"The worst home loss I've been associated with." Coach Bruce Boudreau.
THE RESULT: Just as in their last meeting between these two teams, the New York Rangers dominated the Washington Capitals in all facets of the game and handed the home team its worst loss in its own building since November of 2006, a 6-0 shutout that wasn't even as close as the score.
The Caps essentially gave up on this game just moments before the Rangers first tally at 5:45 of the first period.
The Rangers had control of the puck and were cycling effectively against the Mike Green/John Erskine pairing, and a forward line of Brooks Laich, Mathieu Perreault and Boyd Gordon. The puck came behind the net and Green clearly cross-checked Derek Stepan and the Rangers rookie went into the boards helmet first.
Green dug the puck out to Gordon, but Gordon was unable to clear and the Rangers defensemen fed the puck back into the same corner where Green went to retrieve, rather timidly, I might add. Stepan, angry from the cross-check and probably frustrated with the no-call, checked Green high and hit Green with a shoulder or elbow.
You can watch the play here.
Green went down in a pile and was very slow to get up. At that point, with the Caps down a man, the Rangers collected the puck and fed a wide open Steve Eminger at the far point, who sent a blast that ricocheted off Brooks Laich and past Michal Neuvirth for the only goal the Rangers would need.
Green left the game and did not return. The team has listed him as "day-to-day" at this point pending further evaluation and he will not accompany the team to Long island for the game with the Islanders Saturday. Green was making his return after missing the road trip battling "inner ear trauma" stemming from taking a puck to the side of the head against Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
He managed to last just 5:45 into the first period.
If you watched the video, pause it at the 23 second mark, right after the goal and look at the reaction the five Caps players in the frame had. It's all you need to know about how the rest of the game went.
The Capitals were already defeated. I won't bore you with descriptions of the rest of New York's goals.
"Our fans deserve better," a subdued coach Bruce Boudreau said in his press conference. "We deserve to get booed. It’s not fun when you come home and you’ve got the best fans in the world and you play like that."
"It’s just not acceptable and it’s embarrassing."
But it's all too common-place now for this team.
It's almost impossible to fathom, but the Caps have lost their last three games at Verizon Center by a combined score of 12-1. Boudreau's right about it being embarrassing.
And with just 20 games left in the regular season, can anything be done about it?
The team pulled six points from a long five-game road trip, came home to two days off, and then went out and laid a stinker like that last night at home? There are no excuses for the level of effort and energy exhibited by the vast majority of players wearing a red sweater last night.
With the trade deadline approaching on Monday, it's impossible to guess what GM George McPhee might do. But you can be sure that he was not pleased with the performance of the players that are currently on the roster.
He'd be just one of many at this point.
NEXT GAME: Saturday against the New York Islanders from Nassau County Coloseum at 7:00 pm.
CAPS NEWS NETWORK THREE STARS
3. John Erskine. Five hits and only on the ice for the goal where Green got hurt.
2. Scott Hannan. He's an anchor for the Caps on the blue line. Second most minutes and was on the ice for just one of the four even strength goals for New York.
1. Alex Ovechkin. Eight shots on goal, another nine blocked or missed. Six hits. Was really involved in this game.
CAPS NOTES: John Carlson and Karl Alzner did not distinguish themselves last night. Carlson was minus-3 and Alzner minus-2.
Speaking of bad games, Boyd Gordon was on the ice for the first four Rangers goals.
Alexander Semin somehow was credited with four hits.
Nick Backstrom, healing from a fracture in his thumb, took just one faceoff all night. The Caps finished at 51 percent for the evening.
The power play went 0-for-5 and penalty kill was just 2-for-4.