NEW YORK | By the time it was over, New York Rangers forward Artem Anisimov was just trying to grab onto other players just to stand up, like a boxer at the end of a round. The Rangers were spent, but by the time it was over, the Washington Capitals didn’t have a goal.
A two-minute shift in the offensive zone included only two shots on net and was a major missed opportunity for the Caps in their Game 7 loss.
“You could just tell in your one-on-one battles that they were very fatigued and very tired,” forward Brooks Laich said. “We just wanted to keep pushing. It would’ve been nice to get one in the second in the last 10 minutes and make them really tighten up.”
Starting at about the 9:50 mark of the second period and lasting about two minutes, it was the kind of shift that filled Madison Square with nervous energy and had fans yelling at the Rangers to just ice the puck already. Mike Green and Roman Hamrlik kept passing the puck back and forth while New York was all hemmed in.
Anisimov, Ruslan Fedotenko, Derek Stepan, Michael Del Zotto and Marc Staal couldn’t get off the ice. The Caps were able to cycle the puck and move it around with Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin, and then Laich, Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer.
Plenty of chances, no results, and coach Dale Hunter credited goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
“Yeah, we had some. I think Brouws had a good chance, but again, you’ve got to give the goalie credit,” Hunter said. “He must have been tired going side-to-side, but he battled and made a good save on Brouws, but that’s how you play. That’s how you play playoff hockey.”
But players said they weren’t deflated by not scoring.
“This group has never stopped. We just move forward. You don’t get one there, it’s still a one-goal game and you still have a lot of hockey left,” Laich said. “It’s not disappointing; you just have to move on and keep trying to score.”
Added Mike Knuble: “Repeated passes across the blue line and just couldn’t jam anything in. [Lundqvist] held his own there. I felt like as a group were going to get one there. We didn’t, but we felt like that was a great offensive push. We just couldn’t convert there. I don’t think it weighed on us. I don’t think it was the be-all, end-all and it was like a give-up moment or anything like that.”