Crossbar after crossbar, save after Henrik Lundqvist save, the Capitals were getting frustrated. Pucks weren’t going in even with the Caps dominating the play against the Rangers.
“I really didn’t know at one point whether there was ever gonna be a way to beat that guy,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
And when New York scored early in the third period, the Caps had even more pressure on them to avoid falling into a 1-0 series deficit at home. It required a goal by Alex Ovechkin that was hardly Ovechkin-esque as he whacked away at the puck in the crease until it went in.
“I didn’t see the puck,” Ovechkin said. “I just try to hit something. It goes in.”
Afterward it was described as “junk,” “dirty,” “ugly” and “greasy.”
Actually, it was just what the Caps needed – tying the score with 6:16 left in regulation.
“I think those kinds of goals are what you need in the playoffs,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “You can’t be cute all the time.”
For two periods, the Caps weren’t just trying to be cute. They got plenty of open ice and even a couple breakaways but couldn’t beat Lundqvist, who had 17 saves through two.
“They told us right away that Lundqvist is a great goalie, and it’s very difficult to score an easy one on him,” Alexander Semin said through an interpreter. “We couldn’t get a nice goal on him, so we scored a junk goal.”
It was far from junk if you look at what it meant to the Caps.
“Sometimes you need a greasy goal like that, and it sparks your team,” Boudreau said.