Rangers Fall To The Defending Champs In OT

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Less than 24 hours after the Rangers got their second win of the season over the Colorado Avalanche, the Rangers got a hard-earned point against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Washington Capitals.

Mika Zibanejad – The Rangers drew first blood against Braden Holtby and the Capitals on a goal from the team’s number one center. After a burst of speed up the ice by defenseman Neal Pionk, Zibanejad followed up the initial chance from Chris Kreider and put the puck into the back of the net. Zibanejad’s goal was his second of the season, and he had a solid night overall, which included the Swede winning 57% of his faceoffs.


Special Teams – The Rangers special teams in this one had its good moments and it’s not so good moments. The Blueshirts were 2/4 against the Capitals while on the man-advantage, getting goals from Jimmy Vesey and Chris Kreider. And as nice as that is, the problem was that the Rangers PK was also 2/4, giving up two goals to Alex Ovechkin from the half-wall known as “Ovi’s Office.” The PK had a few turnovers in their own zone which is something that can’t happen going forward, regardless of how good the opponent’s powerplay may be. With the Rangers not playing again until the weekend, hopefully, we will see David Quinn and his coaching staff address the penalty kill in practice.


Neal Pionk – The most impactful skater for the Rangers in this one was defenseman Neal Pionk, who recorded an assist on all three Rangers goals. Pionk had been scratched the matchups against both the Sharks and Oilers and showed what he can bring to this team against one of the best offensive teams in the NHL. Aside from his offensive performance against Washington, Pionk also had four blocked shots. It would appear as though Pionk has learned from his time in the press box.

Henrik Lundqvist – After a very good performance against the Avalanche, Lundqvist followed it up with another solid game against the Capitals. The three Capitals goals in regulation came on slap shots where Henrik was either screened, or the team was shorthanded. And as you can see below, Brady Skjei eclipsed Lundqvist on the first Capitals goal from John Carlson.

The overtime winner from Matt Niskanen came as a result of poor communication by the three Rangers in front of Lundqvist that left the Washington defenseman all alone in front of the goal for the rebound of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s shot. Henrik has gotten off to a very good start this season, with a 2.31 GAA and a .930 SV% after the first two weeks of the season. 

Next Game: The Rangers will look to get back in the win column on Sunday when they face the Calgary Flames at The Garden. Puck drops at 7!


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