New York Rangers bounce Capitals 4-1, first line dominates

The New York Rangers took on the Washington Capitals in a revenge matchup for their season-opening loss. While ESPN focused on the Tom Wilson Incident from last season, the Blueshirts put their sights on two points.

In a complete 60 minute effort, the Rangers set aside their even strength scoring woes to beat Washington. The first line dominated and gave the team a six point cushion over the Caps. They also jumped over the Penguins in the standings to take second in the Metro.

Recap: Rangers 4 vs Capitals 1

In the first period, the two sides played excellent hockey two-way hockey. New York did a solid job of keeping Washington’s shots from outside the slot. Igor Shesterkin was also up to the task stopping all 11 shots faced, including a great save on Conor Sheary from in tight.

At the other end, Ilya Samsonov was good in goal saving 6 of 7 Blueshirts’ shots. The one he couldn’t stop was really no fault of his own. With 7:03 remaining, Mika Zibanejad took an outlet pass from Zac Jones. He led Alexis Lafrenière into the zone, who then made a nifty drop pass that Zibanejad blasted at 100 mph on ESPN’s shot clock for a 1-0 lead.

Alexis Lafrenière gets it done

RANGERS CAPITALS
Feb 24, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates his goal with teammates against Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (30) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals started the second on the power play after Ryan Strome took a tripping call to end the first period. Shesterkin made a huge pad stop on Alex Ovechkin at the doorstep to keep the Rangers in front.

Both teams played a tough and strong defensive period but it was the Blueshirts that found a way to get a huge goal late in the period.

Once again, it was the first that posted the marker with Lafrenière tipping a Ryan Lindgren shot to increase the lead to 2-0 with just 72 seconds left. For Alexis, it was his third goal in the last six games to bring his season total to 11.

Rangers complete 60 minute effort

Just like the opening frame, Strome took another tripping call at the end of the period to put the Caps on the PP. And similar to the last period, the Rangers killed it and found a way to get another big goal.

Chris Kreider broke his three-game slump 6:57 into the third period by putting home a rebound of an Adam Fox shot for his 34th of the year. Zibanejad picked up the other helper to give him a 3 points on the night.

The Rangers fourth line was also impressive and helped put the nail in the Cap’s coffin. Ryan Reaves, who finished the night with 5 hits caused a turnover and got the puck to Kevin Rooney. Barclay Goodrow broke in 2 on 1 and converted the feed to make 4-0.

All that remained was trying to get Shesterkin the shutout, but Ovechkin spoiled it with a redirection in front with 62 seconds left in the game. He finished with 36 saves on 37 shots to earn his 25th win of the season.

In the end, for all the hoopla by ESPN talking about the what happened last season with Wilson and the Rangers, he was a no-show. Thanks to Ryan Reaves’ mere presence, Wilson not only finished the night pointless but registered a -2 rating without a single hit.

Notable Rangers

  • Igor Shesterkin is now 13-0-0 when facing 37 or more shots
  • Alexis Lafrenière registered his third multipoint game of the season
  • Mika Zibanejad scored his 20th goal, he has 22 points in his last 17 games
  • All four goals by the NYR came at even strength

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