The Washington Capitals outshot the New York Rangers. They drew more penalties. They won 70 percent of the faceoffs.
But a couple of breakdowns and a sub-par performance from Jose Theodore was enough to doom the Caps on this night and hand home-ice advantage to the Blueshirts.
Theodore gave up four goals on 21 shots, and made no attempt to deflect the blame afterwards.
“For playoff hockey, that wasn’t good enough,” he said “I think I’m going to have to look at my game. This wasn’t good enough, but in the playoffs you forget about it, bounce back and turn the page.”
Now, two goals came during bad line changes by the Caps. Two also came when the defenseman fell down and left a Rangers player with a breakaway (though one was not said defenseman’s fault). Still, Theodore could/should have made the save on any of them.
So, does this mean it will be time for Simeon Varalmov on Saturday afternoon in Game 2? Bruce Boudreau said there could be changes, but also made sure to say he was talking about the whole team.
On to some other notes from the aftermath of Washington’s second straight playoff loss at the Phone Booth:
* Sean Avery was well, Sean Avery in this game. He crossed paths with Mike Green near the Washington blue line, and Green falling led to a clean breakaway for Scott Gomez on New York’s first goal.
He also sent Green into the Rangers bench later in the game (and earned a cut from that fracas) and set Theodore off at one point. This is what the Caps can expect from him the rest of the way.
* Lundqvist was great in the first period, but did not steal this game. Is that a good thing or a bad thing, considering he has the talent to do that at least once or twice the rest of the way?
* Alex Ovechkin attempted 23 shots, and 13 were on net. He also had six hits — but they were all in the first period. Overall, this was one of Ovechkin’s best games in since the all-star break.
There was also a pretty funny occurance in the game when Ovechkin got his helmet knocked off, but there was no whistle for a lengthy period of time. He borrowed Matt Bradley’s lid for his next shift, and then Bradley came out on the ice sporting his back up helmet — so there was two No. 10s (sort of) on the ice. Ovechkin, sans the tinted visor, looked like a completely different player.
* Nicklas Backstrom (13 of 18) and Sergei Fedorov (14 of 20) killed it in the faceoff circle.
* Viktor Kozlov potted his first playoff goal in 22 career games. Not only did he get that monkey off his back, he just had a pretty solid night mixing it up along the wall and possessing the puck. Backstrom’s pass to set up Kozlov was sublime.