Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Game 4: Caps Fall to Rangers 2-1

As I got ready to settle down (if that's possible) for tonight's Game 4, I realized I could use the two Pepperidge Farm frozen garlic breads I bought on the way home to make some thunderstix of my own to cheer on the Caps. As long as they stay frozen, they're pretty loud - way cooler than those Star Wars things they gave to the Rangers fans the other night (which ended up on the ice anyway).

In all seriousness, I'm sure I'm one of many Caps faithful who has been on edge all day in anticipation of this game to see if the boys come out with the fire and fight they displayed in Monday night's huge win. The Rangers (and their loud fans) were jazzed and seemed to have the momentum through the first. Paul Bunyan, make that Paul Mara, got on the board first. The Blueshirts held the visitors without a shot well into the first period.

Ranger's ailing captain Chris Drury took advantage of a loose puck that Varlamov was unable to catch, and netted one to give his team a 2-0 advantage. The Caps had 19 shots on goal to the Rangers' 5 but were unable to get one through Henrik Lundqvist, who made the stellar stops required, including a flash glove save on a rocket from Alex Semin. The Caps went into the locker room after the second, still down by two goals.

The Caps had to come out swinging and stronger than ever in the final period. At 2:13 into the third period, Alex Ovechkin snuck past D-man Derek Morris and sniped one past King Henrik, who looked like he had absolutely no idea where the puck went. With a littler over nine minutes left and the Caps only trailing by a goal, Sean Avery got Milan Jurcina right in the schnozz with his grimy fist, drawing blood along with a penalty for roughing. In the resulting power play, both AO and Feds had strong chances but both clanked right off the goal posts. At the end of the power play, the refs who swallowed the whistles again, missed a Rangers cross-check but nailed Semin for a trip. Big John Erskine did his part on the critical PK and the Rangers were held at bay.

Avery took another idiotic penalty in the last minutes of the third by high-sticking Brian Pothier. The Rangers, who boast one of the best PKs in the league, killed another one for their problem child team mate. The final seconds were a mad frenzy of activity as the Caps fought to get one on the boards with an extra man and an empty net. But alas, Lundvquist had another magnificent performance, much to the dismay of the Capitals and the fans that love them.

Now down 3 games to 1, the Caps come home on Friday to fight for their playoff survival. After watching the better team (the Caps, of course) walk away from such a battle with a loss, my head is pounding. I think I'll go eat my thunderstix...

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