Tuesday, November 17, 2009
You have to admit the old Patrick Division rivalry games, the ones with Philly and the New YorkNew Jersey teams, are played at an exciting pace.The Caps displayed a pretty complete game this evening. They received goals from their big stars and their grinders. They were good on special teams and they didn't flinch when the Rangers big gun fired away at them.The return of Alex Ovechkin was a successful one. He looked especially fresh in the third period. There was no rust on his skating legs. His power play bomb was vintage Ovie. The coaches adjusted Alex back to a point position on that second man advantage of the game and he rewarded them quickly.Marian Gaborik has always been a game breaker and he's acclimated himself nicely to Ranger red, white, and blue. His speed can be frightening and his shot explodes the way it does for the game's top scoring threats.The Caps penalty killers did an excellent job protecting Semyon Varlamov tonight. We always say special teams play can be very instrumental in winning the close games and it was the difference tonight. Aside from Varlamov losing his angle a couple times, he was nice and steady. Goalie fans have to love when you get a matchup that includes the Caps youngster and Rangers standout Henrik Lundqvist.Great job by Matt Bradley on the winning goal and all night long working with David Steckel and Jay Beagle. Those three guys busted their butts and won the little battles all over the ice. Bradley was bloodied in a first-period fight with Aaron Voros, a fight he had the upper hand in at the start. His finishing touch on the breakaway against Lundqvist was very well done.There were a lot of heroes for the Caps in this one. John Erskine deserves praise for the way he made it a tough night for Sean Avery. Every time the Rangers' pest would try to stir it up, Erskine put him back in his place. That's the kind of hard work that should not go unnoticed. Lastly, the news on Quintin Laing wasn't very promising. He's staying overnight in New York after suffering a significant injury to his jaw. Laing is a fearless shot blocker, but his timing was off and he was struck by a slap shot at close range. He's one tough athlete. The fact that he walked off after that exchange is all the proof you need.