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03/10/2013 4:51 PM EDT
Ovechkin penalties spur Rangers' 4-1 win over Caps
NY RANGERS 4, WASHINGTON 1
By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- About two hours before the opening faceoff,
Alex Ovechkin asked for more respect from the refs.
His day went downhill from there.
The two-time league MVP was directly responsible for three of
the New York Rangers' goals, including a pair after a rare
sequence in which he was cited for two penalties within seconds
of each other without a stoppage in play.
Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan took advantage of
Ovechkin's miscues Sunday to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win over
the Washington Capitals, New York's fifth win in six games.
"When we're parading to the box all the time," Washington
forward Troy Brouwer said, "we don't have a hope."
Steve Oleksy scored his first NHL goal for the Capitals, who
endured a rough weekend against teams named New York. Washington
lost 5-2 on the road against the Islanders on Saturday, a game
in which Mike Ribeiro and Jeff Schultz each took double-minors
in a span of less than four minutes in the third period, leading
to two Islanders goals.
One of Ribeiro's minors was for unsportsmanlike conduct, and
Ovechkin said before Sunday's game that "some refs don't like
some personalities on our team" and are too quick to call a
penalty when they hear a complaint.
"You have to respect us," Ovechkin said. "We're emotional; we're
in the game. When we say something bad to linesmen or bad to
referees, we can't give them two minutes when they yell at me."
It's worth noting, however, that the rare double-call against
Ovechkin a few hours later had nothing to do with yelling at an
official. He tripped Callahan, and then, with the call delayed
while New York was pulling the goalie, he dragged down Ryan
McDonagh from the side for a holding call.
"I know I trip him, the first one ... but I don't know where he
finds the second one," Ovechkin said. "But it cost us the game."
Washington coach Adam Oates had a beef with the second call as
"They said that he held the guy 10 seconds later, which
obviously watching the tape, he didn't," Oates said.
Regardless, referees Dean Morton and Marc Joannette both had
arms raised because of Ovechkin. As played continued, Boyle
scored his first goal of the season, beating goaltender Braden
Holtby glove-side to make the score 2-1 before Ovechkin's first
penalty could be assessed.
Ovechkin then went to the box to serve the second infraction,
and he watched the score become 3-1 just 41 seconds later, when
Rick Nash's one-timer from the right circle grazed Callahan's
right leg on the way to the net.
The sequence led to the inevitable question: Did the referees'
calls against Ovechkin have anything to do with his pregame
"I mean, they're human beings, right?" Oates answered.
Ovechkin also whiffed on a neutral zone hit on Stepan that
allowed the Rangers center to score in the first period. Stepan
kept skating, giving New York a numbers advantage, and he took
the puck past the goal line and banked in his shot off the back
of Holtby's right skate.
Ovechkin said he tried to make the hit, but that Stepan moved
out of the way at the last second. Asked if it was the correct
play for Ovechkin to make, Oates said: "No, it's not. We have
tracking rules and I think he was going to hit him and he let
him go, and because of that we got a little out of position."
The Capitals had a chance to make up ground when a pair of calls
gave them a 5-on-3 power play for 31 seconds late in the second
period, but Martin Biron (28 saves) and the Rangers held firm.
Brad Richards added an insurance goal in the third period.
Boyle's goal was an important one for the Rangers center. He was
a healthy scratch in New York's previous game and has been
trying to work his way out of coach John Tortorella's doghouse.
"I tried to start a new season, basically," Boyle said. "I tried
to put myself in position to do the things that I can do well. I
tried to keep it simple."
Notes: Tortorella on Ovechkin's pair of penalties: "That's the
first time I've seen it. I was asking about the faceoff.
Shouldn't the faceoff be in the end zone, instead of at center
ice? It should be. We've got to put a new rule in the rulebook."
... After the Rangers' third goal, Oates pulled Holtby in favor
of Michal Neuvirth, who hadn't played since Feb. 7 and had
recently been sidelined with an illness. ... With Neuvirth
recovered, the Capitals assigned goalie Philipp Grubauer to
Hershey of the AHL. ... Washington D John Erskine sat out after
sustaining an upper body injury early in Saturday's game, while
C Marcus Johansson returned after missing 12 games with a
concussion. ... Veteran D Roman Hamrlik, now playing for the
Rangers after being claimed off waivers from Washington last
week, was a healthy scratch. "He's not in shape," Tortorella
said. "He needs work."
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
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