Throughout the playoffs we’ll boil down each Capitals game to the highlight-worthy moments on their quest for the Stanley Cup.
It took all three periods and an extra eight minutes to get on the board, but Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was finally claimed in memorable fashion by the Caps.
Game Changer: In this hard-fought contest it all came down to a pair delay of game penalties in overtime. With less than a minute to play in the third period Karl Alzner got a piece of the puck in his zone and inadvertently sent it over the glass. The refs, however, decided to allow the two sides to play on, sending the game into overtime. The Caps had gotten away with one, but they wouldn't be so lucky just under two minutes into OT when Oleksy was whistled for the same previously uncalled infraction.
Despite the man advantage, the Rangers spent much of the power play on their heels as an aggressive Capitals penalty kill thwarted the attack and went on the offensive when Eric Fehr stormed into New York's end for a short hand attempt. Fehr then quickly returned to his own end to take Derick Brassard's shot to the gut. The Rangers were unable to get a single clean shot on goal and once restored to full strength, the Capitals made them pay.
After the kill, the Caps kicked it into overdrive throwing nine attempts on net in two and a half minutes of play before forcing a delay of game penalty in their favor and a power play opportunity they would cash in for the win.
"It's kind of irony when they get one right after and we're able to capitalize," said Oleksy. "It's a funny game."
Top Goal: Without any competition, Mike Green of course takes this one. With the momentum, crowd and numbers in their favor, Green capitalized on the Caps' fourth power play opportunity with a blazing slap shot from 55 feet out that found its way through traffic and by Lundqvist for the game-winner.
Top Save: Braden Holtby was perfect in Game 2 on the 24 shots he faced, with a pair of big assists coming from the pipes early in both the first and third periods. The Caps meanwhile threw 58 shots toward the Rangers' net, forcing Henrik Lundqvist 37 saves, before finally besting the netminder in overtime. Though the Rangers made it tough on anyone attempting to carry the puck into their zone tonight, the Capitals' top line of Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom was able to maneuver around roadblocks on several occasions, only to be thwarted by one pass too many or Lundqvist himself.
"It's tough to tell the guys to shoot the puck when I never did," said Adam Oates.
The save of the night came on one such play where Ovechkin sent a beautiful cross-crease thread to Johansson, causing Lundqvist to go down early, leaving the top two-thirds of his net wide open. Johansson collected the puck but his decision to fake out Lundqvist allowed Ryan McDonagh to swoop in and Johansson was unable to get the loft he needed on his shot, allowing Ludqvist to nab the puck.
"I just said to [Johansson], 'He's a pretty good goalie, eh?" said Oates.
"You expect nothing but great goaltending out of this series on both ends," said Fehr. "They've got six goalies out there on every shift. We're trying to get pucks by them. They're doing a great job boxing us out and we just gotta find ways to get in front of the net and try to get some dirty rebound goals."
Tough guy: The hard-hitting Rangers came out even tougher in Game 2 laying out 58 hits on the Caps and attempting to bait defensemen into retaliating. The Caps not only kept their composure, they also responded by delivering 50 hits of their own, led by Oleksy with eight. The defenseman also drew a penalty early on the Rangers when he and Derek Dorsett exchanged a few shoves and Dorsett got his stick involved.
"They were trying to play a physical game and I think everybody responded well to that. Sometimes when you go to make a hit you get out of position and I think we had some chances from that," said Oleksy.
"It was definitely the most physical we've played this year," said Fehr, who had six hits on the night. "I think that was their game plan coming in, to try and run us out of the building and I think the guys did a good job keeping their composure and handling the d-zone. They have a big team, they added two forwards that can hit and we knew they were going to use those guys to intimidate our defense and our forwards and it's just not going to work."
"We knew coming in that it was going to be a hard-fought battle," said Holtby. "We did a great job hanging in there and taking a lot of hits to make plays. That's a big key in physical games and we did a good job of it tonight."
Moment of Torts: He was a man of few words after the 1-0 OT loss in Game 2 that put his Rangers into a 2-0 deficit in the series. Though John Tortorella seemed to have plenty to say to officials on the topic of delay of game penalties, he had only three for the media after the game.
Relive the top moments from Game 1.