Capitals Sweep Home-And-Home Series With Rangers

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 3-2 OT loss to the Washington Capitals.

Kevin Hayes – The Rangers drew first blood in this one on a power-play goal from Kevin Hayes. The Rangers forward picked up a loose puck that was sitting between three Washington players, put it on┬ánet, and the puck squeaked over the goal line to give the Rangers the early lead. The goal was the 22nd of the season for Hayes, who is playing for his next NHL contract this season. The 25-year-old will be a restricted free-agent at season’s end, and what he does over the final few games of the season could impact how management quantifies Hayes’ contributions to the organization.

Ryan Spooner – With the game tied at one in the third period, the Rangers forced a turnover and Lias Andersson sprung Ryan Spooner on a rush up the boards. Spooner took a quick snap-shot that beat Braden Holtby under the blocker to restore the Rangers’ one-goal lead. Like Hayes, Spooner is a restricted free-agent at season’s end, and he has certainly done enough in his short time with the Rangers to warrant the team’s front office to consider re-signing the versatile 26-year-old forward.

Too Many Mistakes – The Rangers lost this game because they simply made too many mistakes. Though it was a goal Henrik Lundqvist will want back, the first Capitals’ goal came after a neutral zone turnover by Jimmy Vesey. The tying goal for the Caps came with just over a minute left in regulation when Neal Pionk erred in going to his knee and allowed Lars Eller to redirect the puck over top of Lundqvist. And finally, the game-winner came after a Chris Kreider cross-ice pass hopped over the stick of Mika Zibanejad and off the referee, allowing Evgeny Kuznetsov to take control of the puck and ultimately end the game in OT. The Rangers have been done in by turnovers all season long, and this one was no different. Regardless of who is on the bench, or behind it, next season, this will be a big area to remedy for the organization to be successful.

Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers outshot the Capitals 37-33 in this one, but Henrik Lundqvist made a few glorious saves to keep his team in the game. Lundqvist robbed Kuznetsov on a penalty shot chance in the first period, making the blocker save as Kuznetsov faked to his backhand.

Lundqvist would stop Ovechkin all five times the Russian fired the puck towards Henrik, including this save to keep the game tied at one.

As has been said many times this year, Lundqvist’s play from November through the All-Star break was really the only reason the Blueshirts were even in “playoff contention” in recent weeks. Henrik has said he wants to remain with the Rangers through their rebuild, and if he can maintain the way he’s played the majority of this season, he will give the Blueshirts a chance every time he steps on the ice.

Next Game: The Rangers play their final home game of the 2017-18 season on Friday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drops at 7!


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