Rangers Vs. Capitals, Game 1: Alexander Semin Wins It In Overtime For Washington

The Washington Capitals had a lot of momentum throughout the first period, but a series of posts and Henrik Lundqvist kept them off the board.  Lundqvist made the biggest save of the period at the six minute mark, when he had to come across to make a save on Marcus Johansson alone in front. Lundqvist also made a save on a one-timer in the slot by Marco Sturm, fed terrificly by Jason Arnott. New York also made some key blocks in the first period, especially on Alexander Ovechkin, who had three shots turned away by defenders in the power play's first 54 seconds. They eventually killed it off.

However, the Rangers went short a man once again a few minutes later. Mats Zuccarello took a boarding penalty at 10:13, on a hit from behind in response to some physical play by Washington. Nicklas Backstrom nearly found Mike Knuble alone in front of Lundqvist, but Knuble whiffed on the chance. Lundqvist was large again on this penalty kill, with a glove save on a creeping in from the point Mike Green. The Rangers once again killed off the full two minutes, with Washington going 0-for-2 on the man advantage in the first period.

The Capitals started the second period killing off the last eight seconds of the Alexander Semin hooking penalty, which put the Rangers on the power play late in the first period. Washington was unable to get a shot off until six minutes into the period, but once they did, they were once again turned away by Henrik Lundqvist, and then some bad luck.

King Henrik had to come all the way across the crease to stop Mike Knuble, but made a great pad save. Nicklas Backstrom had a sure thing of a rebound, but whiffed on the chance. Alex Semin whiffed on a near break later in the second. Another example of just missing by the Capitals, to the point where one wonders if it'll catch up on them.

Michal Neuvirth also had his moments in the second period. He made a big save right in front on Marian Gaborik with 12:01 remaining in the period. New York outshot Washington 5-2 in the first half of the period, after being controlled by the Capitals throughout the first frame.

Lundqvist continued to come up big through the rest of the period. He made a seemingly impossible save with the inside of his leg on a Backstrom break-away with less than four minutes to go in the second. Overall, the Capitals ended up out-shooting the Rangers 17-11 in the second period. The teams traded chances both ways with less than three minutes to go, with neither team either getting one on goal.

At 1:56 into the third period, it was Wojtek Wolski who found Matt Gilroy with a fantastic pass from behind the net, and Gilroy just whipped it past Michal Neuvirth to give the Rangers the game's first goal, despite being outshot 17-13 for the game at that point. It was Gilroy's first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal. 

The Rangers sat back for much of the rest of the period, content to shut down the Caps until six minutes remaining, when Alexander Ovechkin tried to set up a screen in close for Alex Semin to get a shot away. Semin held off the initial shot, but Ovechkin pushed in the rebound before the whistle blew, it seemed. The play went under review, and the call on the ice of good goal stood. It was Ovechkin's 21st careeer post-season goal. 

The teams headed to overtime, where rhe Rangers got off to a good start, continuing their excellent play in the third period. Michal Neuvirth had to make two great saves on Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, and then another solid one on Matt Gilroy a minute later. Henrik Lundqvist responded with a tough save on Mike Green on the Capitals first good scoring chance of the fourth period. Lundqvist made the best save of them all with a glove grab on a Marcus Johansson one-timer on a deft little pass from Marco Sturm at 5:24. 

Everyone seemed to run out of a bit of gas and play a little bit more conservatively from there, at least for a little while. You'd see Alex Ovechkin make an attempted break-out every once and a while, but not much in the way of actual scoring chances. Ovechkin took a shot through a defenseman in the slot with 8:24 left. A few seconds later, an even tougher one from Jeff Schultz that hopped off a skate was denied by Lundqvist. The Rangers got a decent backhand chance from Vinny Prospal with six and a half minutes left that Neuvirth denied. 

With a little less than two minutes to go, Jason Arnott knocked down a clearing attempt. The veteran center, acquired for some depth and Stanley Cup experience, found Semin in the slot, who ripped a slap shot one-time past Henrik Lundqvist at 18:24 of the overtime to give Washington a huge win, after they fell in overtime to lose Game 1 to Montreal in last year's first round. The exercising of demons has begun in full. 
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