Joel Ward Delivers a Gut Punch; Capitals Take a 1-0 Series Lead

The Rangers were 1.3 seconds away from forcing an overtime after tying Game 1 late, but Joel Ward cashed in on a slick feed from behind the net by Alex Ovechkin, tucking it under Henrik Lundqvist’s left pad.

Ward’s buzzer-beater came minutes after Jesper Fast tied the game at 1-1, when Kevin Hayes’ low wrister deflected twice on the way to the net, banking off Fast’s skate and past Braden Holtby.

Ovechkin had staked the Capitals to a first period lead with an absolute rocket of a shot that was in and out of the net in an instant. It was just an absurd shot from Ovechkin, who was a force all game long and registered 11 shot attempts (eight of which War-on-Ice categorized as scoring chances).

As far as the rest of the game recap goes, there’s not a whole lot more to say. The Rangers pushed the pace out of the gate, and came thisclose to opening the scoring when a J.T. Miller re-direction grazed the post.

After the Rangers fell behind, Derick Brassard came the closest to tying the game in the second period, but he couldn’t corral a loose puck in the crease for what would have been a tap-in.

Even with Fast’s game-tying goal, Washington played a mistake free game. They limited the Rangers’ chances and Holtby kept the second chance opportunities to a minimum. The Rangers began to press harder as the third period elapsed, but Washington didn’t appear to deploy an egregious defensive shell, either.

Numbers and Notes

  • The 5v5 shot attempts (59-59) and shots on goal (28-28) were both even. Not so even were the scoring chances (31-23 in favor of Washington)
  • The score-adjusted shot attempts also give Washington a decisive edge, 64-52.
  • As I previously mentioned, Ovechkin had an incredible night. Scored a world-class goal, set up the game-winner, 11 shot attempts, eight scoring chances, +30/-15 in shot attempts, and +16/-6 in scoring chances.
  • J.T. Miller committed at least a couple of ugly turnovers, including one to Joel Ward that was reaaally bad. Fortunately, Ward rang Miller’s feed off the post. Unfortunately, Ward made up for it by converting on Ovechkin’s feed right before the final horn.
  • The Rangers got absolutely nothing from the fourth line tonight. Their overall possession numbers weren’t too ugly, but Sheppard-Moore-Glass was impotent.
  • Kevin Klein played 18:47 in his first game after being sidelined for the last seven weeks. He was +20/-13 in shot attempts and +8/-6 in scoring chances.
  • Box Score
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