'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Who knew Mike Ribeiro's overtime goal on Friday would be the Caps' last of the season and that 72 hours they'd be sitting in their locker room wondering what happened.
Given the tightness of the series, it was shocking that the Caps did not put up a fight in being eliminated. And the end unfolded in stunning fashion.
The Capitals committed five penalties during their 1-0 loss in Game 6 and never had a power play. Postseason success is rarely a tidy matter for this team, and another round of undisciplined play ensured that Sunday.
If the old cliché that a playoff series doesn't begin until the home team loses a game is to be believed, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers haven't even gotten started. But it's not just that the Caps are 3-0 at Verizon Center and Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden so far in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, it's that the location of the games has seemingly made all the difference.
Joel Ward, Game 5 and the New York Rangers. That combination, before Friday night, was synonymous with missed opportunity and disappointment for the Washington Capitals. This year’s script was different, though. Friday night’s had a happy ending. As Ward glided toward his teammates to celebrate the Caps’ 2-1 overtime victory at Verizon Center, he was redeemed.
Alex Ovechkin can't get away from New York Rangers defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. No matter if it's at Verizon Center or Madison Square Garden, the Washington Capitals captain will have to deal with being the focal point for the rest of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Winning has a way of proliferating good vibes. The Redskins finally are realizing that. This is what owner Daniel Snyder had in mind when he hired general manager Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan little more than three years ago.
You thought the New York Rangers, who finished with one fewer point than the Capitals during the regular season, were going to roll over after losing two games in D.C.? You thought the Rangers, who collected five points in three regular-season meetings with Washington, were going to go away that easily?
Washington again failed to take a 3-0 series lead, a feat that has never been accomplished in 21 playoff series in franchise history. Instead, the Rangers have life going into Game 4 Wednesday night.
Fans at Verizon Center leapt to their feet as soon as the whistle blew. The Washington Capitals hadn't scored a goal all afternoon, but with the Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green-led power play about to take the ice, it felt automatic.
Mike Green’s eighth career overtime goal and first overtime playoff winner earned Washington a 2-0 series lead and kept its home ice advantage ahead of Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. The Capitals were in this position two seasons ago and went on to beat the Rangers four games to one in the quarterfinals.
It's hard to believe Rule 63.2 would make the difference in a playoff game, actually in the Caps' favor. Though as they showed in Saturday's Game 2 overtime victory against the Rangers, they're well-positioned to take advantage of one of the few times officials can't swallow their whistles.
Dale Hunter's 2012 team flipped a switch when the playoffs began. Adam Oates' team showed in Game 1 against the Rangers that nothing changed from the regular season.
The power play did yield a goal by Alex Ovechkin that tied the score in the second period, but it was a gritty penalty kill that turned things around and gave the Caps the series lead over the Rangers.
A couple of weeks ago, Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy had a fresh set of stitches in his lower lip. They're gone now. Taking their place are a couple of scrapes that will probably be followed by a bruise on his right cheek. That's what happens when you take a puck to the face from close range.