Rangers Vs. Capitals, Game 2: Capitals Take 2-0 Series Lead On Early Second Period Goals

The Washington Capitals got the goals they needed from Jason Chimera and Jason Arnott 1:57 apart in the second period, and then they shut down the New York Rangers in all three zones. Michal Neuvirth was solid, getting his first playoff shutout, as the Capitals won Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, 2-0. That is also the count by which the Capitals lead this series. Game 3 is on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. 

Both teams came out fast, with the Rangers having a much better start than Game 1, forcing a lot of shots on Michal Neuvirth. The Rangers came out with a 4-0 lead in shots through the first three minutes of the game. Though the Caps were able to get a chance or two of their own, none of them initially made it to Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers definitely had a jump in this game early.

Marain Gaborik cut across the zone for a wrister on Neuvirth, the best chance of the game so far for either of the two big European scorers (Gaborik or Ovechkin) in the period. Neuvirth made the save. Both goaltenders looked pretty solid in the first period. Neuvirth made 13 saves in the first period, and was probably the best Capital on the ice. Lundqvist made seven saves.

Early in the second, Brooks Laich went around behind the Rangers net, dragging a defenseman with him. As he fell down, he somehow got off a pass to Marcus Johansson. Johansson found Chimera in the slot, and he just ripped one past Lundqvist at 2:11 of the first period. It was Chimera's second career playoff goal, and first since Game 4 of last year's seven-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Shortly after, Ryan McDonagh took his second penalty of the game. He was called for roughing at 2:59, just 48 seconds after the goal. The Capitals were able to get a good rhythm going, and eventually Jason Arnott slapped one past Lundqvist to make it 2-0 at 4:08. The Capitals scored twice in 1:57, and it was Arnott's 31st career post-season goal in 108 playoff games. It was the Caps first power play goal of the series, and put them at 1-for-2 for the game, 1-for-4 overall. Rangers coach John Tortorella immediately called his timeout to settle things down.

In the third, there was good pace, but little in terms of shots on goal, aside from a terrific Henrik Lundqvist save on Alex Ovechkin, who had a clean break-away. The Capitals were able to shut the Rangers down. It appears the much-balleyhooed turn toward backing up their powerful offense with an equally electric defense has worked. The Rangers pulled Lundqvist with 2:14 left, but to no avail. 

After giving up eight goals in the first two games of their series with Montreal in 2010, they have given up but one against the Rangers here in 2011. New York will need to look to the Madison Square Garden crowd to save themselves in this series, which continues on Sunday afternoon at The World's Most Famous Arena. 

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