Puck possession pays off

Washington had a tremendous shot advantage the entire night, with the edge reaching 35-25 at the end of overtime, and it finally paid off.

Big win for The Capitals: the team with home-ice advantage that goes up 3-2 has a 43-31 record in Game 6 and is 60-14 (.811) in the first round.



Rangers, Capitals head to overtime

Time for bonus hockey at Verizon Center. After a scoreless third period, the Capitals and Rangers will play overtime for the second time in the series to decide a game tied at 1.

Washington has controlled play for most of the past two periods. Since the first period, they’ve put 19 shots on goal, compared to eight for New York.

Braden Holtby faced just four shots in the third period and hasn’t allowed a goal since the game’s opening minute, but the Capitals will have to solve Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves) to stay perfect at home for the series.

Neil’s Take

Ovechkin’s five shots are more than Rick Nash, Derek Stepan and Brad Richards have combined tonight.


Washington has 61 shot attempts at even-strength. New York has 30. Amazing it is going to overtime tied 1-1.


Players and fans at Nats Park show some love to the Caps:

(Thanks to Steinz for the assist.)

Caps shooting the puck. And shooting and shooting.

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Washington has a 27-16 shot advantage over New York, and have taken 32(!) more shot attempts (including missed and blocked shots) during even-strength.

The Rangers have just two shots in the third period with 1:18 left to play in regulation.

Carlson rings crossbar, game remains tied

New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist has made several fine saves to keep Game 5 tied, but John Carlson’s bid for the go-ahead goal appeared to have the netminder beat when it rung the crossbar on Lundqvist’s glove side.

The Capitals have outshot the Rangers, 18-6, since the first period and continue to press for their first lead of the game. Lundqvist has 25 saves, while Braden Holtby, who has not allowed a goal since the game’s opening minute, has 15.

It stays 1-1 with less than six minutes left in regulation.

Caps-Rangers Game 6 will be at 4:30 p.m.

The Leafs held on to beat the Bruins, 2-1, forcing a Game 6 and shifting the Caps and Rangers to a 4:30 p.m. puck drop for Sunday.

Here’s when the other games will be played Sunday now:

7 p.m.: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 7 (if necessary)

7:30 p.m.: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 6

10 p.m.: Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks, Game 7 (if necessary)

Tom Wilson one of 21

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)


Tom Wilson has played more than five minutes in an NHL playoff game as a teenager. Only 20 other forwards have managed that feat:

Jordan Staal
Tyler Seguin
Sean Couturier
Joe Thornton
Patrice Bergeron
Milan Lucic
Matt Duchene
Ales Hemsky
Ryan O’Reilly
James Sheppard
Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Sidney Crosby
Alex Galchenyuk
Patrick Marleau
Stanislav Chistov
Martin Havlat
Jakub Voracek
Jason Spezza
Brandon Saad
Mark Stone

Capitals come up empty on power play

Washington capitalized on its first power play with a goal after only 11 seconds. The Capitals got another chance early in the third period when Michael Del Zotto interfered with Mathieu Perreault.

The power play was not as fruitful this time with New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist coming up with three saves, all on Alex Ovechkin to keep the game tied at 1. The Vezina finalist stymied the NHL’s leading regular season scorer at close range on the left side of the net.

The deadlock continues with less than 14 minutes left in regulation.

Caps’ awkward goal celebration

In the second period, Joel Ward scored just 11 seconds into the Caps’ first and only power play of Game 5, and Alex Ovechkin was so excited he missed Ward when he went in for the celebration. Via @recordsANDradio:

Also, imagine this coming at you full speed (photo via The Post’s John McDonnell):

Capitals, Rangers head to third period tied at 1

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)


Washington shook off its slow start with a convincing effort in the first 15 minutes of the second period in which the team erased its one-goal deficit. For the final five minutes, the Capitals went into survival mode to preserve the deadlock.

Joel Ward, playing on the third line, had three assists in the series, but he found the net for the first time with a power-play blast 7 minutes, 44 seconds into the period. The goal came just 11 seconds after Brian Boyle was sent off for a slash.

New York hadn’t done much of anything on offense until Jack Hillen (hold) and John Carlson (delay of game) took penalties almost back-to-back.

Washington managed to kill both of them off and get to the locker room with the game tied. The Rangers are now 0 for 4 on the power play tonight and 2 for 21 in the series.

Neil’s Take:

New York has four power plays tonight, Washington has one. Power plays since Game 2: NYR 14, WSH 6.

Joel Ward has 2:30 on the power play this postseason but scored in just 11 seconds with the man advantage tonight.

Rangers went the first ten minutes of the second period without a scoring chance.



Ovechkin vs. Girardi/McDonagh update: Ovechkin skated 10:55 at even strength through first two periods, 8:00 against Girardi and 9:00 against McDonagh. Ovechkin has just one shot on goal and four others blocked.

Rangers back to the power play

The Rangers have had trouble mustering anything resembling a scoring chance in the second period, but they’ll have a chance on the power play after defenseman Jack Hillen was called for holding Rick Nash in New York’s offensive zone.

Washington managed to kill off both of their first period penalties without incident and then took advantage of their only chance on the power play with Joel Ward’s equalizing goal. Game 5 remains tied at 1 with 5:07 left in the second period.

Ice tilting toward Washington in second period

Washington has six shots in the second, including the game-tying goal by Ward, to New York’s two.


Washington’s third line has stepped up

With Martin Erat out with an upper-body injury, Eric Fehr got the call for top-six duty while Joel Ward was moved up to the third line – who scored a goal on the power-play in the second period of Game 5.

Fehr was a driver of puck possession with Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perreault on the third line, but expect Ward to fill in just fine in that slot, continuing to give Washington the secondary scoring they need while their top-six figures out a way to make an impact on the scoresheet.

Player EV TOI EV GF EV GA Shot attempts for Shot attempts against Shot attempt %
Fehr 15:43 1 1 11 4 73.3
Chimera 12:37 2 1 19 8 70.4
Ward 12:16 2 1 18 9 66.7
Perreault 12:26 2 1 19 6 76.0


Capitals tie it at 1 on the power play

Just 11 seconds after New York’s Brian Boyle headed to the penalty box, Joel Ward connected on his first goal of the series to tie the game.

Ward lost the faceoff but the Caps were able to keep the puck in the zone and quickly got the puck moving. Marcus Johansson fed Nicklas Backstrom, and the center found Ward for the quick shot that beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist for the first time tonight.

The Capitals got the chance to use its man-up unit for the first time in Game 5 after Boyle’s retaliatory slash on Mike Ribeiro. It was the team’s third power play goal of the series.

New York’s Ryane Clowe out for the game

Rangers winger Ryane Clowe earned a boarding call after taking a hit from Jason Chimera 4 minutes, 40 seconds into the game.

Clowe played just one more shift the rest of the period and during the intermission, the team announced he will be out for the rest of the night. Clowe, who was playing on the second line in Game 5 with Brad Richards and Rick Nash, made his series debut in Wednesday’s win and recorded an assist in his first game since April 25.

#NYR say Ryane Clowe is out for the rest of this game. No specific info, but likely concussion symptoms, unfortunately

— Pat Leonard (@NYDNRangers) May 11, 2013


Alzner has all the Corsis

Karl Alzner is skating against Rick Nash’s line and tilting the ice in Washington’s favor: he has been on the ice for 17 shot attempts and just two against – a shot that was saved by Holtby and another one that was blocked.

Ovechkin vs McDonagh-Girardi, part 5


(Greg Fiume/Getty)

Washington will get last change, but with New York’s top defensive pair getting major minutes it will be hard for Capitals Coach Adam Oates to free Ovechkin from Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi in Game 5.

Girardi is averaging 26:32 a game with McDonagh at 24:57, including facing Ovechkin 17 minutes 13 seconds of the 23:26 the Great Eight played in Game 4.

But even having the little bit of a breather that home ice affords could help get Ovechkin back on track. In Games 1 and 2 in Washington, Ovechkin had a goal and an assist plus 12 shots playing against the Girardi-McDonagh pair about two-thirds of the time. In Games 3 and 4 in New York he was limited to zero points and three shots playing against Girardi-McDonagh about 81 percent of the time.

30131 EV TOI EV TOI facing McDonagh/Girardi G A Shots
Game 1 11.5 9.1/9.0 1 0 5
Game 2 17.2 10.6/9.5 0 1 7
Game 3 16.1 12.1/12.7 0 0 2
Game 4 20.0 17.1/16.6 0 0 1

It is also worth noting that Ovechkin, while yet to record a point at even-strength, has faced the Girardi-McDonagh pair 60 percent of the time on the power-play as well.

So far in Game 5 Ovechkin has skated 6:50 during even strength, matching up against Girardi for 4:20 and McDonagh 5:24. Ovi has four shot attempts: one on goal and another three blocked.


Rangers hold 1-0 lead after 1st period

(Richard Clement/Reuters)


The Capitals started Game 5 on the wrong foot, allowing Brian Boyle’s second goal of the series just 53 seconds into the game and trail, 1-0, after one period for the second straight game.

Washington had several scoring opportunities, with Joel Ward just missing a chance in front midway through off a deflection from Jason Chimera and John Carlson ripping a one-timer off New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the final seconds of the period, but the Capitals are lucky to not be down by more.

The Rangers squandered a pair of power-play opportunities, and Carl Hagelin also had an even-strength breakaway chance brushed aside by Braden Holtby. They were outshooting the Capitals, 10-5, until the home team managed three quick ones in the final minute.

Neil’s take:

After winning just 19 of 53 draws (36%) in Game 4, Washington is 15 of 23 tonight through first period. Mike Ribeiro has won all six of his faceoffs.

Tom Wilson has skated three shifts (2:00) and has been credited with two hits. Matt Hendricks, on the other hand, has played five shifts (4:21) and blocked six shots.

Even-strength shot attempts are in Washington’s favor, 21-11.

Capitals kill off second penalty

In the first four games of the series, the Rangers converted on two of 17 power play chances. That meager percentage keeps dropping after missing their first two chances in Game 5.

On the latest penalty, John Erskine was sent off for a high elbow to New York’s Carl Hagelin. New York failed to convert with Holtby making a pair of saves, including a shot to his midsection from Brad Richards late in the power play opportunity. The Rangers continue to lead, 1-0.

Does New York have a new first unit power-play?

The Rangers were 1-for-16 on the power play when they started the third period of Game 4, so New York coach John Tortorella decided it was time to make a switch. Instead of putting out Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Brad Richards on the ice with the man advantage Torts went with Derick Brassard, Brian Boyle and Mats Zuccarello along with blueliners Dan Girardi and Del Zotto. The shake-up paid off, with Girardi hitting paydirt from assists by Brassard and Zuccarello.

So far that quintet has seen the lion’s share of the time with the man advantage in Game 5.

Brassard and Del Zotto tied for the most power-play assists on the Rangers during the regular season, with seven of Brassard’s eight primary helpers and points on almost 70 percent of the power-play goals he was on the ice for (IPP).

Player Name PP TOI/G (Reg season) G A FirstA Pts Shot Atts/60 IPP
Richards 3:16 3 4 2 7 16.2 58.3
Callahan 3:12 5 2 1 7 10.4 63.6
Nash 3:09 3 4 2 7 17.8 63.6
Del Zotto 2:54 0 8 3 8 9.7 66.7
Brassard 2:50 3 8 7 11 10.5 68.8
Stepan 2:49 2 4 2 6 3.9 60.0
Zuccarello 2:24 0 1 1 1 10.6 33.3
Clowe 2:22 1 3 2 4 10.5 50.0
Girardi 2:08 0 2 0 2 14.0 40.0
Stralman 1:04 0 0 0 0 11.7 0.0
Boyle 0:34 0 1 1 1 16.9 33.3

(stats courtesy of hockeyanalysis.com)


Caps on penalty kill

Jason Chimera heads to the penalty box, clearly upset after he was whistled for boarding New York’s Ryane Clowe. The Verizon Center crowd didn’t like the call either.

The Capitals will be on the penalty kill for two minutes, down 1-0 less than five minutes in.

Special teams the difference

Special teams has played a deciding role in every game of the series:

Game 1: New York had a 5-on-3 advantage for 0:56, couldn’t convert on that or on the ensuing 5-on-4 and lost.

Game 2: Washington scored a goal in overtime on a power play.

Game 3: The Capitals couldn’t hit paydirt with a 6-on-4 power play in the final two minutes of the game, ending in a loss for Washington.

Game 4: Dan Girardi potted the go-ahead power play goal at the start of the third period.

New York has drawn five more minor penalties than Washington, including three more interference penalties and the only two hooking calls of the series.

TEAM PIM Minors Hook Trip Rough Hold Intfr Slash HiStk XChk
WSH 40 19 2 1 4 0 4 1 1 1
NYR 30 14 0 2 3 1 1 2 1 0


Being physical paying off for New York

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The Rangers are winning the physical game against Washington, owning a 170-124 advantage in hits plus a 33-23 edge in takeaways.

Goals 9 10
Shot attempts (incl misses and shots blocked) 256 274
Scoring chances 72 69
Hits 170 124
Takeaways 33 23
Shot attempts off transition 30 22

As a result, the Blueshirts have been able to generate more shots off transition.

Shots off transition, those created directly by either a hit or turnover, are provided by the Sports Analytics Institute, whose “predicted goals scored” system is currently in use by the Pittsburgh Penguins and one other undisclosed NHL team.

Complete breakdown below:

On net Blocked Missed Total On net Blocked Missed Total
Game1 1 1 0 2 3 5 3 11
Game2 4 1 2 7 5 0 3 8
Game3 6 0 1 7 1 0 2 3
Game 4 2 4 0 6 5 3 0 8
Totals 22 30


Rangers strike quickly

Capitals Coach Adam Oates worried about how his team would start Game 5, feeling lackluster beginnings cost his team the previous two games. Washington will once again have to fight out of an early hole.

Brian Boyle found the net 53 seconds in, beating Braden Holtby in front off a pass from center Derick Brassard. The play began with defenseman Dan Girardi sending the puck behind the net. The Rangers lead 1-0 on Boyle’s second goal of the series.

Game 5 begins

The Capitals and Rangers are just underway in Game 5 at Verizon Center.

Washington’s no doubt happy to be home after dropping two at Madison Square Garden to lose the momentum built up in a 2-0 start to the series. The winner gets a chance to close out the series on Sunday in New York, while the loser will be backed up against the wall.

Stay tuned here for updates throughout the night.

Caps needs more from their top six

Alex Ovechkin has a goal and an assist but has been held off the scoresheet in consecutive games of the same series for the first time in his NHL playoff career. Linemates Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson each have just one goal in four games.

If you look at the points per game for the top three forwards (in terms of time on ice) on each team, Washington (.42) is tied for third worst with the Rangers, ahead of Minnesota (.20), Montreal (.36) — both of whom are out of playoffs.

Team Pts/gm
SJS 1.75
PIT 1.57
BOS 1.42
OTT 0.87
CHI 0.87
TOR 0.69
NYI 0.67
DET 0.67
VAN (Eliminated) 0.67
LAK 0.60
ANA 0.60
STL 0.47
WSH 0.42
NYR 0.42
MTL (Eliminated) 0.36
MIN (Eliminated) 0.20

Every Capitals skater has a point in the series except for Martin Erat, Eric Fehr and Matt Hendricks.

First line G A P Shots TOI/G
Alex Ovechkin 1 1 2 15 21:23
Nicklas Backstrom 1 1 2 8 20:36
Marcus Johansson 1 0 1 7 16:05
Second line G A P Shots TOI/G
Troy Brouwer 1 0 1 9 20:19
Mike Ribeiro 0 1 1 7 18:47
Martin Erat 0 0 0 3 14:31
Eric Fehr 0 0 0 7 15:15


Game 5 lineups: Wilson joins fourth line

The Capitals will employ a different lineup for the first time in the series with Tom Wilson set for his NHL debut on the fourth line, a move Coach Adam Oates announced Friday morning. The switch was necessary with Martin Erat sidelined by an upper body injury sustained in the first period of Wednesday’s Game 4 loss.

Wilson, the 16th overall selection in the 2012 draft, will run on the fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle, providing some muscle with his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame. As expected, Eric Fehr and Joel Ward each jump up a line.

The Rangers will look slightly different, too. Carl Hagelin gets a boost to the top line with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan.



Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin

Eric Fehr-Mike Ribeiro-Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera-Mathieu Perreault-Joel Ward

Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson


Karl Alzner-Mike Green

John Erskine-John Carlson

Jack Hillen-Steve Oleksy

Goal: Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth



Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan,

Ryane Clowe-Brad Richards-Rick Nash,

Brian Boyle-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarrello

Taylor Pyatt-Derek Dorsett-Arron Asham


Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

John Moore-Anton Stralman

Michael Del Zotto-Steve Eminger

Goal: Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Biron

Third most important game in 2-2-1-1-1 format

(Jonathan Newton/Washington Post)

The games are starting to get important, signed, Captain Obvious.

It is worthwhile pointing out that Game 5, when the series is tied 2-2, is the third most important playoff game the home team jumps over the boards for. In other words, it has the third biggest swing in terms of the outcome changing the probability of winning the series.

The team with home ice advantage has a 55.2 percent chance at winning the series when tied two games apiece. Winning Game 5 increases their chances to close out the series by 20.8 percent. A loss reduces their chances by 31.2 percent. A team can only win or lose, so the average swing in series win probability for the home team is 26.0 percent (20.8 plus 31.2, divided by two).

Game 7 is obviously the most critical in a seven-game series: it is win or go home.

Teams with home ice who take a 3-2 series lead in the first round have a 60-14 (.811) series record. So, like I said, the games are starting to get important.

Game # Home W Home L Avg Swing
Game 7 3 3 0.500
Game 6 3 2 0.300
Game 5 2 2 0.260
Game 4 2 1 0.204

The good news is that New York has lost nine of its last 10 playoff games at Verizon Center. Washington went 7-0-1 in their last eight regular season home games in 2013 before winning the first two games of their series against the Rangers on home ice.

The bad news? Washington is 3-9 all time in Game 5 when the series is tied.


Tom Wilson, teen sensation

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


Tom Wilson, Washington’s first-round selection (16th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, will get the start tonight.

Here are how those teens fared for Washington in the postseason:

Player Year Age Pos GP G A PTS
Scott Stevens* 1983 18 D 4 1 0 1
Bob Carpenter 1983 19 LW 4 1 0 1
Scott Stevens* 1984 19 D 8 1 8 9
Kevin Hatcher 1985 18 D 1 0 0 0
Yvon Corriveau 1986 18 LW 4 0 3 3
Kevin Hatcher 1986 19 D 9 1 1 2
Jeff Greenlaw 1988 19 LW 1 0 0 0
Nolan Baumgartner 1996 19 D 1 0 0 0

Adam Oates ‘worried’ about Capitals’ start

(Nick Wass/Associated Press) (Nick Wass/Associated Press)

The Capitals didn’t have anything near the start they want in either of the past two games. In Game 3, they committed a rash of penalties early. In Game 4, they failed to execute defensively and spent much of the contest hemmed in the defensive zone.

Back in the friendly confines of Verizon Center, Coach Adam Oates is concerned about ensuring the Capitals get off to a better start for Game 5 on Friday night.

“I’m worried about our start tonight,” Oates said when he met with reporters just hours before puck drop. “We have to come out and have a good start and not let them feel that they’re into the game and do our best to neutralize them, and we’ll be fine.”

Through 48 regular season games and 4 playoff games, I’ve never heard Oates say he was “worried” about something. Asked to expand on why he is concerned about the start, Oates used the Pittsburgh Penguins’ performance yesterday against the New York Islanders as an example.

“We talked about, let’s not be tight. I watched the Pittsburgh game last night, and quite frankly, I thought they were a little tight early. They got through it and they got into their game. I’m a little bit worried about that.” Oates said. “You’ve got your home crowd, which should give you life, but you’ve got to make good decisions with the puck. Let’s get it in, get our legs and get into the rhythm of the game.”

Two possible start times for Game 6

(Greg Fiume/Getty)


The NHL announced two possible start times for Game 6 of the Caps-Rangers series on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, which one depends on the outcome of the Bruins-Leafs game Friday night.

If the Maple Leafs win tonight, Caps-Rangers Game 6 will start at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

If the Bruins win tonight, Caps-Rangers Game 6 will start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Plan your Mother’s Day festivities accordingly.

Back in D.C. for Game 5

(Rob Carr/Getty)


Greetings from Verizon Center, where we’re about an hour away from dropping the puck for Game 5. The Rangers picked up two 4-3 wins at Madison Square Garden to send this series back to D.C., with a Sunday Game 6 assured.

If Washington is to take back the lead in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal, it’ll need more from Hart Trophy finalist Alex Ovechkin. The Caps went 23-7-2 when their captain tallied at least one point and 19-3-2 in games in which he scored a goal. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg thing, but either way, more Ovi is good for the Caps.

More to come soon from reporter Eric Detweiler and stats guru Neil Greenberg, so stay tuned.