Capitals find success with better penalty kill

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They allowed 15 power-play goals on 51 chances (70.5 percent PK) and, as a result, were 2-8-1. The amount of times they were shorthanded was as big a problem as the amount of power-play goals they were allowing. The discipline gradually got better along with the penalty kill. Capitals coach Adam Oates said he thinks some of it has to do with conditioning, which was outlined as a major problem for Washington early in the regular season as critics were saying they were a team that wasn’t in shape. “We started with a lot of guys in different types of shape and guys had to play minutes,” Oates said. “As the year goes on you get into a rhythm. It’s our reads and clears and not giving teams second chances. Probably a little bit of luck in there too.” Probably a little bit of help from the Rangers as well. “We’re just too stagnant,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said of his team’s power play. “We’re almost paralyzed.” Their paralysis cost them in Game 1, when they couldn’t score during a 56-second 5-on-3 when the game was tied 1-1 (they lost 3-1). It cost them in Game 2, when they failed to get a shot on goal on power plays late in regulation and early in overtime. source: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=669229

Rangers-Capitals Preview

Nearly all of their playoff games were decided by one goal. Alex Ovechkin ‘s ice time dwindled. And their postseason ended with a Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers in the second round. On Thursday night, the Capitals opened this year’s playoffs against – who else? – the Rangers, using first-time NHL head coach Adam Oates’ more free-flowing style and a re-energized Ovechkin to produce a 3-1 victory. ”We play more well-rounded now,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. ”We have guys that can score goals and are allowed to go up there and do their thing. There’s really no reins on anybody. At the same time, they know what their defensive responsibilities are.” Ovechkin’s franchise-record 31st career playoff goal got Washington started before less-heralded teammates Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera scored 46 seconds apart, while Braden Holtby made 35 saves to outplay New York’s Henrik Lundqvist . Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Washington. It’s the third consecutive season these two teams are facing each other in the playoffs and the fourth time in five years. source: http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/RangersCapitals-Preview-79314653

Ovechkin, Holtby help new-look Capitals start playoff rematch against Rangers with 3-1 victory

Alex Ovechkin’s ice time dwindled. And their postseason ended with a Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers in the second round. On Thursday night, the Capitals opened this year’s playoffs against — who else? — the Rangers, using first-time NHL head coach Adam Oates’ more free-flowing style and a re-energized Ovechkin to produce a 3-1 victory. “We play more well-rounded now,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. “We have guys that can score goals and are allowed to go up there and do their thing. There’s really no reins on anybody. At the same time, they know what their defensive responsibilities are.” Ovechkin’s franchise-record 31st career playoff goal got Washington started before less-heralded teammates Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera scored 46 seconds apart, while Braden Holtby made 35 saves to outplay New York’s Henrik Lundqvist. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Washington. It’s the third consecutive season these two teams are facing each other in the playoffs and the fourth time in five years. source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/capitals/ovechkin-holtby-help-new-look-capitals-start-playoff-rematch-against-rangers-with-3-1-victory/2013/05/03/69ddc052-b3c7-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html

Alex Ovechkin, Capitals knock off Rangers in Game 1

But Washington is playing a livelier brand of hockey under first-time NHL head coach Adam Oates , a Hockey Hall of Fame forward who shifted Ovechkin from left wing to right wing and helped design the Capitals’ league-best power play. Oates also is not as apt to demand that his players sit back and protect a lead, the way his predecessor, Dale Hunter , did. “We play more well-rounded now,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “We have guys that can score goals and are allowed to go up there and do their thing. There’s really no reins on anybody. At the same time, they know what their defensive responsibilities are.” The Rangers drew six minor penalties, matching their regular-season high. “Against a power play like that, if you’re killing that much, eventually they’re going to capitalize,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. “They’ve got enough talent out there to do that, and we’ve just got to stay out of the box.” Coach John Tortorella agreed, saying: “We can’t take that many penalties. … Hopefully we’ll discipline ourselves in the next game.” Only 33 seconds after New York’s Arron Asham was whistled for an illegal check to the head, Ovechkin broke his tie with Peter Bondra for most postseason goals by a Washington player. Ovechkin slammed his shoulder into the glass to celebrate, and chants of “M-V-P!” cascaded from the red-clad fans in the stands. source: http://espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/recap?gameId=400462031

Capitals’ 27-year-old rookie has stories and scars

Four times in one practice is pretty frustrating. But it’s hockey.” It was hardly a big deal, therefore, for him to wake up Friday morning finding it tough to talk because of a face that was swollen because it got in the way of Derick Brassard’s shot late in the second period of the Capitals’ 3-1 victory Thursday night. Oleksy didn’t stay long on the ice before he got up and skated to the bench, running his tongue along his teeth as his jaw was examined by the gloved hands of head athletic trainer Greg Smith. Oleksy didn’t miss a shift. “Regardless of what had happened, I would have been back in there playing,” Oleksy said. “Just make sure the teeth are OK and nothing was wrong with the jaw. … Luckily there wasn’t more damage.” It was earlier in the period that Oleksy made the game’s flashiest play. On a night when Alex Ovechkin set the franchise record for career playoff goals, the truly “wow” moment came when Oleksy zipped a pass from the Capitals’ zone onto the stick of Marcus Johansson at the Rangers’ blue line, setting up the Swede to give Washington a 2-1 lead. Really? source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2013/hockey/nhl/wires/05/03/2040.ap.hkn.rangers.capitals.1st.ld.writethru.1269/index.html

NHL playoffs: Mike Green’s goal in overtime gives Capitals 2-0 series lead on Rangers

The goal was the latest work of “game-over Green,” the moniker the defenseman earned once again with the 18th game-winning goal of his career — eight of them in overtime. But the opportunity for Green to coolly blast a shot from the top of the circles past Henrik Lundqvist first required a costly penalty by Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “I think the whole game was patience — whoever was going to make the mistake first,” Green said. “Just a lucky one tonight. What an effort before we got that power play by the guys that were on the ice, pressuring their D. They had no choice but to try to go off the glass and they made a bad play.” Shortly after killing a penalty of their own in overtime, the Capitals hemmed New York deep in its own zone, forcing the visitors to keep an increasingly tired group on the ice. McDonagh had been on for a shift lasting 3 minutes 4 seconds when he attempted to clear the puck out of the zone but instead sent it over the glass to earn a minor penalty for delay of game. Washington dominated overtime even before McDonagh made his way to the penalty box. The Rangers failed to muster a shot on goal in the extra session despite a power play that started 1:15 in when Capitals defensman Steve Oleksy committed the same delay-of-game infraction. The Capitals penalty killers blocked shots aggressively — perhaps no one more so than Eric Fehr, who dove in front of an attempt by Derick Brassard immediately after a shorthanded chance — and barely allowed the Rangers to set up on the man advantage. New York finished the game 0 for 3 on the power play. “I was telling a few guys this might have been our best PK game all year,” said Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who recorded 24 saves for his first career playoff shutout. source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/capitals/capitals-beat-rangers-in-ot-on-mike-green-goal-lead-nhl-playoff-series-2-0/2013/05/04/6305a1f0-b4f3-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story.html

 

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