The Capitals took game one against the New York Rangers with a dramatic 2-1 win in overtime on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center. The fans in DC witnessed the type of defensive performance that Washington promised to build this season on display in their first playoff game of 2011.
Washington saw the return of defenseman Mike Green who told Katie Carrera of the Washington Post following the game that he “felt comfortable playing again,” after being sidelined with a concussion for 20 straight games.
“I thought it was outstanding for a guy that hasn’t played in six weeks to come back to a game like that,” coach Bruce Boudreau told the media.
Boudreau opted to go with Michal Neuvirth as his netminder. The 23 year old blocked 24 of the 25 Rangers shots on goals in 78 minutes and 24 seconds on the ice. “We just had fun out there,” Neuvy told CSN following the game.
Russian stars Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin were credited with Washington’s two goals in the matchup. Ovie put on in the net late in the third period after Washington was trailing 1-0. Semin’s OT goal sealed the deal though with just a 1:37 left. A beautiful assist by Jason Arnott allowed Semin to put the one-timer past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The veteran Arnott talked about Washington’s defensive system following the game. “I think this team in the past has gotten into too many run-and-gun games, and I think that’s why they changed their system,” Arnott told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “Just a few words of advice between the periods, and not a whole lot. I think everybody knew what we had to do.”
So it took 80 minutes to score two goals, but the Capitals have a 1-0 lead over the Rangers. Let’s do it all over again on Friday at 7:30 in New York.