The New York Rangers looked to start the new season off the right foot in DC. They played hard out of the gate coming at the Washington Capitals in waves. Despite some great early chances, Vitek Vanecek stood tall in net for the Caps.
Eventually, penalty troubles and an ineffective PK did the Blueshirts in.
Recap: Capitals 5 vs Rangers 1
The first period saw a charged up Rangers team play with speed and energy. Sammy Blais made his presence felt early with several hard hits, one that resulted in a power play for the Blueshirts 1:52 into the game.
New York’s power play went to work and looked real good. The first unit led by Adam Fox moved the puck well. They were followed by the kids on the second unit with Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko buzzing all over the ice. Unfortunately, Vitek Vanecek was big in the opening stanza making a total of 13 saves by the time it was over.
At the 7:31 mark, Patrik Nemeth was off for a slash. TJ Oshie would find a loose puck behind Alexandar Georgiev to give the Caps the 1-0 lead. They would score again, but the goal was waived off for being offside.
The Rangers took a late penalty at the end of the first, which let the Caps open on the PP. New York successfully killed it off and went right back to work. Despite controlling the play, the Rangers did not generate many high danger chances. At the 9:52 mark of the second, Jacob Trouba made a goal saving defensive play as he dove to stop a cross ice feed for a tip in.
Then the wheels fell off the bus. Washington started to come on and drew a PP when Lafrenière tripped Garnet Hathaway at 11:29. Justin Schultz took advantage and scored to give the Caps a 2-0 lead.
Then just 24 seconds later, the Rangers lost coverage and Oshie came in with Hendrix Lapierre 2 on 1. The 19 year-old kid buried it over Georgiev for his first NHL goal and just like that, the Blueshirts were in a 3-0 hole.
Both teams would exchange power play chances to end the middle stanza but no score change.
The Caps power play came through again early in the third when Alex Ovechkin found a loose puck to whip it past Georgiev for a 4-0 lead. That was Washington’s third PPG of the night on five chances.
Chris Kreider would break the shutout with a Blueshirts’ PPG of their own. At the 9:13 mark, he deflected a Ryan Strome feed to make it 4-1. Adam Fox would pick up the other assist.
Any thought of a comeback was short-lived when Ovechkin scored his second of the night shorthanded to restore the four goal margin. For Ovi, he surpassed Marcel Dionne for 5th all-time with career goal 732.
The truth is, the Rangers lost this game within 24 seconds of the second period. Once the Capitals took a 3-0 lead that quickly the Blueshirts looked dejected. From that point on Washington outplayed and outshot New York en route to an easy 5-1 win.
What remains are the questions. Why start your backup? Why play Jarred Tinordi over Nils Lundkvist if you had no intention to make a run at Tom Wilson? These are questions Gallant will be asked but don’t expect any firm answers.
- Rangers outhit the Caps 27-12
- Rangers were 61% in the face-off circles
- Jacob Trouba played a strong and tough game
- Sammy Blais was very physical but his rough play found him in the penalty box too often
- NYR special teams looked slow and out of sync giving up 3 power play goals and 1 shorthanded
Next Game: Thursday, Oct. 14 vs. Dallas Stars (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG)
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