Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tough Loss for Caps at MSG

The Rangers were desperate for a win when the Caps showed up at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. It took overtime and a shootout, but eventually, they got it.

The game had an eventful start, with fights involving Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley coming just minutes into the first period. Jay Beagle, who was called up from Hershey for the game, skated on the energy line with Brash and Brads. Beagle earned respect from his teammates, delivering three shots on goal, two hits and two takeaways in 7:41 of ice time.

The Rangers made a concerted effort to contain the offensive artillery of Alex Ovechkin, with two defenders covering him during most of the game. Ovi didn't make it easy for them, though; he delivered 13 hits in the game. He also had an assist on the first goal from Mike Green. Green tied an NHL record for most consecutive goals by a defenseman with his 20th of the season, and he went on to score a second goal in the game. Tomas Fleischman and Eric Fehr also recorded goals in regulation.

The Caps found themselves in penalty trouble once again in this game, logging five minors in the third period including a double-minor to Shaone Morrisonn. Jose' Theodore and the Caps' penalty kill unit successfully defended over nine minutes of short-handed play, however, leaving the score tied 4-4 at the end of regulation. No goals were scored in overtime, which led to a shootout. With the Rangers up by 1, Ovi put one in the net to force a fourth round. The Rangers' Ryan Callahan rang a shot off the crossbar which hit the crease and glided through the paint into the goal, which, unbeknownst to Theodore, constitutes a valid goal in the shootout. The Rangers were again up by 1. Brooks Laich was unable to connect on his ensuing opportunity; the Rangers won 5-4. The Caps came away with a point, and Mike Green was named Second Star of the Game.

The Caps are now in third place in the Eastern Conference, just a point behind the New Jersey Devils. They have the opportunity to gain four points this weekend as they play back-to-back games against Tampa Bay and Florida.

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