The Capitals might not have allowed any power play goals in the first period against the New York Rangers on Sunday night but the three penalties they took in the final 14 minutes 10 seconds of the frame cost them in ways that aren’t easily quantified by the scoreboard according to Coach Adam Oates.
“It makes it so difficult because the team has no rhythm, you’ve got some guys that don’t kill penalties, don’t get to play,” Oates said. “You’re using guys in other situations, you want to save that energy if possible. And you give them life. We had a 1-0 lead and all of a sudden, you give them life. You get their good players on the ice, they get touches with the puck, you’ve gotta stay out of the box.”
Washington’s first infraction in its eventual 2-1 loss at the Rangers was for too-many men on the ice, the result of a sloppy line change just under six minutes in. Then 47 seconds after the Capitals killed that penalty, Jason Chimera went to the box for boarding Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi. Troy Brouwer was whistled for boarding defenseman Anton Stralman with just 1:40 remaining in the first.
At the end of the first period Nicklas Backstrom had played 3:01 of his total 6:52 of ice time short-handed, Brouwer skated 2:15 on the penalty kill of his 5:52.
“You use a lot of minutes, a lot of guys using a lot of energy killing penalties, Nick and Troy, guys that we need at the other end, especially. But once again, we obviously did some good things. We didn’t give them a lot of chances. They had a lot of shots, but a lot of perimeter, not really a lot of Grade A chances. We did some good things, but we still made a lot of mistakes.”
While the penalties certainly threw the Capitals’ minutes off kilter and gave the Rangers unnecessary encouragement, it was an oddly officiated game. Officials missed a blatant trip by Backstrom on Rangers captain Ryan Callahan around the midway point of the first, but then called tripping when Karl Alzner’s stick got caught in the feet of Brad Richards 4:18 into the third period.
Penalties cost Capitals against Rangers
Washington Post | Feb 18