Ovechkin’s Wonder Goal Not Enough as Rangers Beat Capitals 3-2

A spectacular goal by Alex Ovechkin was not enough to salvage a win for the Washington Capitals against the New York Rangers in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup second round series. Goalie Braden Holtby kept the Caps in contention with numerous mind-bending stops, but his team ultimately fell to a 3-2 loss.

Goal of the Season?

Ovechkin’s goal – certainly the best goal of the postseason and a contender for goal of the entire season – was a master class of power, finesse and tenacity. Picking up the puck near center ice, he dared Rangers defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh to challenge him before zipping through both players and shooting the puck top shelf while on his knees. It was a typical Ovi goal resulting in the typical reaction by goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Girardi and McDonagh – all three looked up to the roof or to their skates while muttering some words of disbelief, or something like that.

VIDEO: Alex Ovechkin’s wonder goal from his knees after splitting the Rangers’ defense.

The amazing goal by Ovechkin was met with a predictable reaction on social media:

The game itself was exciting for Caps’ fans, Rangers’ fans and neutral fans alike, but the Rangers never looked like they were in serious trouble until the very end when the Caps went close a few times after pulling Holtby.

Even though there were five total goals in the game, without the heroics of both goaltenders, the goal total would have been closer to a dozen. Holtby and Lundqvist are now equals – and that could not be stated in the past few seasons. With the help of Capitals’ goalie coach Mitch Korn, Holtby is now one of the NHL’s top netminders. He has the skill set and calm demeanor to keep the Capitals looking forward instead of looking back.

Ovechkin wonder goal
The Capitals’ two goalscorers today: Ovechkin and Kuznetsov (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Capitals Looked Drowsy in First Period

The Capitals (who were given the day off yesterday by coach Barry Trotz) were groggy in the first period, and the Rangers’ Chris Kreider took advantage by scoring in the first 30 seconds of the game. The Capitals went 10 minutes without a single shot in the first stanza, and only recorded four shots all period to the Rangers’ 15 shots. Dan Boyle scored a power play goal to make the score 2-0 after one.

Words of encouragement (or otherwise) from Trotz during the first intermission spurred the Capitals into action and they outshot the Rangers 16-12 in the second. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his fourth goal of the postseason to make the score 2-1 going into the third period. However, the Rangers chalked up another goal through Derick Brassard before Ovechkin’s wonder goal completed the scoring for the day.

Missing from today’s game for the Capitals was accuracy and discipline. There were too many giveaways – especially in their own defensive zone – and four penalties was four too many against arguably the best team in the NHL. The Rangers were allowed too much space to operate Saturday, and that needs to change. The Capitals must control the puck better in Game 3 at the Verizon Center Monday night to avoid trailing in the series.