Chris Kreider’s goal 7 minutes into the third period of Game 1 that altered the course of the contest in New York’s favor was the result of a shift that saw everything go wrong for the Washington Capitals.
Henrik Lundqvist directed a point shot by Alexander Semin into the corner. With the play seemingly deep in the New York zone, Mike Green went toward the Capitals’ bench for a change.
As Green shaded toward the bench, though, the puck rolled along the boards and up the left wall, where Derek Stepan beat Marcus Johansson to it and sent a pass to Kreider in the neutral zone.
“We thought he was going to keep it in and he was trying to make a change and got caught up ice,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “Every game is a game of mistakes out there. …Just part of hockey.”
By the time Green tried to race back into the play it didn’t matter. Kreider was a few strides ahead of Roman Hamrlik, had the angle and opportunity for a slap shot that “fooled” rookie netminder Braden Holtby to put New York ahead en route to its 3-1 win.
It was New York’s second goal of the contest and the second that Green played a roll in. On the Rangers’ first, he was outmustled by hulking forward Artem Anisimov on a wraparound.
“I was going to the bench and nobody jumped so I had to go back and he had a step on [Hamrlik],” said Green, who was a team-low minus-2 in 21:45 of ice time. Kreider “made a great shot from just over the blueline.”
Dennis Wideman appeared to be climbing over the boards as Green approached the bench, though. Hunter placed some of the blame on Hamrlik getting caught up ice on the play and behind the speedier Krider, the veteran blueliner didn’t hesitate to accept some of the blame for the play.
“We kind of switched the sides; I end up on the right side and I was a little bit confused. My bad,” Hamrlik said. “I have to stay back and take the guy and he had lots of speed and just make a good play. That’s the mistakes that cost us, and we have to be better.”
More on the Capitals:
— Holtby’s Game 1 peformance puts Caps in bad spot
— Graphic: Track every Caps shot in the postseason
— Semin demoted to fourth line in practice
— Game 1: Caps surrender upper hand to Rangers, 3-1
— The mistakes that led to Kreider’s goal in Game 1
— Jenkins: Game 1 turns quickly for Washington
— Chris Kreider is the toast of New York