Taking a Punch or Two for the Team

The New York Rangers looked like they came ready to hit Wednesday night—not necessarily ready to win.

For the Capitals, who got an early lead on an Alex Ovechkin power play goal, that meant they needed to be cautious about not getting drawn into any extracurricular activities–especially since they made plenty of trips to the penalty box without them (over the 60-minute time frame, they played 10 minutes total of penalty kill time, so basically half a period).

“The start of the Bruins’ series, things got a little bit chippy, and we talked a lot about it, and that was one of the things that we knew had to be successful as a team—we wanted to either be on the power play or 5-on-5. We stayed out of it again tonight,” said Matt Hendricks.

In particular, the Caps’ Jason Chimera, known for not hiding his feelings on the ice, had to turn the other cheek Wednesday and exert extra effort as the Rangers worked to get under his skin. He answered with five shots and a goal. He also drew at least two Ranger penalties—the first led to Ovechkin’s power play goal, and the second came when Brandon Prust tried to provoke him.

“Chimmer did a good job of not getting too hot-headed, did a great job skating away, and Prust takes another penalty on him,” Hendricks said. “Those are things that aren’t always fun to do—take punches—but when you’re doing it for the rest of the guys in this room, it means a lot.”

“In Boston, I took a couple dumb penalties and kind of cost a bit of momentum,” Chimera said. “I didn’t want to cause any momentum. … They’re trying to draw a penalty, and you don’t want to be that goat in the penalty box, that’s for sure.”

Overall, it was a fairly strong showing for the Capitals, who were less than a minute away from a shutout of the Rangers.

“It was a lot like that Game 7 up in Boston,” Hendricks said of Hunter’s communication before the game. “He just came in and said, ‘You guys, you know, you’ve worked hard, you’ve battled hard, go out and win the hockey game. Play the way you can and win the hockey game.”

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5 Responses to Taking a Punch or Two for the Team

  1. gs12 says:

    ‘ Play the way you can and win the hockey game’. Classic DH – simple but effective. That’s the caps, simple and effective – but also a very very mentally tough team. The fact is, this game should have been 3-0 after the 2nd period – but the Caps never do anything the easy way. Still, it’s players like hendrick, chimera, brower, ward that have stepped up and made this a true team. I really like our chances in game 7. Go Caps!

  2. Mark says:

    “A fairly strong effort”? Facing elimination after a devastating loss, the Caps played one of their best games of the post-season. This post doesn’t make a case for that half-hearted compliment.

  3. tracy says:

    that game was great. I hated to see the ranger’s lone goal, and was waiting for a third Caps goal so I could relax a little bit. Another edge-of-the-seat game. I think the Caps can put them away on Saturday, and then go on to face the Devils.

  4. Jon says:

    Has anyone seen the post-game press conferences with Rangers coach John Tortorella. It’s obvious the Caps have gotten under his skin, especially since the Caps have defeated the Rangers in the past two series in the playoffs (previous seasons). I expect the Rangers to come roaring out of the gate at MSG on Saturday. It’s time for us to show some consistency and put together a consecutive win. Don’t want another disastrous letdown as with round 2 Penguins Game 7 when Neuvirth was lit up.

  5. Bastinda says:

    Varlamov. It was Varlamov.

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