It wasn’t so much a shot Jason Chimera took as he turned up the boards with just under five minutes remaining in the second period, but more a veteran winger throwing the puck toward an opposing net. Good things happen when you put the puck on net, after all.
Thursday night in Game 1 of this first-round series against the New York Rangers, Chimera was rewarded for his instincts. Henrik Lundqvist said he “expected a pass” and was “a little slow to react” to the unassuming shot that found its way to the back of the net for an important 3-1 lead. Washington carried that advantage to a win and a 1-0 head-start in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup.
“It was a pretty goal, I picked a corner,” Chimera joked before turning serious. “I just saw [Mathieu Perreault] at the net, I tried to wing it to him for a tip or whatever — it just ended up going straight in. I think Lundqvist saw him and thought maybe he was going to tip it, but he didn’t, and sometimes those things happen.”
The goal marked Chimera’s sixth goal in 13 career playoff games against the Rangers. In the 24 postseason contests he’s played against any other opponent, Chimera has just two goals.
There’s rarely an explanation to why a player excels against a particular opponent, but Chimera thinks it might just be a matter of the time of year he faces New York.
“Playoffs, I live for this,” said Chimera, who celebrated his 34th birthday Thursday. “This is a fun time of year and the third and fourth lines are going to be huge. I talked to my linemates before the game and said, ‘We’ve got to really step it up and help the team out.’ How we played overall, it was a pretty good game tonight for our team.”
From Capitals’ Game 1 win:
How a critical penalty kill swung momentum for Washington
Wise: Holtby out-duels Lundqvist
Game 1 shot tracker
Miss the game? Get caught up with the live blog
More to come Friday morning.