Kukla's Korner Hockey
Joel Ward with the goal and the Rangers were not happy with the hit on Dan Boyle.
added 10:32pm, NBCSN version is below...
from Zach Braziller of the New York Post,
The Capitals aren’t talking like heavy underdogs. They enter the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at the Garden saying this is just as much their series to win as the favored Rangers.
“Statistically, media-wise, obviously we’re the underdog, but I don’t believe anyone in here looks at it as far as being overmatched,” Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said. “The league now is so close. You look at the last playoffs, it really doesn’t matter where you finish. It’s how you play, how you prepare. It’s something that doesn’t really cross your mind.
“We believe we can beat any team in the league. I’m sure everyone does, every team. We know that chances were we had to go through the Rangers to accomplish our goal. It’s not a shock to us. It’s not like we’re intimidated by any teams. We respect them a lot, but if you’re going to win, you have to beat the best regular season-wise. They were the best. We’re ready for the challenge.”
Capitals forward Tom Wilson, who drew the ire of the Islanders for his controversial hit on defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky that resulted in a concussion in the opening round, expects the series to be heated, with plenty of trash talking and physical play.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
There was a fascinating technical breakdown on how to defend Ovechkin from Rangers’ captain Ryan McDonagh, who knows what to expect from the Russian winger whom he and partner Dan Girardi will see a lot this series.
Ovechkin led the league with 53 regular-season goals — 10 more than second-place finisher Steven Stamkos — and lining up on the left wing, he primarily will square off against the right-sided (and right-handed) Girardi. But that doesn’t mean Girardi is left alone to try and shut him down.
“He likes to make that move where he carries it in and makes a move to his forehand,” McDonagh said. “If anything, you want to try and support Dan in the aspect of maybe trying to take that ice away from him. If there’s a two-on-two situation or a one-on-two situation, he likes to get ahead of his guy sometimes. So if I can recognize that and it’s kind of them two on an island, hopefully I can come over and kind of cut that ice out for him so maybe he’s forced to go to his backhand or shoot it before he makes that move.”
Ovechkin may have his go-to moves, but McDonagh also is fully aware that is not the limit of his repertoire.
“He’s a world-class talent,” McDonagh said. “He’s got plenty of ways to be effective out there.”
from Ted Leonsis of Ted's Take,
Home ice advantage paid off in a big way last night.
Our fans were magnificent. Loud, proud, and supportive and caring and happy!
I am so very grateful to all of you. It was a sea of RED, and there was a positive vibe and an air of confidence in the building all night. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The series was as advertised. So close, so competitive. The Islanders have a great young team, and had to over come much adversity, the series couldn't have been much more competitive and I am so very grateful that the Caps won the series as our fan base is so deserved to continue to see NHL play off hockey into May.
from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog,
The Capitals took a new slogan into this spring. It sounds like a cliche — okay, it is a cliche — but that didn’t matter.
“I hear it all the time,” Joel Ward said after Washington’s series-clinching 2-1 win over the Islanders on Monday night.
“Going through the battle instead of going around it,” Nicklas Backstrom said, repeating the slogan.
Backstrom said the whole team uses it. But the phrase’s most colorful deployment came a few moments earlier, when Coach Barry Trotz addressed his team with the doors closed.
“We talked about going through it instead of around it,” Trotz told his players, in footage posted by Monumental Network. “We went [expletive] through it today, okay? You got a little test there today when they got it 1-1. There was no doubt. There was no [expletive] doubt.”
I lost count of the bleeps after 4....
Capitals defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in game 7 and will now play the New York Rangers.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There’s no telling how tonight’s decisive Game 7 between the Islanders and Capitals will play out, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that their first-round series got to this point.
There was little to distinguish these Metropolitan Divison rivals, results-wise, during the regular season. Both ended up with 101 points. Both won a combined 40 games in regulation and overtime. Both were strong on the road, picking up 22 victories. They were so close that home ice for this game had to be decided by a count of points gained in head-to-head play, the NHL's third tiebreaker. The Caps earned the edge, 6-5, on the strength of a shootout win over the Isles on Feb. 21.
Maybe that will pay off for the Capitals tonight. Or not.
In fact, losing that game might have been the best thing that could have happened to the Islanders, at least if recent history counts for anything.
Six series went to a seventh game during last spring’s tournament. Five of them were won by the visiting team, though home clubs hold an all-time mark of 91-65.
from Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post,
The Washington Capitals have told themselves there will be another day, and without question this is cemented in their minds. They feel confident there will be another game beyond the winner-take-all, loser-go-home meeting with the New York Islanders on Monday night, the seventh and last in these Eastern Conference quarterfinals. They believe they will watch the next round while playing in it themselves, not sitting on their couches at home, stewing and wondering what could have been.
They have told themselves they will meet again inside this practice facility to scheme and watch video of the New York Rangers, the opponent awaiting whichever club emerges victorious from Verizon Center, and not to conduct exit interviews. They hope they will peel another frame from their advent calendar, the one with 16 squares, the number of wins necessary to capture the Stanley Cup. Deep down, they insisted all this work wouldn’t be for naught, that what they accomplished in Coach Barry Trotz’s first season wouldn’t get overshadowed by another early-round, Game 7 exit.
They convinced themselves of these things because concentrating on anything else would be to acknowledge the alternative.
“The main thing is having no regrets,” forward Joel Ward said. “You don’t want to have any shoulda-woulda-couldas.”
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
Troy Brouwer, now in his fourth season in Washington, noted that all three of his playoff series have been decided in seven games.
He said he believes that with the arrivals of coach Barry Trotz and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, this year’s Capitals have a better chance of closing the deal in Game 6.
“We have to find a way where we can close teams out,” Brouwer said. “I like the pedigree of our team. I like how we’re embracing the situation right now. We know tomorrow night’s going to be our toughest game in a long time because that elimination game is extremely hard to win because the other team is extremely desperate. We have that same attitude as well, because we know what it’s like to exit the playoffs early and we don’t want to be doing that again this year.”
Orpik said he’s noticed a resilience in the Capitals that has served them well in this series. He pointed to the Islanders’ first goal as an example. Several Capitals thought Islanders captain John Tavares deserved a penalty for covering the puck with his hand in the moments leading up to Josh Bailey’s early goal.
“I think a lot of teams in that situation would have panicked,” Orpik said. “I think we did a really good job staying the course and not letting a missed call rattle us.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org