Washington’s power play fizzled in the 3rd period and the Caps could only solve New York’s Henrik Lundqvist once on Wednesday night as the Rangers won Game 4, 2-1, to take a 3-games-to-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Game 5 is set for Friday night in Washington.
This is precisely the same position the Caps were in a year ago with the Flyers when they trailed 3-1 after four games and eventually forced a Game 7 in Washington.
The series is far from over — and there’s a lot of hockey left to play — but Washington’s offense has been stifled by Henrik Lundqvist in all three of New York’s wins.
Meanwhile, the team’s best offensive player (Alex Ovechkin) and the team’s best defensive player (Mike Green) have combined for exactly one goal in four games so far. That’s not good enough.
An Amber Alert had to be issued for Ovechkin on Wednesday night. He meandered through the first two periods, looking ragged and worn out, but an early 3rd period goal (his first of the post-season) sparked “The Great 8” and he was Washington’s best player in the final stanza. As for Green, he was once again a non-factor offensively and was guilty of turning the puck over several times in the first period when Washington fell behind 1-0.
Speaking of non-factors, Thomas Fleischmann earned the team’s David Copperfield Award for his disappearing act during the game.
It wasn’t a horrible night in goal for Simeon Varlamov, but he was clearly responsible for the game’s 2nd goal when he coughed up an easy floater in front of the net and Chris Drury scored from a tough angle after Varlamov was slow to react to his right.
On the positive side, Alexander Semin had several glorious scoring chances that Lundqvist denied.
As for positives — that was about it.
Washington’s two late power play chances went by without any reward and they’re now faced with an elimination game which means they can’t make any mistakes from here on in or their promising season will come to an end much earlier than expected.
In their three losses, the Caps have scored a total of 4 goals.
You’re not going to win many games with those totals.
And when the best player in the world is on your team and he has ONE goal in those three losses, that’s another reason why you’re not winning.
More than anything else, though, the hot goaltender in the series is playing in the wrong color jersey.