Rangers beat Caps 4-1, at least Ovi scored

The Washington Capitals returned from their six-day hiatus by dropping a road game to the New York Rangers. The Caps played well, I guess, but except once they couldn’t beat New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin.

Mika Zibanejad scored the first thanks to a freefall pass from Alexis Lafrenière, who scored in the second period after a failed clearance from TJ Oshie. Chris Krieder made it 3-0 in the third after another failed clearance attempt. Barclay Goodrow made it 4-0 in the run.

As a blessing to you directly, Alex Ovechkin scored to end the shutout with a minute left.

Caps lose.

  • The Caps often got the puck, but they didn’t do much with it. When I last checked, the Caps took around 60% of shot attempts but only generated 52% of expected goals. That is to say that the convenient and obvious story is not the only story of the night.
  • The practical and obvious story is the goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin hijacking ALMOST everything Washington had. Thank you Ovi for completing the statistics.
  • TJ Oshie returned to play for the first time since January 15. This is only his third game of 2022. When healthy, Oshie is a huge boon to this team, so let’s give him some time.
  • The Capitals tried new things on the power play. They had Ovechkin try to get close looks, they used Justin Schultz instead of John Carlson for a third-period spell, and they tried to let Nicklas Backstrom be the entry guy one or two times. None of that worked, and they also allowed some tantalizing chances on the penalty kill. Frustrating.
  • ESPN’s appeal was tasteless. It started with an insubstantial hyping by Tom Wilson against Ryan Reaves and was peppered with credulous statements about Reaves’ impact on the game. (Reaves got a secondary pass on fourth base.) Also, Leah Hextall’s analysis was inaudible to me. The only good thing the show did was remind us all the time how bad Washington’s power play was. We had almost forgotten about it for a moment.
  • Conor Sheary, who bows to no one, fought Ryan Lindgren. So there is this.
  • Out of town: The Devils lit up the Penguins (6-1 at last look) and Nashville retired Pekka Rinne’s number. That’s only part of an excuse to share that amazing goalkeeper clip above.

It was a bad game. You might wonder if the Caps really showed up or not. Thirty-seven shots is a lot, but it wasn’t enough of a challenge for this goaltender. Some uneven plays in the defensive zone. A power play always execrable.

I don’t know how this team doesn’t panic. They’ve been bad for two months now. They should change something. Nothing.

All the love and solidarity in the world to Ukraine.

Main photo: @real_jon_c

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