The Capitals carried a streak into Friday's Game 2 that they wanted no part of: They had gone 19 straight power play chances in the playoffs without lighting the lamp, dating back to last year's playoff upset at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.
It took a bit of hard work - and some luck - to end the streak. But end it did.
On Washington's second power play of the night early in the second period, Mike Green wound up for a shot, and the puck deflected right off Ranger defenseman Matt Gilroy's stick to Jason Arnott. The veteran center buried the puck past Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist - who was diving for the Green blast and was out of position - for a 2-0 Washington lead.
"I was kind of in the right spot at the right time," Arnott told reporters afterwards. "In the first period we were a little too fancy [with the first power play] and we wanted to get more shots on net.
"I saw [Green] wind up and shoot it and it got deflected, and it happened to land on my stick. I knew [Lundqvist] was down and out, and that's the only way we can beat him. He's a phenomenal goaltender."
It was Washington's first extra-man goal since Alexander Ovechkin scored in Game 4 of the Montreal series and was a relief for Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.
"Special teams are going to win you games all the time," Boudreau said. "We got a lucky break, it deflected onto [Arnott's] stick. But it was a great shot and we deserved to score."
Green was happy to finally get the power play going, but also recognized this year's team has a different makeup than the one that went 1-for-33 in last year's series loss.
"Last year's last year, this year's this year," the All-Star defenseman said. "It's important to take advantage of the power play no matter what.
"It's important, you're not going to win games if you don't score on your power play and you don't get many chances. When we do, we better take advantage of them."
"It was big, we did a better job the last two games, even in the regular season, but just didn't score," Marco Sturm said of the tally. "It's nice to see us get a big goal."
And - as the Arnott tally helped give Washington a 2-0 series lead - it put a smile on Arnott's face.
"Anytime you score in the playoffs, especially against a high-end goaltender like that, it's always nice," he said. "It gets your confidence going, especially on the PP."
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