October 9, 2009

NY Rangers at Washington Game Recap

I've been reading up on last nights Rangers-Caps game, and it just sort of confirmed a couple of things for me that I saw. I don't follow either team, so I could only guess if people were playing like they usually do. And some weren't.

Top of the list is Ovechkin. He just did not look happy, and he wasn't finishing plays. He'd pass rather than take the open shot - which was crazy since he had nine recorded shots on goal for the night. He could've easily had two or three goals against the Rangers, but didn't. I mean, the guy had five goals in three games, and then he had nothing last night. That's like night and day.

I was just going thru the game thread comments on Japers' Rink, and it confirmed what I was thinking last night - Ovechkin was just not himself. The odd part about all of that was that he was just like he was when I saw him at training camp almost a month ago - exactly like he was at training camp, in fact. He didn't look very confident in himself, and seemed a little down - like he felt he couldn't do anything right, no matter how hard he tried. And that's just completely out of character from everything I've seen and read about him. It's really hard to say what's up with that. There were a few others that seemed a bit off to me, and apparently were according to other people, but Ovechkin was by far the most unusual.

Other than that, it was a great game. Timing and positioning were both still a little off, passes were really sloppy, and goaltending was sometimes inconsistent - for both teams - but the pace and the intensity was there. It had a playoff atmosphere going on, despite the game not being anywhere near a sellout. I walked up to the box office 20 minutes before game time (caught the last five minutes of warmups, tho, so that was nice) and got a fantastic seat. It was end to end red.

I was rooting for the Rangers, of course. On top of the Caps being a Southeast Division team - as is the Tampa Bay Lightning, who I write about - I just don't like the team. I do like a lot of the players on the team, tho. It might seem a little complicated, but that's how it works in my head, at least.

So is it a bad thing that I may never ever root for the home team while I live here?

Each team took its turn doing something absurd. Both took a too many men on the ice penalty. Both goalies let in soft goals that they should've had but weren't ready for. Both had outstanding chances to go ahead or win the game. Both didn't play much, if any, defense. I thought that it was fairly equally matched, honestly.

Poor Lundqvist, tho. The unspoken, and probably understood, part of me wanting to go to this game was to see Lundqvist play. I did pick him third overall in that Cycle like the Sedins NHL Re-Draft (more on that another time), and I hadn't seen him play live before. In the second period, when he was down in my end, the Caps decided to run him two or three times in a row. Pretty hard, too. Tortorella wisely took his team's timeout to help Lundqvist shake it off. He had a really solid first period, but after being run he was still a little shaky for the rest of the game. As seen by that Backstrom center ice dump-in shot he wasn't ready for during the third period.

All in all, it was a good time. I'm very glad that I went. I wish it could've been on a different night from the Lightning's home opener, but that's the NHL schedule for you.

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