Rangers faced with 2-0 series deficit after OT loss to Capitals
WASHINGTON -- The post-season hole for the Rangers is officially deep.
Mike Green scored on a slap shot through traffic that grazed Derek Stepan and flew under goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's glove at the eight-minute mark of overtime Saturday to give the Capitals a 1-0 win and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Lundqvist was outstanding while stopping 37 shots, but the Rangers could not hold off the Capitals' No. 1 power play, which won the game after Ryan McDonagh went off for a delay-of-game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass at 7:09. The Rangers, meanwhile, were 0-for-3 on the power play and 0-for-7 in the two games here.
"We're just too stagnant. We're just almost paralyzed," coach John Tortorella said. "I'll leave it at that."
So the Rangers, who have not won a second game in a series since the 2009 playoffs, when they beat the Capitals, 1-0, head home for Game 3 Monday night at Madison Square Garden with a significant challenge ahead.
"It comes down to that they score on the power play and we don't," said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who had team highs in shots on goal (five) and hits (eight). "We had chances to capitalize late in the game and then overtime and we don't get it done."
The Rangers, who were outshot 8-0 in the extra session, are 2-4 in the last six playoff overtimes.
In a strange twist, the game could have been decided in two other instances when the puck was lifted over the glass by Capitals players. One was called, the other wasn't.
At 1:51 of overtime, Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy cleared the puck over the glass, and the Rangers' power play could not convert. With 45.3 seconds left in regulation, Karl Alzner deflected the puck over the glass, and Tortorella was fuming because a penalty was not called. The NHL said that Rule 63.2 states "the puck must be shot or batted out to be a minor penalty." The officials concluded that the puck was deflected. The decision is not reviewable. All Tortorella said afterward was: "It's a rule.''
McDonagh, who was at the end of a ridiculously long three-minute shift, tried to maintain his composure in the locker room, saying he wanted to bank the puck up to a teammate and "I just got a little too under it."
He said he wasn't dwelling on it, though. "I'm already on to Game 3," he said.
Rick Nash, who led the team with 21 goals during the regular season, had only three of the Rangers' 24 shots on goal. He had eight in Game 1.
"It was a tough one. Hank was unbelievable," said Nash, who still is looking for his first playoff win. He is 0-6 in his career. "We have to get goals for him. There's no excuses. But we go home now and the next game's a huge game."
The best Rangers chance in the third period came from Nash, who skated around Martin Erat and hit the near post after a rush down the left side at 16:16.
"I don't think we had enough looks today," Callahan said. "They kept us on the outside. We have to get around them and try and get some pucks to the net and bank some in."
As has been the case for much of the season, Lundqvist fulfilled his part of the bargain.
"I'm very, very disappointed," said Lundqvist, who kept the Rangers tied with 25 saves after the second period, which was less physical and nasty than the first, during which each team had 18 hits. Some of his more spectacular stops were against Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault.
"We knew it was going to come down to one bounce either way," Oleksy said, "and fortunately we got it."