The New York Rangers will look to rebound from their Game 1 loss this afternoon when they play host to the Washington Capitals in Game 2 at MSG.
New York enters today’s contest hoping history does not repeat itself. The Rangers have lost six straight Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.
Washington took a 1-0 series lead in controversial fashion on Thursday night. Joel Ward scored the game-winner with 1.3 seconds remaining following a questionable hit by Nicklas Backstrom on Rangers’ defenseman Dan Boyle.
Puck drop this afternoon is at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. You can also watch online using NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:
Trotz on Ovechkin: ‘I wanted him to be more active’
Rangers add depth, recall Bourque
Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits
The Washington Capitals took Game 1 of their series against the New York Rangers thanks to a clutch goal by Joel Ward with less than two seconds left on the clock. However, just before that goal Nicklas Backstrom delivered a questionable hit to Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle.
Backstrom wasn’t penalized for his actions and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thinks there was a direct correlation between Backstrom’s actions and the way the contest ended.
“Obviously the last few seconds there, I feel like we all just kind of stopped when Boyle went down,” Lundqvist told the Bergen Record. “We lost our focus a little bit and gave up the last chance.”
Marc Staal, who qualified his comments by saying that he was going off of what was described to him as he didn’t see the incident in question, thought what Backstrom did “seems cheap.” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who seemed angry after the hit and subsequent goal, refused to comment on the referees after the game. For his part though, Backstrom defended his actions.
“I didn’t see the puck but I knew there was five seconds left and everything can happen,” Backstrom told CSN Washington. “I mean, it’s something we’ve been taught from when we were kids, to play until the whistle and that’s what we did.
“To be honest with you, I haven’t seen [the hit], so I can’t really say anything about it. But it looked like he was standing by the wall there. Hits like that happen every game, so …”
You can see what happened for yourself below (the hit occurs with about 5.5 seconds left on the clock):
The Washington Capitals grabbed a Game 1 win against the New York Rangers with the kind of buzzer-beating sequence that won’t be forgotten for some time.
Nicklas Backstrom delivered a questionable hit on Dan Boyle before Joel Ward managed the 2-1 game-winner with less than two seconds remaining.
Boyle immediately left the ice, so we’ll see if the Rangers lose more than just the contest. The two teams brawled after the whistle, and one could assume that it had much to do with that Backstrom hit, Tanner Glass being sent sprawling onto Henrik Lundqvist and Chris Kreider’s collision with Braden Holtby.
Of course, it might have just been about the staggering series event that ended the contest.
The Capitals leaned heavily on Holtby in this one, as it seemed like he would make Alex Ovechkin’s first-period laser stand as the lone tally of the night. Instead, Jesper Fast was credited with a deflection goal with a little more than four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third, giving the impression that we’d get the first overtime squabble of the second round.
Obviously, that was not to be, as Ward found the net for another big goal. The guy just seems to have a knack for playoff scoring … especially when a new contract is on the line.
This loss really has to hurt the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers, but if previous Ovechkin/Lundqvist-era series are any indication, we could see many twists and turns before one team advances to the Eastern Conference finals.