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Posted at 10:21 PM ET, 04/30/2012

Game 2: Ovechkin scores game winner to lift Caps past Rangers, 3-2

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Madison Square Garden
TV:
NBCSN | Radio: 1500 AM

Series tied at 1.

Updates are in reverse-chronological order.


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
Neil’s final scoring chance update: Washington 12, New York 15. 10-10 at even-strength. Brooks Laich on the ice for half of the 5v5 chances against and Marcus Johansson had the best differential at plus-3.

End regulation: That'll do it. Ovechkin, playing just 13:36, gets the game-winner to tie the series at one game apiece. Right move or not, it makes it hard to question Hunter, no?

Gotta run (deadlines are fun), but we’ve got much more to come. Stay tuned.

19:10 3rd: Del Zotto hits another post. He/Caps have some exceptionally bad/good luck tonight.

12:33 3rd: Good time for Ovechkin to make an impact. Richards goes off for holding and the Caps captain blasts one past Lundqvist from the point after Backstrom wins the faceoff. Caps up 3-2.

Also, this happened.


Neil, 12:29 3rd: Washington has just one scoring chance in the third (Backstrom wrap-around) while Rangers have five. Caps get another PP with 7:31 left. Time to make something happen.

9:53 3rd: Green draws a penalty; Boyle for hooking.


6:58 3rd: With Knuble in the box for high-sticking Callahan, Del Zotto’s shot deflects in off Callahan and this game is tied at 2. Fans at MSG chanting at Holtby now.

That makes for the second time the Caps have lost a two-goal lead this postseason. The first time, they ended up beating Boston, 4-3, in Game 5.


4:30 3rd: That was close. Del Zotto has Holtby beat but rings one off the post.


Neil, intermission: Chances were 4-3 in the second period in Caps favor, 10-9 overall through two periods.

Hendricks had two chances that period and has been on the ice for four of Washington's nine chances-for. I also think Chimera's goal will/should be his by the end of the night.

Ovechkin 9:14, Beagle 14:16, but that includes a 2:32 shift for Ovechkin due to an icing.


End 2nd: Caps still up 2-1 at the end of the second and Rangers have caught up in shots, now tied at 18 apiece.


13:23 2nd: Near-goal there for the Caps as Ovechkin scoops up the puck and shoots under Lundqvist but it doesn’t cross the line.


Tarik: Near the midway point of the second period, Ovechkin has 4:57 of ice time on seven shifts. That’s less than everyone except the fourth liners (who have scored.) Ovechkin will say all the right things. But it could make for some tension in the Caps’ room – and lead to some bigger questions for the offseason.


6:45 2nd: Ovechkin with a single shift so far this frame, for 1:18. Though he has doubled his shot output from last game (2!). This is basically a mid-game nap. Um, maybe Hunter's planning on skating him the whole third period?


4:40 2nd: Holtby seems to have bounced back, alright. The rookie just stoned Mike Rupp on a backhand. He’s kept the Caps in it a few times tonight.


Neil, intermission: Washington tied with Rangers for scoring chances 6-6 but have a slight lead during even-strength 5-4. Brouwer leads the team with two.

The bloom falling off the rose for Jay Beagle? On the ice for three of the four 5v5 chances-against and one of the two during the PK.

Ovechkin has played just 3:33 in the first, Jay Beagle 7:21. What could go wrong there?


End 1st: And to end the period, Mike Green — who has been getting crushed on every shift — is called for tripping Kreider with 13 seconds left. Caps lead 12-10 in shots.


19:18 1st: There’s the second Rangers goal on a bad Caps line change. Gaborik sets up Richards during 4-on-4 to cut Caps’ lead to one as Laich is skating off. 2-1 Caps.


17:14 1st: Crazy sequence as the puck goes over Carlson’s stick and Kreider takes off on a breakaway but is stoned by Holtby, then Hendricks dumps in and Jason “Road Runner” Chimera banks it in off Lundqvist’s stick to put Caps up 2-0. Wowza. Much different first period than in Game 1, as far as pacing goes.


14:53 1st: Caps go to the power play as New York is called for too many men on the ice.


14:40 1st: And as Katie notes, should it really even be called the fourth line? Where’s that production from Ovechkin and co?



(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
12:20 1st: Fourth line is the best line. No Alex Semin necessary. Keith Aucoin and Joel Ward with a nice tic-tac-toe to set up Mike Knuble on the doorstep to put the Caps up 1-0.

Knuble (three points in last five games) and Ward (four points in last five), regular season underachievers, are turning into (relative) playoff heroes for the Caps.


11:36 1st: Mike Green with the save of the game, swatting the puck out of harm’s way after it slipped past Holtby and just sat right in front of the goal line for what felt like a decade, and several seconds pretty much is a decade in hockey time.

Ovechkin then fired a shot point-blank on Lundqvist but got stoned.


6:31 1st: Back to even strength after Hendricks, Alzner and Schultz all just blocked shots. Sticking to the plan, even though it hurts.


3:49 1st: Ryan McDonagh sets up a good chance but Holtby makes the stop on Chris Kreider. Now Caps’ PK gets to work as Hamrlik is called for holding Anisimov.


7:31 p.m.: #Fancystats isn’t done yet, either. He’ll be jumping around in the comments and provide some scoring chance data, too.

I’m most interested to see how Braden Holtby fares tonight after stopping 11 of 14 shots in his worst postseason outing thus far, a 3-1 Game 1 loss that saw the Rangers score two goals in 90 seconds. The 22-year-old rookie was critical of his performance Saturday, but his teammates and coach said they know he’ll rebound. He’ll have to — this new-look, low-scoring Caps team isn’t going to get very far without a solid presence in net.


7:12 p.m.: Here’s Katie with the Caps’ lines in warmup tonight (though they could certainly change, as they did in Game 1):

Semin's back on the second line, which makes way more sense than sending him to the fourth when the team is in search of offense. Also, Ovechkin took rushes on the right side of the top line — for what it's worth.

Forwards
Johansson-Laich-Ovechkin
Chimera-Backstrom-Semin
Hendricks-Beagle-Brouwer
Knuble-Aucoin-Ward

Defensemen
Alzner-Carlson
Hamrlik-Green
Schultz-Wideman

Goalies
Holtby
Neuvirth

Brian Boyle will be back in the Rangers’ lineup tonight after missing the past three games with a concussion.


6:05 p.m.: Trying something new today. I’ll be live-blogging the action from Game 2 once the puck drops at Madison Square Garden, but starting at 6:30 join us for a little pregame Q&A show hosted by resident #fancystats geek Neil Greenberg.

We’ll catch you back here after that with a lineup and more. Aaaand break.

By  |  10:21 PM ET, 04/30/2012

 
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