Trotz: ‘We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game’


The Washington Capitals were out-shot 15-4 and fell behind 2-0 in the opening period of Game 2 on Saturday afternoon – that was the difference in the eyes of coach Barry Trotz.

“We didn’t play our best game for 60 minutes. You can’t get away with that. You can’t get around that. You’ve got to go through those things so full credit to them,” said Trotz. “We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game. The Rangers deserved to win the hockey game.

“To me, it was our start, it was our degree of desperation level… it was higher on their side than it was on ours. They capitalized on that.”

Chris Kreider opened the scoring 38-seconds into the first and Dan Boyle had his first of the playoffs giving New York an early lead at MSG.

“I think after what happened [Thursday], we were all upset,” said Henrik Lundqvist. “I was really annoyed and it really bothered me, so you try to use that energy to bring it over into this game and be determined that we need this one. I think the first period we played one of our better periods.”

Washington out-shot New York 28-20 in the final 40 minutes including 12-8 in the third period, but was unable to find the equalizer falling 3-2.

“I think we matchup very well, I think there’s some things that they do extremely well, I think there’s some things we can do a little bit better, if we do that, then who knows? The series can turn on a dime some times,” said Trotz.

“I think we’re two teams that are quite evenly matched. It’ll be interesting coming back in our building.”

Jason Chimera, who assisted on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs, agreed the start was the difference.

“A slow start hurt us,” Chimera said. “Anytime you dig yourself a 2-0 hole in a building like this, it’s hard to come back. (In) afternoon games, you have to get up for them. You have to get ready.

“You have to have a short memory in the playoffs. Hopefully we can come back in our barn. We have home ice and we have to take advantage of that.”

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center.

Rangers hang on, even series with Caps


Entering Saturday’s game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers much of the talk centered around the standard of officiating in the playoffs.

Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t happy with how things ended in Game 1 following Nicklas Backstrom’s hit on Dan Boyle. Barry Trotz told reporters on Saturday morning he didn’t feel things changed much in the postseason.

Officiating took a back seat to the goaltending performances by Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2.

Lundqvist made 30 saves back-stopping the Rangers to a 3-2 win evening the series at 1-1.

Holtby finished with 32 saves in the loss.

“(Holtby) kept us in the first. We weren’t good, we weren’t winning any races, but he’s grown as a goaltender, and he will continue to grow,” said Trotz.”He’s just entering the prime of his career right now. There’s a lot of good things that he’s learned this year and he will to continue to learn.”

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Rangers in Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.

Chris Kreider and Boyle gave New York a 2-0 lead after one period.

Boyle’s goal, which came with Joel Ward off for hooking, was the first power play goal allowed by the Capitals in these playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs got the Caps on the board in the second period.

Derick Brassard scored the eventual game-winner at 6:07 of the third.

Alex Ovechkin scored in highlight-reel fashion to pull the Caps to within one midway through the third; however, there were no last-second heroics from Washington on Saturday afternoon.

“I thought they had some good looks at the end there. Hank had to come up with a couple big saves,” said Vigneault of the final minutes. “They pulled their goaltender and they were coming at us with everything they’ve got.

“Our guys were working real hard and every time we were real close to getting it out, they were finding a way to pull it back in. It was a tough last couple minutes.”

New York’s last eight playoff wins have all been by one goal.

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. You can catch the game at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Caps edge Wings, inch closer to playoff berth


The Washington Capitals moved closer to clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

The Caps will clinch if Ottawa loses to the Toronto tonight.

Washington’s win moves them into second in the Metropolitan Division one point up on the New York Islanders.

Detroit’s loss leaves a log jam in the Atlantic Division as three points separate the Wings, Bruins and Sens.

Mike Green had a goal and an assist in the win. Evgeny Kuznetsov had Washington’s other goal. Braden Holtby, who made a franchise-high 23rd straight start, stopped 35 shots for the win. Holtby’s win was his 40th of the season and the 100th of his career.

The 25-year-old is the second goaltender in Caps’ history to record 40 wins in a single season joining Olaf Kolzig.

With his assist on Green’s goal, Alex Ovechkin has 80 points tying him for second place with John Tavares in the Art Ross race.

Darren Helm had the lone Wings goal. Petr Mrazek made 26 saves in the loss.

There was a scary moment in the third.

Protecting a one-goal lead, Caps’ forward Tom Wilson went down to block a Niklas Kronwall slap shot and took it off the side of the head. Wilson stayed down momentarily, but was able to skate off under his own strength. He left the game and did not return.

Video: Kuznetsov, Caps edge Islanders in a shootout


Evgeny Kuznetsov was the lone goal scorer in the shootout as the Washington Capitals edged the New York Islanders 3-2 Saturday afternoon.

The win stretches Washington’s win streak to four games. The Caps have also won five of six.

“They’ve got a good team. I looked at that game as hopefully a playoff series at some point,” said Capitals coach, Barry Trotz. “Two very good hockey teams that mirror each other in a lot of ways in terms of some style. They have some dynamic people on both ends of the ice.

“I thought we were a little sleepy out of the gates. We weren’t executing as quick as we needed to. We allowed them to have a lot of structure. We weren’t real sharp early, and I thought we were a little slow out of the gates…In the second and third I thought we were much better in a lot of areas.”

New York failed to pick up two points for just the second time in eight games (6-1-1).

Matt Niskanen and Eric Fehr scored in regulation for the Capitals while Braden Holtby made 30 saves for the win.

With his assist on Niskanen’s goal, Niklas Backstrom took over the lead in points (64) from Chicago’s Patrick Kane (63).

Ryan Strome tied the game 2-2 with 47.8 seconds remaining in the third to force overtime.

“That was a great game. We played real well. We had 18, close to 20 shots in the third [period],” said Jack Capuano. “I really liked the things that we did. It would have been unfortunate not to walk out of here with at least a point. Our guys battled; Chad [Johnson] played well. The penalty kill came up big when it had to.”

Travis Hamonic had the other Islanders goal while Chad Johnson stopped 25 shots in the loss. John Tavares had two assists.

“It was a tight game in all aspects. [Washington] just had an opportunity obviously a pretty good one that they scored on,” Tavares said. “We had a few that we didn’t get, it just took us until the end. It was a good way to fight back and obviously couldn’t help our goalie out in the shootout. We didn’t get any past Holtby.”

With the win, the Capitals move to within four points of the Islanders for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Video: Brouwer’s amazing play leads to Chimera’s goal

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Troy Brouwer was down and out, but it didn’t stop him from executing a perfect stick check on the Ducks’ Ben Lovejoy.

The puck found its way to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who set up Jason Chimera for his fifth of the season early in the second period.

Have a look: