By the Erskine of their teeth: Capitals 5, Rangers 3 (11/09/10)

On a night when big hits, scuffles, and general gruffness prevailed – so the did the Washington Capitals after trading tallies with the New York Rangers for most of the evening. Brian Boyle was the first to get on the board, who backhanded the puck over Michal Neuvirth‘s glove hand after receiving Dan Girardi‘s pass. The Caps were able to respond on a Brooks Laich redirection of a Alexander Semin shot while on a 4-on-3 power play, only to have Boyle respond with his second of the evening after Karl Alzner struck out while attempting to clear the puck. Goals by John Erskine and Derek Boogaard (yes, really) were traded early in the second, with Mike Knuble sacrificing enough goats to get on the board to tie the contest at 3 heading into the third. Matt Hendricks was able to put the Caps up on a beauty of a pass from Matt Bradley and Laich sealed the deal with an ENG with 6 seconds left. DC’s win streak now stands at a season-high 5 games as they head back to the Verizon Center to face division opponent Tampa Bay Lightning at home.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the recap.

The Good:
– Mike Knuble dents the twine! Let’s hope that the curse is gone for good.
– With the near-miss on a Gordie Howe hat trick, Matt Hendricks continues to impress.
– Looking across the scorers sheet, Brooks Laich had quite the night tallying 2 goals and 1 assist to finish +3 (and now lead the league on +/-). An upper body injury is no match for Mr. McHandsomepants.
– Although not their finest performance all year, the Caps as a whole worked hard to stay in the game, fight for scoring chances, and limit the Rags shots on net.

The Bad:
– Anyone have any guesses as to what Neuvi was thinking when he allowed the Boogeyman to net his first goal in 234 games? Or the entire game? Hopefully Mikey will be rested come Thursday.
– Oh, Tyler Sloan. At least you’re consistent in your miserable play.
Mike Green‘s dance-hug fight with Brandon Dubinsky. I’m all for newer, grittier Green – but if you’re going to drop the gloves at least throw some blows, mk?
– I know MSG is “hallowed ground” and all, but the ominous minor-key organ music, the buzzer reminiscent of a high school gym, and the Trans-Siberea Orchestra hype music really gets to me.

The Ugly:
– Defensive blunders abound. For the most part, the Caps’ blueliners have been steady this season, but tonight’s game was sooooo 2009.