LIVE BLOG Caps playoffs: Goaltending the difference as Caps lose Game 1, 4-3

April 15, 2009 | Drew Forrester

9:40 pm — It’s over at the Verizon Center and even though it’s a 7-game series, the Caps are behind the 8-ball right away with a 4-3 loss to the Rangers tonight.  The difference in the game?  Goaltending.  New York’s netminder – Henrik Lundqvist – was very good…and Washington’s goaltender – Jose Theodore – was, at best, good.  Give Lundqvist 4 stars tonight and give Theodore 2.5 (out of 5).  

A lot of people who cover the Caps, Rangers and the NHL figure this to be a tough, hard-fought 6 or 7 game series, so it’s not a complete shock that New York has bolted out to a 1-0 lead, but a home loss is still a home loss.  

It’s not the result the Caps were hoping for, that’s for sure.

Game 2 is set for Saturday afternoon in Washington DC.


9:35 pm — There are 90 ticks on the clock remaining at the Verizon Center and the Caps are behind 4-3.  Washington owns the faceoff lead 46-18 tonight, an amazing stat…but it’s not the stat that matters, of course.  


9:28 pm — Caps had a few chances on the extra-man situation but couldn’t get the puck past Henrik Lundqvist.  It’s getting down to the nitty gritty now…Caps trail 4-3 to the Rangers with 2:30 to go in the game.  Washington will pull their goaltender in the next minute or so to try and even the score.  Lundqvist has been the difference through 57 minutes or so.  He’s allowed three goals but has made several magnificent saves.  Jose Theodore has not been as good as his counterpart tonight.


9:26 pm — Washington goes back on the power play with 5:18 to go in the game, trailing 4-3 to the Rangers. 


9:20 pm — Just seconds after killing off a listless Washington power play, the Rangers forged ahead once again when defensemen Jeff Schultz and Mike Green fell asleep in the Caps end and allowed Brandon Dubinsky to cruise in on Jose Theodore and snap a shot high into the net to put New York up 4-3 with 8 minutes to play in regulation.

Schultz was faked out as Dubinsky knocked the puck through his legs and Green was slow to slide over and help out…and Dubinsky scored with ease in a 2-on-1 situation.

They’re down to the 7 minute mark at Verizon.  


9:15 pm — Washington is on the power play with 10:20 remaining in the game.  This one is important for two reasons.  One, it gives the Caps a chance to take the lead.  Second, there WILL be a make-up call before the end of regulation and the Rangers WILL get another power play…and they already have two extra-man goals — as do the Caps.


9:10 pm — The Caps have come alive in the 3rd period at the Verizon Center, tying the game at 3-3 on a Semin goal and creating several other good chances since then to take the play away from the New York Rangers.  Caps’ goaltender Jose Theodore did come up with a couple of good saves as well in the last few minutes as both teams probably sense that the next goal is going to be the game-winner.  There’s 12:30 remaining right now. 


9:01 pm — Let’s hope I’m right about my “next goal wins” theory because Washington’s Alexander Semin just got the “next goal” on the power play as Washington has rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to tie Game 1 at 3-3 with 18:10 remaining. 

That was the Caps’ second power play goal of the night.

Now if only Washington goaltender Jose Theodore can make a save or two.


9:00 pm — “Next goal wins”?? – That’s what I assume, anyway.  NY leads Washington, 3-2, early in the 3rd period at the Verizon Center.  The Caps are about to go on the power play after Alex Ovechkin was spilled at the blue line.  Actually, Ovechkin sort of spilled himself.  We’ll take it, even though it was a borderline call.  By the way, the 2nd period goal originally credited to Ovie has been credited to Thomas Fleischmann.  

Washington on the power play.  Let’s see how they do.


8:35 —  The Caps’ announcing team will protect him a little bit, but I won’t.  Jose Theodore is struggling in this 2nd period, having just allowed a power play goal from Markus Naslund to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead.  Right now, NY wants the game more than Washington.  Mike Green just came through with a fairly violent hit that got the crowd fired up but the scoreboard doesn’t count hits – just goals.

Speaking of goals, Viktor Kozlov just netted a HUGE goal for Washington with less than a minute to go in the 2nd period and it’s now 3-2 in favor of NY.

They’ll go to the third period with the Caps trailing by a goal.

8:30 pm — Nik Antropov just whistled a shot past Jose Theodore to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead as the team’s enter the final three minutes of the 2nd period.

And now, Sergei Federov has just been sent to the sin bin for delay of game and suddenly, Washington’s in trouble if they give up one here.

8:25 pm — The Caps are now 1 for 4 on the power play tonight after failing to capitalize on the extra-man session. Washington had two excellent scoring chances on the power play – one from Alexander Semin and one from Mike Green – but NY goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made two nice saves to keep the game tied at 1-1.

And now, the Caps have been penalized with about four minutes to go in the 2nd period and the Rangers will go on the power play.

Let’s hope Washington netminder Jose Theodore is up to the challenge.

8:15 pm — It’s 1-1 in DC early in the second period as Alex Ovechkin and Scott Gomez have scored a minute apart just moments ago.

Ovechkin’s goal was on the power play while Gomez flipped a soft shot over a prone Jose Theodore after Dave Steckel missed a chance at the other end that would have put Washington up 2-0.

It’s typical playoff hockey.  Good scoring chances, excellent goaltending and lots of chippy, physical play.