Skip to content

Alexes Semin and Ovechkin briefly silence critics as Capitals beat Rangers 2-1 in OT

Apr 13, 2011, 11:16 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin AP

Almost anyone eager to criticize the Washington Capitals for their playoff troubles will blame their defense, goaltending and two star Russian wingers: Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin.

Whether it’s their carefree attitudes, perceived lack of production* or the simple sports writing formula of “Team doesn’t win = player is a choker,” there are many hockey people who revel in the “failures” of Semin and Ovechkin. Those people probably weren’t very happy with the results of Game 1, as Ovechkin tied the game up in the third period while Semin scored the overtime game-winner and assisted on Ovechkin’s tally as well.

Washington 2, NY Rangers 1 (OT); Capitals lead 1-0

This was the tight-checking, rugged defensive game that some assumed would be too much for Washington. Anyone who’s been following this team during the 2010-11 season (rather than leaning on outdated opinions) would know that they’ve grown quite a bit in that area, something they showed by grinding out a tough win against a resilient team.

The first two periods went without a goal as Henrik Lundqvist and Michal Neuvirth kept both teams off the board. Matt Gilroy finally gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead about two minutes into the third period, followed by that video-reviewed Ovechkin goal at the 13:44 mark. The game then went into overtime, putting greater pressure on the Capitals.

It looked like that pressure would increase that much more as the two teams slugged it out deep into the first (and only) overtime period, but Semin scored a resounding goal with about a minute and a half left to win it for Washington. Marc Staal is a great defensive defenseman, but he coughed up the puck to Jason Arnott, who made a nice play to keep the puck in the Rangers’ zone before setting up Semin’s winner.

Lundqvist made 33 saves in the game, often frustrating the Capitals shooters with his world-class netminding, but it wasn’t enough. Neuvirth had a comparatively easy night, passing his first test as Washington’s No. 1 goalie by stopping 24 out of 25 shots.

Obviously, it’s erroneous to judge an entire two month playoff schedule by one night of action, but Wednesday’s game does force the question: is it time to take Semin and Ovechkin seriously? If they keep it up, their detractors will have to eat some playoff crow.

* Semin has 26 points in 29 career playoff games, while Ovechkin has a whopping 41 in 29. They might not have blemish-free games, but calling them chokers seems downright silly.

Latest Posts
  1. Lucic jokes about running through Rask ‘like I did (to) another goalie’

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:22 PM EDT

    Milan Lucic AP

    His first game against Boston is scheduled for Feb. 9.

  2. Success for McDavid isn’t purely a numbers game

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Connor McDavid AP

    The start of his rookie campaign is approaching.

  3. Hitch finds silver lining in Berglund injury

    Aug 31, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Patrik Berglund Getty Images

    Who will take advantage of the opening?

  4. Neuvirth cites Voracek as his reason for joining Flyers

    Aug 31, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Five Getty Images

    The two have previously played together on the Czech national team.

  5. Hurricanes add Ray Whitney, three others to scouting staff

    Aug 31, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Jeff Daniels Getty Images

    Former coach Jeff Daniels is also staying within the organization after being relieved of his AHL coaching duties.

  6. Poll: Will Seabrook re-sign?

    Aug 31, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    Brent Seabrook Getty Images

    You can expect this question to be asked throughout the year.

  7. Under Pressure: Stan Bowman

    Aug 31, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Stan Bowman AP

    Heck, the ‘Hawks are still over the salary cap ceiling.

  8. Hawks’ biggest question: What happens with Patrick Kane?

    Aug 31, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane Getty Images

    Chicago’s star forward remains under police investigation.

  9. Looking to make the leap: Artemi Panarin

    Aug 31, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Artemi Panarin AP

    Can his KHL success translate to North America?

  10. Blackhawks ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:04 AM EDT

    Jonathan Toews Getty Images

    Plenty of changes in the Windy City.

  11. It’s Chicago Blackhawks day at PHT

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

    The defending Stanley Cup champs dealt away key pieces in the offseason.

  12. Cooke: ‘I have fire in my belly, I still feel I can play’

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Matt Cooke Matt Cooke

    The 36-year-old is still looking for a contract after being bought out by the Wild.

  13. Poll: Will Minnesota’s power play improve this season?

    Aug 30, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    The Wild ranked 27th overall last season with the man advantage.

  14. Wild’s biggest question: Who will step up at center?

    Aug 30, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Mikael Granlund Mikael Granlund

    Granlund scored just eight goals last season while playing between Pominville and Parise.

  15. Looking to make the leap: Mike Reilly

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

    He’s hoping to crack the Wild’s opening night roster after three seasons at the University of Minnesota.

  16. Under Pressure: Devan Dubnyk

    Aug 30, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    150831-Devan-Dubnyk Getty Images

    He’ll have to prove last season was not a fluke.

  17. Report: Ballard, Leopold leaning towards retirement

    Aug 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Keith Ballard Keith Ballard

    Both blue liners are unrestricted free agents.

  18. Wild ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Zach Parise Getty Images

    Can they take a step forward this season?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1752)
  2. P. Kane (1371)
  3. M. Richards (1255)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1241)
  5. N. Backstrom (1103)