I was pretty satisfied with this game. The first period was a delight for the home team: we had a high-tempo game (14 shots on goal in the 1st = as many as we had in the entirety of game 1) and our power play looked very sexy. Too bad that didn’t help (at least not until the 3rd period, but hang on, I’m getting there). Instead, Ovechkin appeared to be buoyed by the 8th minute yet again as he fired a beauty of a slapper that was apparently scared of Lundqvist’s glove, since immediately jumped out and into the safety of the back of the net.
Things aren’t all sunshine and roses for Ovie, though, because it looks like some people want some supplementary discipline for his hit on Dan Girardi. He may be known for his exuberant hits, but I doubt anything will happen: no one was hurt and Ovie is a superstar. If any action is taken at all, I bet it’s a fine — it wasn’t as bad as Shea Weber.
For once, neither goalie made a strong push for SPICIness. Sure, they were both decent, but neither were the gamechanger (poor Lundqvist must want that first goal back but bad). Neither Rangers’ goal was entirely Holtby’s fault (he got caught by the danger of turning your head on the Gaborik goal, and had he been a few inches taller he would’ve had the Anisimov tally).
The absolute anti-SPICY player is Dennis Wideman, thanks to that Gaborik goal. Did he get distracted? Confused? Bored? He just quit all of a sudden, like he thought it was a public skate at the Kettler Arlington rink, before realizing “Oh s***! There’s a Russian whizzing past me!” (According to Emrick, two of the zebras disagreed on whether or not it was icing, allowing Anisimov to get to the puck first and feed it to Gaborik.) Still, it’s a powerful case in favor of bringing back Dmitri Orlov. In second might be Brooks Laich, poor dear, for having simply no idea where the puck went as Anisimov merrily banged it just inches past his toe.
With goals by Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Green, I’m almost tempted to give the SPICY award to the Young Guns (Semin may have earned it simply by not taking any dumb penalties), but I took that cop-out last time. I think there’s a real front-runner anyway. Nicklas Bäckström, you are SPICY.
Everything leading up to his goal was magnificent, starting with the battle in the corner where he steadfastly refused to let himself get pushed around by Anton Stralman, to the way he maneuvered the puck behind the net, to the beautiful wrister that went roof daddy. I absolutely adore Backstrom.
With the series split at 2-2 it’s best of 3 heading back to New York on Monday, 7:30pm. Check out the competition on Black and Blueshirts.