Rangers 1 win away from sweep after 3-1 Game 3 victory against Capitals

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Different venue, same result. And now the New York Rangers are one win away from sweeping their way into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a 3-1 road victory in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals on Friday.

The Rangers, who won 4-1 and 4-3 to open the best-of-7 series at Madison Square Garden, now hold a commanding 3-0 lead with a chance to advance with another win in Game 4 in Washington on Sunday.

Igor Shesterkin was called on to play his best game of the series and the Rangers goalie delivered a 27-save performance that included a string of timely big-time stops.

The Rangers penalty kill also came up big, killing off all six Capitals power plays. For the second straight game, the Rangers scored a shorthanded goal, this time by Barclay Goodrow, to further frustrate the Capitals.

“Penalty kill was outstanding, as usual, and I appreciate it,” Shesterkin said. “They play so hard and it’s really good for us.”

Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for New York; Chris Kreider scored an even-strength goal; and Mika Zibanejad had two assists.

John Carlson scored the only Capitals goal, part of a massive performance by the veteran defenseman. Carlson logged 30:12 in ice time with the Capitals defense corps down three regulars. Rasmus Sandin and Nick Jensen each remained out with an upper-body injury, and Trevor van Riemsdyk was knocked out of the game in the first period after a huge hit thrown by Matt Rempe.

Charlie Lindgren finished with 19 saves for the Capitals.

Related: Why Sean Avery is fired up about the Rangers in 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

New York Rangers 3 – Washington Capitals 1

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the boisterous crowd trying to ignite something in their underdog Capitals on home ice, it was the Rangers who came out flying in Game 3. With the Rangers buzzing from the start, Lindgren had to make six saves in the first four minutes of the game, including good ones on a Will Cuylle snap shot, Jack Roslovic’s bad-angle shot from the left corner and even a bomb of a slap shot by his brother, Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren.

Despite this lopsided pressure, it was the Capitals who scored the first goal. Off the rush, Carlson took a pass from T.J. Oshie and sent a knuckler from just inside the blue line that snuck past Shesterkin at 5:34 of the first period.

The Rangers being the Rangers, though, came right back on the next shift to tie the score. Despite two defenders on him, Kreider neatly deflected Zibanejad’s shot past Lindgren to make it 1-1 at 6:08. The goal was Kreider’s second of the series and the point was his 67th all-time in the postseason, tying Rod Gilbert for third in Rangers history.

Exactly two minutes later, the Rangers scored a shorthanded goal for the second straight game, to take a 2-1 lead. A blocked Alex Ovechkin shot bounced out of the Rangers zone, sending Trocheck and Goodrow off on a 2-on-1 rush the other way. Goodrow scored his first of the playoffs, low to the stick side, at 8:08. It was the first shorthanded goal in 84 postseason games for the two-time Stanley Cup champion.

“‘Troch’ made a great pass. I was trying to get it far side, thought maybe he’d overslide, and it found a way in,” Goodrow explained.

Before the period ended, Shesterkin made an excellent save, fighting off a tough Ovechkin power-play shot at 19:20. But that was just the beginning for the Rangers goalie, who turned in an outstanding second period, when he made several crucial saves.

Shesterkin made his best save of the series, so far, when he exploded along the goal line to make a lightning-quick right-pad stop to rob Max Pacioretty on the doorstep after a slick feed from Sonny Milano behind the net around the nine-minute mark of the second period.

“I was lucky,” Shesterkin said with a grin.

In the final minute of the period, Shesterkin aggressively came out to swallow up a Hendrix Lapierre turnaround shot in the slot.

Shesterkin also caught a break when an Oshie deflection early in the second hit the post.

Lindgren countered Shesterkin with a lunging save to his left to rob Kaapo Kakko on an open one-timer from the right circle at 14:50.

The Rangers did add to their lead in the second period, when Trocheck scored a power-play goal at 15:22. Trocheck’s second of the series came off a neat give-and-go with Zibanejad that made it 3-1 Rangers.

Shesterkin was at it again early in the third period, stoning Tom Wilson twice from top of the blue paint during a Capitals power play. A minute later, he robbed Dylan Strome point blank to keep it 3-1.

The 28-year-old stopped every shot he faced in the third period, when New York was outshot 13-5, to make sure the Rangers will have a chance to finish off a first-round sweep when these teams meet again Sunday night.

“We’ve played really good but we have to win one more game and we focus on the next one,” Shesterkin said.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

Mentioned in this article:

More About: