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Rangers stay hot, Capitals continue to sink

Jan 19, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT

henriklundqvistgetty Getty Images

Not too long ago, it was the New York Rangers who were looking for answers following a discouraging loss at Madison Square Garden. Now they’re red-hot and the Washington Capitals are very much not, as Sunday’s 4-1 Rangers win exemplifies.

The Rangers have won three games in a row, six of their last seven and have managed an 11-3-1 record in their last 15 games. They now hold sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division thanks to this victory.

The Capials have lost five straight times, including a three-game streak in which they’ve allowed at least four goals each night. It’s one thing to carry three goalies when you’re playing well, as the Minnesota Wild are now, but the Capitals are only magnifying their issues as they shuffle between Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.

In this case, Grubauer was yanked in favor of Holtby on a night when few Capitals enjoyed strong nights. One of the only bright spots was Alex Ovechkin bumping his league-leading total to 35 goals, as other Caps seemed hapless, especially Martin Erat.

Rick Nash scored twice in the first period, including the eventual game-winner. Six of Nash’s team-leading 14 goals have been game-winners this season.

While the Rangers seem to be building steam, the Capitals won’t get much relief. They’ve lost three straight road contests and will get one game in Washington on Tuesday before playing five straight away games to end the month. Things could get really ugly if Adam Oates & Co. can’t find answers by then.

  1. 7mantel - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Realignment was not a good thing for the Caps and it starting to show ! No free ride to playoffs this year !

    • homieshome - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      RANGERS RULE!!

  2. stcrowe - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Saw this game. Why do they even dress Martin Erat? He makes it plainly obvious that he wants to be traded with his pathetic play. At the same time, he gives other teams no reason to trade for him. He really is a loser.

    I won’t even mention Filip Forsberg.

    • trbowman - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Doesn’t look like he cares either. No passion visible in his play. He’s a guy you really don’t want on your hockey club. He belongs in the press box night in and night out.

  3. csilojohnson - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    You just did…

  4. pr0jecktpat - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    The same issues that have plagued the Caps for the last few seasons still persist, and yet they never seem to address their goal tending or defensive needs. GMGM needs to be let go, or they need to hire a consultant to help him understand you can’t just keep picking up forwards and expect the team to get better.

    It is really tiring watching this team play and constantly underachieving every night they hit the ice. Three different coaches with more or less the same effort put in to each game by the players. A coach can only do so much to get his team ready to play, the rest is up to the players to decide if they want to be winners or if they are complacent with just receiving a paycheck.

    Washington DC sports FTL =/

    • trbowman - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      If your Oates you’ve really got to just ride one of your goalies at this point, cycling them all the time will ensure that they don’t get hot. He was kind of doing that with Grubauer, who prior to the last two games had played quite well. I like his game long term.

      Neuvirth is just a guy. Solid backup that can give you a chance nights when you’re resting your starter but you don’t want him night in and night out.

      Holtby got overrated quickly if you ask me. He lets in too many soft goals. His rebound control has been terrible since he entered the NHL. People point to his playoff run in 2012 and I can respect that. But Dale Hunter’s system really disguised Holtby. Their D zone play was much more disciplined that playoff year, and it was actually their lack of goal scoring that was ultimately their undoing against the Rangers in that series. But they were playing playoff hockey then before the post-season started, really.

      • trbowman - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        you’re*

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Yore.

  5. dirt2013 - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    The writer left the T out of sink.

  6. fivetozeroingame7 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    it’s really too bad isn’t it? Who could have possibly seen it coming???????

  7. stakex - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    I really don’t get what it is with the Caps and goaltenders. It seems like every year they have some young guy who comes along, players a few decent games, and suddenly takes over the starting job from someone else who was suppose to be a rising star. The Caps have a lot of problems, but this is chief among them.

    First it was Theodore getting replaced by Varlamov despite having a great season in 09-10. Then. before Varlamov had any chance to mature and find his stride he was replaced by Michal Neuvirth. Despite playing well and showing signs of being a solid starter, Neuvirth was then replaced as starter by Vokoun. When both Vokoun and Neuvirth were injured to start the 2012 playoffs, along came Holtby who would end up taking over the starting job the next season himself. Finally, this year, Grubauer has come along and the Caps have flirted with ditching both Holtby, and Neuvirth as starters because Grubauer played a couple good games.

    Its ridiculous. The Caps have goaltender schizophrenia, and they need to get over it if they are ever going to be a true contender. They need to pick one of their young goaltenders and give them a true shot at being the starter and can’t rush to replace him just because someone else comes in and plays a few good games.

    • DED - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      @stakex. I think you nailed it with that second paragraph. It seemed like Washington had no problem with depth in goal as when one guy went down with injury some new guy would come along and take his place without a problem. But they don’t seem willing to stick with anyone to let them bounce back from injury or soft patch. And now it looks like that run of getting lucky cycling guys in net has run its course.

  8. homieshome - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    Caps will always suck, plain and simple. LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!

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