (Hendricks, while game, won't deter anyone from doing anything)...It's taken awhile for many of you homer's to recognize Erskine's attributes; you'd see DJK's if BB would utilize him as Ron Wilson would

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 10, 2010 8:18 AM

Are you suggesting more ice time for DJK? Maybe we can get him a little more power-play time too. The guy is her for only one reason, if the other teams takes liberties at any of our players, they would have to answer the bell. Also the Rags were at home last night so its not like BB can send out DJK after Boogs is put on the ice.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 10, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Can someone please enlighten me? I thought Carlson had the gaffe on the power play that led to Boyle's second goal. Am I mistaken or did Alzner do the same?

Posted by: jwash4472 | November 10, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps
DJK was scratched against Philly and we had a peacful game...he plays the rangers and the fighting starts before the ref can drop the puck...mabe DJK is more of a provoker than a deterent? Just playing devils advocate here.

Posted by: capscoach | November 10, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Hendriks looked great. He looks a lot better than MP. He can play defense.

Posted by: pkme | November 10, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@jwash4472

It was Boyle's second goal that Alzner wiffed on while on the kill...just after we finished the 5 on 3 (so they technically scored on a 5 on 4, even though the guy had just got on the ice).

Boyle's first goal had Boyle in between Green and Shultz, Avery makes a good play, puck comes out to the D, D hits Boyle, Boyle back hands as Green and Shultz stare with a very "woah double rainbow..all the way across the sky" look on their faces.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 10, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

I could not agree more. King is an absolute waste of a roster spot. It is a shame we jettisoned Dela Rovere for this waste of hockey player. The meltdown in the 3rd period of the Toronto game: first 2 of those 3 goals, King's fault. He did not see a sweater for a few games, and then last night (I was at MSG) the same crap. KING HAS GOT TO GO! We have Hendricks for the occasional fight - that is more than enough.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | November 10, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

No one had words with Girardi after he could've ended Laich's career w/a boarding from behind, wtf?? I understand the timing and importance of ensuing power-play, but it was a weak non-show of support for a teammate; those on the ice should feel ashamed. On another note, I thought Alzner played horrible and hope he's taken to account on this thread. How is he any different/better than Eminger?

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 10, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

We have Hendricks for the occasional fight - that is more than enough.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | November 10, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

surely you jest

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 10, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I was in the second row by the goal last night and BB is so on the money: my first thought was that Neuvirth looked overwhelmed at MSG. He was jumpy and out of it in the first period.

After the 2 third period meltdowns, and early at MSGB what Neuvy is proving is that he is a very technically sound goalie who will be an excellent backup in this league for relief work or a solid outing on the back-end of a back to back.

Varly has nerves of steel and ice-water in his veins. He has some stones to play the way he did against the Rangers and the Pens 2 years ago as a rookie, and in those tough road wins at the Bell Center last year. What history has proven over and over: the mental side of things separates the men from the boys, and the greats from the goods between the pipes. Can't wait for #1 to return!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | November 10, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

i agree, that was a little irresponsible of green - engaging in a fight. he's tons more valuable on the ice than on ir - considering that he's already had his share of upper-body injuries and some of them recent. glad he held his own thouhg...

Posted by: lithogene | November 10, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

DJK's roster space is INVALUABLE. To have the best players in the world, and no one to make other teams think twice about taking runs, is assinine. Brian Boyle said last night, "We want to initiate, we want to dominate physically." We'd better be prepared for anything, and if we're going to be SC champions I'm confident we can absorb his liabilities. Remember:
-Atl: Eager, Thorburn, Boulton
-Bos: Thornton, Lucic, McQuaid, Chara
-Fla: Hordichuk, Allen, McCabe
-NJ: Clarkson, PL3, Salvador
-Isles: Konopka, Gilles, Wisniewski
-NYR: Boogaard, Prust, Avery
-Ott: Carkner, Neil, Ruutu
-Phi: Shelly, Carcillo, Pronger, O'Donnell
-Pitt: Godard, Rupp, Engelland
-Tor: Orr, Brown, Rosehill

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 10, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Partly regarding an earlier comment that stated Hendricks is a better player than MP...

Perreault may or may not end up being a good NHLer like it appears Claude Giroux has become for the Flyers but he did perform at a similar level when they were both in the QMJHL. They competed with one another for the league scoring title.

Claude Giroux
2005-2006 season - 69 games 39 goals 64 assists and 103 points
2006-2007 season - 63 games 48 goals 64 assists and 112 points
2007-2008 season - 55 games 38 goals 68 assists and 106 points

Mathieu Perreault
2005-2006 season - 62 games 18 goals 34 assists 52 points
2006-2007 season - 67 games 41 goals 78 assists 119 points
2007-2008 season - 65 games 34 goals 80 assists 114 points

I hope that Perreault gets an extended opportunity to stick with the big club or gets traded to a team that will give him a shot this year or next. Perhaps a team like Nashville or NJ would be interested in his low-cost offensive upside in exchange for a D or D-prospect?

Posted by: born_rpm | November 10, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh...and where is Bradley when u need him to jump off the bench and stop our star defenseman from doing something stupid!!! Although...he kinda won that fight but i was yelling Noooooooo at the top of my lungs to the tv when I saw Green square off.

Posted by: capscoach | November 10, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

As a Green fan, I was yelling Yeaaaaaaah at the top of my lungs as clearly he's gunning to win the Norris this year. Seems like he understands that to be the best defenseman in the NHL, you have to play offense/defense/and be tough, too. Additionally, Dubinsky is perhaps more important to his team than Green (no disrespect, that's more of a testament to NYR's dearth of talent) and it was a good trade off. I'm starting to think of Paul Coffey, and not Phil Housley, when I watch Green now :)

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 10, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I could not agree more. King is an absolute waste of a roster spot. It is a shame we jettisoned Dela Rovere for this waste of hockey player. The meltdown in the 3rd period of the Toronto game: first 2 of those 3 goals, King's fault. He did not see a sweater for a few games, and then last night (I was at MSG) the same crap. KING HAS GOT TO GO! We have Hendricks for the occasional fight - that is more than enough.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | November 10, 2010 10:28 AM

--------------------------------

Della Rovere would not have cracked the lineup this year. He didn't make the Blues'roster either. When would he have been in DC? Not anytime soon. King in 2010-2011 is more valuable than Della Rovere in Hershey.

Posted by: Chase4 | November 10, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

You don't expect your goon to score goals so I'm not faulting DJ King in that area. But I haven't seen him win a fight yet either! I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | November 10, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company