Capitals drop 2-1 Decision To Rangers

Braden Holtby - Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby turned aside 38-40 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers. February 18th 2013 (Tom Turk/THW)

Last night, the Washington Capitals paid a visit to the New York Rangers at the Madison Square Garden. The Caps were looking for their 6th victory of the shortened 2013 schedule. Entering the contest with a record of 11-5-2 in the last 18 regular season games against the Rangers, the Nation’s Capitals fell short, losing their 9th game of the season, by a final score of 2-1.

“We could have played better,” Capitals Head Coach Adam Oates said. “We took too many penalties. We spent so much energy killing penalties. It took away from the rest of our game.”

The Capitals struck first tonight off the blade of defensemen John Carlson, coming early, at 1:19 of the first period. It was the young blue-liners second goal of the season, with assists from forwards Mike Ribeiro and Eric Fehr. Aside from a 1-0 lead heading into the second period, the Capitals were badly outshot 20-8.

Second period action saw Rangers forward Carl Hagelin notch the game at two a piece after a pass from line mate Rick Nash.

Just under five minutes into the third and final frame, the Rangers took a 2-1 lead as forward Derek Stepan scored his third goal of the season. That was all the Blue Shirts would need to grab two points in the win column and spoil what was a stellar performance by Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

Holtby turned aside 38-40 shots, but had little to no help to support such an effort.

“You know he’s not going to make every single one of them. He made more than enough to try and win us the game tonight,” winger Troy Brouwer said. “It’s as well as I’ve seen him play. He gave us lots of opportunities to win it, unfortunately we couldn’t help him out.”

Holtby spoke with reporters after the game and gave his thoughts on last night’s action.

“It felt comfortable,” Holtby said. “If you break it down, I don’t know if we gave up any more scoring chances than we usually do. It was just a lot of shots in the first couple periods., and that’s my job to stay in it and give us a chance to win.”

Giving the Capitals a chance to win is exactly what the Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native did. Teammates in front of him certainly recognize that.

“Amazing. That’s the way he plays,” defensemen Karl Alzner said after the game. “He was calm, you could tell the way he was playing the puck was amazing. Didn’t rush anything.”

Capitals News and Notes

Defensemen Mike Green missed last night’s action due to a lower body injury. Taking his place was Tom Poti who dressed for just the 6th time this season.

Hershey Bears Update

The Capitals top minor league affiliate defeated the Rochester Americans yesterday by a final score of 4-1. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer turned aside 35-36 shots to secure the victory.

Follow me on Twitter @ Darren Coslov