After two disappointing losses in the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals, looks like the Capitals finally got the memo. You know the one - the one that said to beat the Rangers you have to stop taking fancy shots from the perimeter, you keep your s%$# together when Sean Avery gets in your grill, and you do whatever it takes to protect your house. In other words, play like a team, crash the net and keep your cool. And that they did, bringing a breath of new life to the Caps' nervous faithful and silencing the loud MSG crowd equipped with "light sabre" glow-in-the-dark thunder sticks.
Simeon Varlamov was absolutely outstanding - earning a shut out as a rookie 20-year old in the Stanley Cup playoffs is no small feat. Especially when you have Sean Avery's derriere in your face all night! Varly made a stellar 33 saves as the Rangers laid the big goose egg!
The SOB line (Semin, Ovechkin, Backstrom) lit the lamp twice in the first period courtesy of shots by Alex Semin. Ovie added his contribution on the defensive side as well, blocking a breakaway attempt by Lauri Korpikoski and laying his signature glass-rattling hits. It was great to see big Brash back in the line up as well, boosting up the tough factor. And how hard do you think it was for John Erskine to keep his cool after getting cross-checked by Avery? Hockey Mom cheered with glee after #16 finally got tossed for his cheap shot on Varlamov in the final minutes of the game. Caps Chick says it best with these great photo captions that had me laughing my head off!
"Crash the net" - Brooks Laich heard the message loud and clear, getting the puck in the paint with a goal in the second period to make it 3-0 Caps. Tom Poti was the finisher with the last goal in the third as the disgusted Rangers fans fled MSG while throwing crap on the ice (very nice) before leaving the building.
FINAL: Caps 4 - Rangers 0
Tonight we saw the Capitals team we've been watching all season - the guys are back in this thing and HM is breathing a little easier. A fabulous effort all around - let's do it again on Wednesday....