K’Andre Miller’s three-point night highlights 5-1 win over Capitals

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers hosted the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night in their first game back following the holiday break. K’Andre Miller stole the show in this one as he registered a three point night (2G-1A). Rangers defensemen stepped up in a large way as Braden Schneider had a goal of his own while Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox each registered an assist after Jacob Trouba (upper-body) left the game early in the second period.

Also in the contest, Artemi Panarin registered a goal and an assist, while Mika Zibanejad extended his point streak to eight games with two assists. Vincent Trocheck, Blake Wheeler, and Jimmy Vesey each notched an assist. Igor Shesterkin was solid once again, stopping 25 out of 26 shots.

“I went into the break with the goal to do a little bit more,” Miller said after. “The puck found me and I was able to capitalize.”

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New York Rangers 5 vs Washington Capitals 1

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It was a slow start for both the Rangers and the Capitals in this one. Both teams were clearly getting back up to game speed following the short holiday break. There were not many grade A chances for either team in the first frame.

Mika Zibanejad was able to split the defense and draw a penalty. However, the Rangers could not cash in on the power play. They had only two shots on the man advantage as they looked to extend their streak to eight consecutive games with a power play goal.

The best chance of the period came following a great hit in the defensive zone by Vincent Trocheck. Alexis Lafreniere made a pass that ended up on the stick of Erik Gustafsson, who rang the shot off the post.

Following a late penalty on the Rangers, the period would come to an end. It was a very defensive game for both teams. The contest remained scoreless after one, with the Rangers being out shot 10-7.

The first priority in the second frame was to kill off the remaining 1:35 of the penalty given to Ryan Lindgren. New York was able to do just that with relative ease and keep the game scoreless. A bigger concern for the Rangers is the status of Jacob Trouba, who went to the Rangers locker room following the penalty kill. On the play, he collided with Tom Wilson, who appeared to catch him high to the head.

About four minutes into the second period, however, Washington was able to break through. Coming down the ice with a 2-on-1 opportunity, Anthony Mantha was able to fire one over the glove of Shesterkin, giving the Capitals a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers would get another chance on the power play, but come up empty once again. Shortly thereafter, the Rangers would even the score. K’Andre Miller would get the crowd on their feet for the first time as his backhand shot beat Darcy Kuemper. Mika Zibanejad registered an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to eight games.

A good effort on the penalty kill would draw a Washington penalty, sending New York to their third power play of the game. As time was winding down on the man advantage, the Rangers would take the lead. Following another assist from Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin would fire one past Kuemper with pinpoint accuracy. This extends the Rangers streak to eight games with a power play goal, tying the longest such streak recorded in 2009.

Only 40 seconds later, it was Braden Schneider’s turn to cash in. With heavy traffic in front of the net, Schneider was able to get one past Kuemper from the point for his third of the season. This is a great sign for the young defenseman as he stepped up in a large way in the absence of Trouba, who remained out of the game.

With an outburst of three goals in a span of 5:45, the Rangers would take a 3-1 lead into the third period. Jacob Trouba was ruled out for the remainder of the game with an upper body injury.

There were not many chances throughout the first six minutes of the third period. The Rangers had fallen back into a solid defensive game as they held onto their two-goal lead. Once the Capitals did find a scoring chance, Igor Shesterkin was there to make a beautiful cross-crease save, his best of the night.

The Rangers came back with a chance of their own. Following a pass from Chris Kreider, Miller was able to find the back of the net for the second time in the game. The Blueshirts’ defensemen were now responsible for three of the four goals in the contest. The assist for Kreider was his 508th career-point all with the Rangers to pass Adam Graves.

It was then time for the forwards to jump in once again. A beautiful passing play from Miller and Adam Fox found a wide open Alexis Lafreniere for his second goal in the last four games. It is Lafreniere’s 10th goal of the season.

The Rangers now have five unanswered goals as time began to wind down in the third period. Several miraculous stops from Igor Shesterkin prevented any notion of a Captials comeback.

It was a few more minutes for everybody (on defense),” coach Peter Laviolette said of the Trouba injury. “I love that they were jumping into the holes and joining the rush. Key’s first goal was a real big one.”

New York was able to shut it down for the rest of the game and take down Washington by a score of 5-1. it was a huge game for the Rangers defense, who combined for three goals and three assists.

As for Trouba, Laviolette noted that he was still being evaluated an update would likely come tomorrow.

Rangers Notes

  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 25 out of 26 shots, has won four games straight
  • K’Andre Miller recorded his 6th goal and 7th goals of the season, his 2nd career two-goal game. He also registered an assist
  • Braden Schneider registered his 3rd goal of the season
  • With two assists tonight, Mika Zibanejad extended his point streak to eight games (7G-8A)
  • Artemi Panarin registered two points (1G-1A)
  • With assists tonight, Blake Wheeler and Chris Kreider are now on four-game point scoring streaks

The Rangers are back in action on Friday night as they travel south to take on the Florida Panthers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM ET at Amerant Bank Arena.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh