Throughout the lockout, many blogs are doing fake recaps of the games that should’ve been taking place. I’ve decided to go another route by doing real recaps…of the games that happened on that date one year ago.
The Caps had lost four of their past six and were sitting out of a playoff spot this far into the season for the first time since April 2008. The Rangers were on a five game winning streak sitting at the top of the East, with their last loss coming 13 days ago but the signs were there in their last win. So what do you think happened when these two teams met on December 28, 2011? I’ll let Torts tell you:
“I wouldn’t say it’s the defense, I would say it’s some brain-dead plays at our blue line as far as turnovers,” Tortorella said. “It’s unfortunate with Del Z (Michael Del Zotto) — he loses the puck on the first one. But a turnover by Mitch (John Mitchell) and a turnover by Richie (Brad Richards), not against their third or fourth line, but against their top line. It kills us. That’s what’s frustrating. I thought we beat ourselves a little bit there in those situations.”
Yes, it was one of those games.
The game didn’t start well as the Caps struck first eight minutes into the first period as they got a rebound past Biron. (Not sure why Biron started this game but I remember thinking that a lot last year and he usually did okay. This loss wasn’t his fault.)
Nine minutes later, the Rangers got even as Brandon Dubinsky got his third of the season on this perfect shot:
Callahan blocked a shot? You don’t say! (He was fine since he didn’t miss a shift.) My favorite part of that sequence was Dubinsky’s leap over the defenseman to get on the breakaway. In skates, that’s impressive.
Unfortunately that was the end of the good news as the Caps took the lead halfway through the second period and never looked back. They made it 3-1 three minutes after that and added a fourth goal with less than three minutes to go. You can see all the goals here:
Yeah, I can understand why Torts was pissed. Not a good game for the boys. But as Biron said after the game:
“You always feel like you can win them all. Little things here and there create woulda, coulda, shoulda,” he said. “But that’s part of the game. But that’s been part of our team this year where we’ve been able to go back and string some wins together right after losses, and that’s got to be the same thing now. We have to stop it here now. That’s got to be our attitude moving forward.”
They definitely had to stop it there as they had a game against the Panthers next and then some game in Philadelphia on January 2nd. You may have heard about that one. But first up was the Panthers. And maybe the loss was a good thing as it forced the boys not to look past a game they easily could have.