The bad blood between these two teams from last season's playoffs has certainly not been laid to rest as the Caps ventured into a hostile MSG to meet the rival Rangers. The Blueshirts got on the board first courtesy of sniper Marian Gaborik at 1:16 in the first period, as the boys seemed to be unable to get the puck out of their own zone. But we had Alex Ovechkin back on the ice and he quickly answered the Rangers tally with a slap shot from the blueline. Though there was no more scoring in the first period, it was all Capitals as the visitors held the Rangers to 5 shots to their 15. The first period also saw an ugly fight between Aaron Voros and Matt Bradley -Brads left the ice looking a bit like he had a run in with a meat grinder. Ovie had this to say about HM's favorite player dropping them for team:"He had big fight. And after his fight our team wake up and play our game."
The Capitals got on the board again in the second period with a Brooks Laich goal from right in front of King Henrik's crease. The chippiness continued as Ovie and Marc Staal were in an all-out battle for greatest number of hits (on each other). Marian Gaborik lit the lamp for the Blueshirts again in the final period, shortly after our much beloved grinder Quintin Laing sacrificed himself yet again to block a Rangers shot. This time Laing took a puck to the face and suffered a broken jaw (he'll be out for several weeks). That guy has had a tough go of it: a torn spleen, swine flu and now the jaw! There cannot be enough said about his dedication and work ethic as a team player....
Of course no Rangers contest would be complete without several doses of obnoxious doled out by none other than Sean Avery. Avery was up to his typical antics from the start of the game and made such dramatic dives trying to draw penalties that HM is going to vote him co-captain of the diving team behind our pal Sidney Crosby! He got away with yet another punch to the face of Semyon Varlamov (yeah #16, we saw you do it in the playoffs too) in direct view of the refs and John Erskine got the penalty when he came to Varly's defense.
But Matt Bradley was the night's big star, smoking both Wade Redden and then Henrik Lundqvist with a beautiful goal driven by sheer strength and will to give the Caps the lead late in the final period. Brian Pothier put a fork in it with his empty net goal as the Caps took down the Rags with a final score of
A huge Hockey Mom high five to all the guys for an exciting win and especially to Coach Bruce Boudreau for becoming the fourth fastest coach in the NHL to reach the 100 win mark!
Next up for the Caps, the Montreal Canadiens visit Verizon on Friday after a shoot out win against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes. Let's hope for the sake of our eyesight that the Habs aren't sporting these lovely sweaters: