This feels like last year all over again, only it doesn’t. Last year the Caps had fight and scratch and claw to win Games 5 and 6 to get to a Game 7 against Philadelphia. These past two games have been a walk through sunny Central Park in comparison.
Here are a few notes/quotes from the aftermatch of a surprisingly easy Caps victory:
* Tom Poti gets a lot of grief from the fans in this building, but he was probably smiling all the way back to Washington. Poti had his first four-point game since 2004 — when he played for the Rangers.
There were several Rangers fans who waited around after Poti’s NBC interview to let him know they still don’t like him as he skated off the ice.
“I could care less about any of that,” Poti said. “I am just glad we got a win tonight and we’ve got more work to do.”
Wonder if these same Rangers fans wouldn’t want to have Poti instead of Wade Redden at this point? Or Michal Rozsival? Or Derek Morris? Or Paul Mara?
* For the second straight game, Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t very regal. He’s now allowed nine goals on the past 34 shots he faced. That comes after he stopped 141 of 149 in the first four games. He also hasn’t played in a third period since Game 4, with backup Stepehn Valiquette becoming the first goalie in this postseason to play in relief twice.
* Bruce Boudreau doesn’t believe there should be any further penalty for Donald Brashear’s open ice hit on Blair Betts, but the Rangers might disagree.
Brashear drilled Betts near the Rangers bench, but did not earn a penalty for it (he got one for tangling with Paul Mara in the seconds after). Brashear probably deserved two for interfernece, because the puck wasn’t really close to Betts at the time.
“We watched [the hit] in between periods,” Boudreau said. “To me that was a shoulder – a complete shoulder and he followed through, but the elbow didn’t hit him. It was a good shoulder hit.”
Rangers acting coach Jim Schoenfeld didn’t see it that way.
“I didn’t see it at the time, I saw it on the replay and it was a late hit to the head,” he said. “It was pretty vicious. He is a big, strong guy as you all know, and [Betts] didn’t see him coming. He is hurt significantly.”
* As if there wasn’t enough drama with this series, Schoenfeld said Shaone Morrisonn bit Brandon Dubinsky during a scrum in the third period and his player recieved a tetnis shot after the game. Dubinsky hit Mike Green behind the net, which set off the melee. Dubinsky got two for boarding, two for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. Morrisonn got two for roughing.
* To recap, there have been four 10-minute misconducts, a suspension, a controversial non-suspension, a controversial open-ice hit and possibly a bitten player in this series.
And yet somehow, this series still doesn’t feel like it has nearly the tension and hatred that last year’s series with the Flyers had. Weird.
* Speaking of a controversial non-suspension, Sean Avery returned to the lineup. He had a secondary assist (his first of the series) and played nearly 20 minutes, but he had less of an impact (good or bad) on this game than he did in any of the others.