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Rangers 5, Caps 4 (SO)

Jose Theodore didn't know the rule, and neither did Coach Bruce Boudreau. So here it is: No. 25.2, which states, "No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind (an exception being the puck off the goal post or crossbar, then the goalkeeper and then directly into the goal).

So that's why Ryan Callahan's decisive in penalty shots on Wednesday was allowed to stand after it hit the crossbar, bounced off an unsuspecting Jose Theodore and back into the net.

Theodore said it's a lesson learned.

"To be honest, I thought when it hit the crossbar, when it comes back out that it was a no play," he said. "So I didn't really ... I didn't know where the puck was, but I knew it wasn't going in. I didn't really try to get out of the way because to me it was a no goal. Obviously, I was wrong. It's a lesson I learned."

That, and a few costly breakdowns in the first and second periods, allowed the Rangers to snap out of their season-threatening five-game slide and beat the Caps for the first time in six games - despite another big night from Mike Green.

Some other notes from MSG:

*Green has scored at least a goal in seven straight games, tying an NHL record for consecutive games with a goal by a defensemen. I'm running out of superlatives for the guy. Seems to me he's a rare talent who also happens to be in the zone. And when those two forces come together, you see what we're seeing right now.

"I don't know if you seen my reaction, but I was pretty jacked," he said of his fist-punch to the glass celebration after each goal. "I was pretty wound up. I think we're happy with the point. We wanted that second one, but we played well. It felt like a playoff game."

During the streak, Green has nine goals and seven assists and now has 21 goals and 49 points on the season, both tops among blueliners. Wouldn't it be something if he winds up winning the Norris Trophy after getting snubbed for the all-star game?

"Things just seem to be rolling lately," he added. "Hopefully it can keep going. It feels pretty special. Right now, if it's on my stick I'm shooting it."

*The penalty kill seems to have worked out some of its kinks. For the second straight game, it blanked an opponent, this time holding the Rangers 0-for-4 in the third period. (Jose Theodore was, indeed, the Caps' best killer on this night).

*The Caps founds themselves down two men for the sixth straight game, this time in the third period for 36 seconds. Overall, the Caps have been down two men 27 times for a total of 22:43. Wow.

*For the second straight game, Shaone Morrisonn watched from the penalty box late in the third period. Tonight it was a double minor for high sticking Markus Naslund.

*Jay Beagle more than held his own in his NHL debut. He definitely made the most of his 7:41 of ice time, taking three shots. His ice time was kept down because both of his linemates - Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley - spent time in the penalty box for fighting.

"I had some chances and I thought Brads and Brashear made it easy for me in my first game," Beagle said.

Boudreau said: "I thought he did really good. He made quite a good impression on me."

*The Rangers really focused on shutting down Alex Ovechkin. It seemed to me there were two bodies on him every time he turned around. That said, Ovechkin still made his presence felt. Literally. He finished with a game-high 13 hits (and a pretty assist on Green's first goal).

*The Rangers improved to 9-3 in the shootout; the Caps fell to 2-3. Not having Viktor Kozlov hurt Washington. Kozlov is 17 for 35 in his career in the shootout.

That's it from me tonight. Got a train to catch. The Caps are off tomorrow as they head to Tampa.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 11, 2009; 11:51 PM ET
 
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Comments

Tarik,

What's up with Semin? He seems to me like the Brian Westbrook of hockey. All the talent in the world but always hurt and/or always nursing something.

Posted by: BA7701 | February 12, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Semin scores two next game. Count on it
:)

Posted by: austinsteve | February 12, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Why in the world are Morrisonn and Schultz still on this team?

And why in the world did Boudreau pick Fedorov and Laich in the shootout before Greener or Fleischmann?

And is there seriously any one of you who believes the Capitals are a Stanley Cup team with this defense?

Posted by: notfadeaway | February 12, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like Semin will be in the Florida games this weekend. Don't write the guy off because of not participating in tonight's game. He'll be back. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 12, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

@Tarik
Do you know if the team will be flying out of FL right after Sunday's game or next day sometime? Also, Will there be a morning skate since the game is at 5?

Posted by: seryogaSone | February 12, 2009 2:50 AM | Report abuse

yes I think we are stanley cup playoff team with this D. but I think we are stanley cup champions without ShaMo and Shultz. altho shultz just looks lazy out there and lost. but Mo seriously takes too many baaaad penalties and is a huge liability we can only bail him out so many before it just gets old.

congrats to green I was so happy. Ovie is going to get 2 or more next game he's P.Oed they were all over him, poor guy. and nice job on Beagle's first game

Posted by: capsfan387 | February 12, 2009 4:17 AM | Report abuse

It was @ training camp @ Kettler when I was watching some 3 on 3 hockey. I recognized all the players except for one (all NHL guys), the guy I didnt recognize stood out. He looked like the best player on the ice from my vantage point. I went down to ask Tarik who he was and he told me it was Jay Beagle. He is definitely a 3rd/4th liner on the big team soon IMO.

14/91/16 were awesome last night. Flat out our best line. Fehr now has 4g 3a in the last 6 games since Clark and Kozlov being out of the lineup. I am telling you Fehr is legit and needs 15toi and not 10toi and some PP time and should never be healthy scratched except for rest purposes.

Green is our generations Paul Coffey. Gretzky, Messier, Tikkanen, Coffey... Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Green...
All we need is the hardware. Speaking of hardware, yes we can win the Stanley Cup with this defense.

JT is 12-4-2 with a 2.39GAA and a .916SV% since the "turnaround" game @ MSG 12/23.

Nabokov - 2.40gaa .910sv%
Conklin - 2.34gaa .915sv%
Thomas - 2.15gaa .930sv%

Its up to JT to keep playing the way he is. We aren't the best defensive squad, I have news for all, we never will be, not while BB is our coach. Top 3 offense and a top 10 defense is about we all should expect. Right now our numbers fall right in place with since 12/23.

Posted by: JSchon | February 12, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

I wish Flash would have gotten a chance instead of Nylander. I like Flash's chances better than Nylander's.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

"We wanted that second one, but we played well. It felt like a playoff game."-Green. THAT's his definition of playing well? Then we're in trouble.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2009 6:17 AM | Report abuse

What do people think of the way the NHL lets the players come off the bench and enter play? One Ranger goal, Mara I think, he was off the bench and he picked up the puck and skated over the blue line, down the center of the ice, and the player he was replacing was still climbing over the boards to get on the bench.

I don't think the replacement player should be allowed to have the puck and be over the center ice line before the player being replaced is off the ice.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 12, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with previous posts that Schultz and Morrison have to go! The Caps are headed for a 1 and done on the playoffs with these two clowns in the lineup! GMGM need some kind of trade. Also, it is painfully obvious to me that OV misses Kozlov. He is clearly not the same player without him at the wing. Especially not the same with Nylander at wing. Why is he on the first line??!! Wouldn't Flash or Fehr be a better fit? Enough complaining, at least they got a point on the road against a desperate team! Hopefully they can take 2 in FL and "seal" the division! GO CAPS!

Posted by: BPTUCKER71 | February 12, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Bradley should have been in the shootout.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 12, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Let me clarify... Last night our defense was woeful. We can not win the SC playing like we did last night. I'm talking about a body of work as compared to a single game performance.

Alzner looked lost, Schultz was bad, Morrisonn looks like an amateur and Poti looked old and slow.

Posted by: JSchon | February 12, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

OK, it's official....My name is Phil and I have a ManCrush on Eric Fehr! The guy is really showing why he belongs....and Congrats to Greener!!

Posted by: PhilR | February 12, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Steven-Hindle/Caps-Vs-Rags--MrPronger-to-Washington---The-Numbers--Possibilities/98/19329

Not from Eklund, but Hindle (who is very good)

Just some food for thought after last nights defensive performance or lack there of...

Nyls isn't going to Anaheim...

So you would have to trade Kozlov's expiring contract and at least one other player to Anaheim for Pronger, add a prospect and a 1st rounder.

What would you guys do?

Kozlov
Flash/Fehr/Laich
Gustafson/Carlson
2009 1st round pick?

for Pronger

Posted by: JSchon | February 12, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Why in the world are Morrisonn and Schultz still on this team?

Posted by: notfadeaway | February 12, 2009 1:03 AM

Dude, Schultz wasn't even the worst-est blueliner last night.

Posted by: Section117 | February 12, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Alzner, Morrisonn and Poti were worse than Schultz last night.

Posted by: JSchon | February 12, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Really, Green thought they played well? He thought this was like a playoff game, yet they lost? Don't like those two comments at all.

Posted by: CDon | February 12, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Fehr has been my boy since last season.

Posted by: JSchon | February 12, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The Rangers were a desperate team. A desperate team is a dangerous team as the Caps found out last night.

Is the Caps' defense causing people to not consider the Caps as serious Stanley Cup contenders? Duh, yeah. Have they/can they play better than they did last night? Yeah. Either they're going to have to consistently play better or they're going to have to do something at the trade deadline.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFederov | February 12, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Semin has a pulled muscle in his groin. It happened early in the last game. Some on the Caps coaching staff (would rather not say whom) referred to his injury to me as "he pulled his Fallopian tube again". It tells you the kind of respect Semin commands...

Posted by: atybat | February 12, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The same shootout rule came into play during the ASG.. when OV beat Luongo backhand off the left post

Posted by: sexypills03 | February 12, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

I heard that little Pronger talk as well, actually in a brief piece on thehockeynews.com where they mentioned that Pronger would look good on the Caps. Looking at your ideas & thinking on it, I like this one:

Kozlov
Morrisonn
Gustaffson
2009 2nd Round Pick

Only reason I say 2nd round is that we would already be giving up a 2008 1st round pick, and there is no guarantee that Pronger will stay (most likely won't since he loves the West Coast). Morrison is up after this year as well, and Anaheim would probably want to fill the hole on D with someone and he is younger than Pronger so there is upside there. Thoughts?

Posted by: Roose | February 12, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@notfadeaway

Really? Schultz is +18 that doesn't sound like a bad D man.

I'll agree with Morrison though. I liked him last year, it seems like this year he's started playing dirty to make up for his lack of skill.

Posted by: remain | February 12, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Quick observations:

Rangers goal #1) Backstrom's fault...take a penalty there if you have to (Backy actually did take one on Chara on a similar type of play in that OT loss to Boston), but don't let the dude skate to the front of the net unimpeded. The whole arena could see the way that play would unfold. Overall, it was one of Backstrom's worst games I can remember, and that's saying something, because he's one of our most consistent players.

Rangers goal #2) Steckel's fault. What's with the one-handed clear attempt? I like Steckel too, but he's been a bit anonymous.

Other comments:

* Fehr's time is now. I love the guy and I'm thrilled that he's making the most of his ice time.

* Kozlov: Get better soon. Nylander is not a winger, period. I'm not a Circles-basher but you need a little physicality and stick-tuitiveness on the wings, and Nyls does not give you that.

* Theo played OK but I can't help but think how good we'd be if we had Henrik instead. Notice how Henrik is always in the middle of his net, always in position, never strays out of his crease. I know Theo's style (and size) is different, but I just can't stand the way he drops to the ice and moves around so much. It's the main reason I think our true playoff run won't be until next year, with Varly (hopefully) between the pipes.

* If Kronwall gets a game soon, I think it's time to scratch ShaMo... two straight games with big, needless (if not malicious) penalties at crucial moments. Not smart hockey.

Posted by: donknutts | February 12, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Yuck...not a very well played game by the Caps! It was a sad game for us who were in the stands at MSG, oh well! Way to many penalties and bad refs as well! Why do they keep stratching Erskine and playing Shultz...at least Erskine hits people!

Posted by: NatyBG | February 12, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one concerned about Ovi's cross checking penalty on Mara last night? Mara was out to provoke him, and he succeeded. I remember Renny joking about what he had to do to stop Ovi ("Kill him?") He had two D's on him all night, and then came Mara. You can be sure that coaches all over watched that play very closely, and now realize that Ovi's vulnerable to that kind of harassment. Expect more of the same.

Posted by: RedRocker1 | February 12, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why Green continues to wear the title defenseman. A D-man he ain't. I dont wanna hear BS about "the system" or that the best defense is a good offense (true to a point). If the Caps had a defense there would be no need to discuss why Flash should have gotten a chance in the shootout last night. Don't get me wrong, I like Green's offensive game, but the guy really is a liability when out on the ice and no one to watch his back.

Let the bottle tossing begin.

Posted by: doughless | February 12, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

By the way, while I suggest a trade package above for Pronger, I am not holding my breath. However, the more I watch or Dmen, I can't help but think we need more snarl and nastiness back there. If you watch all 4 goals (prior to shootout of course), a Ranger player was between our Dmen and Theo on each one. That is Defense 101 - never let the other guy get behind you. Looking at our D, we don't have a combo of physicality and puck movement like Pronger. We have 1 or the other.

Green - obvious, but will hit when needed

Alzner - pure positional and smart, but not overly physical (Lidstrom type)

Schultz - bad stick, not overly physical, but gets it done with reach; will never have that aggressive streak even for 6'6" which is frustrating

Jurcina - will surprise with a hit, but his form for delivering hits is not good; generally reaches a lot instead of driving through the guy. Wicked slapper though...

Morrisonn - drives me crazy a bit; just not sure and is really gittery (better term?) with the puck. The tendency lately to take bad penalties is worrisome.

Erskine - the best in terms of snarl, but can take bad penalties and is not useful on the power play. Moves the puck decent.

Poti - can make some bad turnovers, but is very smart with the puck and can move it very well. Think his value is underrated, as he can play on all special teams. Not overly physical.

What do all of you think? Agree / disagree? Other thoughts or observations?

Posted by: Roose | February 12, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it. Even when our players score goals, like Green scoring 2 last night, you get yahoos like doughless cutting them down. Doughless, suit up, dude. I think we'd all like to see how you fair under the same game plays as Green. Let's see you score 2 goals. We'd love to see you do better than Green.

Liability? After two goals last night? I'm missing something here. I thought two goals was a good thing.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 12, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

I too have thought about comparing this team to the Oilers greats, but, as you suggest, it's premature.

Left off your list of Oilers were Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, and Kevin Lowe, and of your Caps was, uh, Alex Semin.

Speaking of Semin, my gut feeling is that he was benched after coming up "lame" in effort in practice. Total hunch, not based on anything but pure speculation, but thought I'd throw it out there.

Posted by: dml1077 | February 12, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

i shelled out $1300 "yahoo" dollars for two season seats that goes toward a multi-million dollar contract for a DEFENSEMAN. I attend every home game and over the course of the last 2 weeks there were numerous examples of Greenie's defensive liability (e.g., bonehead passes, inability to clear the puck, beat on breakaways, etc,etc). It ain't all his fault and he isn't the only one making such mistakes, all I am saying is that without a substantial defensive upgrade the Caps are going to make things much more difficult on themselves (and Jose) than they might otherwise.

The guy is awesome, but he ain't perfect.

Posted by: doughless | February 12, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I think we got rid of that with 2 line passes going away. Our D actually moved forward instead of seeing where that guy was going. Same thing could have happened had he grabbed a new stick. Nobody was watching him and he got a chance.

Posted by: trunkenmath | February 12, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

As I posted before, Semin has pulled a muscle in his groin during the last game. The caoching staff think he is a sissie... capitch?

Posted by: atybat | February 12, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why Brash & Bradley's fight? I rewatched the evnts just beofre and couldn't figure out what may have caused it. Maybe from a previous game???? To me it's actually commical to see it unfold. "Hey you ready to go" "Yea sure" "okay wait for the whistle" "Okay, wait a second, let me get my sleeves up"

Posted by: Iceman10 | February 12, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@atybat
Gotta ask (although you may not answer), but who is your coaching staff source?

Posted by: Roose | February 12, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we know Green has great offensive skills. But this team will only go deep into the playoff if it improves its defense, and that includes Green among others.

Posted by: poguesmahone | February 12, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

No one is saying Green is perfect. When he does something right, let's applaud his efforts. I'd rather he be on the ice to make his contributions when he does instead of fearing the worse. Make up your mind. Either he stays on the ice or not. If you're calling him a liability, logic would say that he stays off. Of course, there goes any chance of him scoring us a goal. But we'll take your word for it. He's a liability. Get him off the ice? Oh, forgot. You're not the coach. You're entitled to your opinion. Lucky for us. Otherwise, your logic would have benched Green games ago because he was a liability.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 12, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

It's capice, not capitch. I'll chalk it up to locker room talk when it's said that Semin pulled a fallopian tube. Sadly, the same person who said that probably still wears their high school lettermen jacket on special occasions.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 12, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

To everyone complaining about the defense keep in mind that Chris Pronger will most likely be moved before/at the deadline. Can you say "Welcome to Washington Mr. Pronger?"

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 12, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Green has the highest TOI on the team and he's +24...the highest rating on the team and the 9th in the league tied with Chara. This indicates they score more than the other team while Green is on the ice. His +/- On/off is also higher than most in the league.

Can't argue with with his stats

Posted by: remain | February 12, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

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