While the Caps fell short in Game 1, Alex Ovechkin’s power play goal in the third period lifted them to victory in Game 2. It was as best a response to the crowd’s taunts as anyone could have hoped for. A little over seven-and-a-half minutes into the third period, with the game tied 2-2, Ovechkin, faced with the jeers from the sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, sent what would be the game-winning goal through the Rangers’ net. Ovechkin’s goal gave the Caps back their confidence, after they had squandered a 2-0 lead.
Both Mike Knuble and Jason Chimera scored goals in the first period, putting the Caps ahead early. But the Rangers weren’t to be shut out in their own home, as Brad Richards scored late in the first period, cutting their lead to one. The second period was quiet for both teams, until early in the third period New York struck again, with Ryan Callahan tying things up on a power play goal. Things were starting to look bleak for Washington, until Ovechkin’s go-ahead goal just over six minutes later. It was a triumph for both Washington and Ovechkin, who silenced the crowd that had been taunting him for two games.
Monday night’s victory gives the Caps some breathing room as they head back to Washington for the next two games of the best of seven semi-finals. Instead of down 2-0, the series is tied 1-1, with the Capitals now privy to home ice advantage and screaming fans of a different variety.
It’s been almost 20 years since the Redskins had a reliable starting quarterback (Mark Rypien) and over 25 years since they’ve had a true franchise quarterback (Joe Theismann). By trading away several draft picks to move up to No. 2 this year, coach Mike Shanahan hopes to have changed all that.
With the No. 2 pick, the Redskins drafted Baylor QB and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III (better known as RG3). Griffin was a star in college (throwing for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns last year) and is expected to be just as big a star in the NFL. There was even speculation that he would go No. 1 in the draft instead of Stanford’s Andrew Luck. That speculation was put to rest when the Indianapolis Colts announced a few weeks ago that they would be selecting Luck.
The Redskins held their annual draft day party on Saturday, where they introduced Griffin to the fans. Over 20,000 people decked out in burgundy and gold showed up to see Griffin, who ran onto the field to chants of “RG3” and joined the crowd in signing “Hail to the Redskins”.
It is clear that both the Redskins fans and management have a lot riding on Griffin. Shanahan has said he hopes his new QB doesn’t miss a game for the next 10 years, while fans are already snatching up his jersey even though he hasn’t been named the starter. Griffin himself is more subdued, saying he intends to be the starting quarterback for the Redskins, but is not counting out Grossman. (There are also possibilities for Kirk Cousins, a Michigan State quarterback whom Shanahan picked up in the fourth round). While his role as starting quarterback may not yet be set is stone, there is one thing for certain, without even throwing one pass: RGIII has already brought hope to the Redskins and their season.