Rangers let down coach Peter Laviolette in his return to Washington, lose 4-0

NHL: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are now 5-1-0 following a defeat after suffering consecutive losses for the first time this season.

It was a dud from the drop of the puck to the bitter end, as the Capitals scored in the first minute of play and never looked back. Head coach Peter Laviolette had his homecoming spoiled after being dismissed by Washington in April.

“It was not good from the start to the finish,” an upset Laviolette remarked. “No need to dissect it publicly… We need to be sharper with our intent.”

Related: Peter Laviolette talks about coaching Rangers

Washington Capitals 4 vs New York Rangers 0

NHL: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers hadn’t played a game in three days and looked rusty at the start. In the opening minute, they were left scrambling in their own zone trying to get the puck out of the zone. Unfortunately, Sonny Milano converted a cross-ice feed from Martin Fehervary just 43 seconds into the match. It was the fourth consecutive contest where they had given up the first goal.

I don’t think we played our game,” Vincent Trocheck lamented. “We didn’t play with enough grit and attitude to come out with a win.”

Throughout the entire first period, the Rangers were playing catch up to a hungrier Caps team. If not for Igor Shesterkin’s strong goaltending, including a huge stop on Alex Ovechkin breaking in all alone, the Blueshirts would’ve entered the middle stanza in a deeper hole.

A late first period holding penalty by Jonny Brodzinski put the Capitals on the power play to start the second frame. While the Rangers killed it off officially, Anthony Mantha was able to tip a shot two seconds after the penalty expired.

It didn’t get any better from there, as Rangers’ nemesis Tom Wilson beat Shesterkin on an odd-man rush, something coach Peter Laviolette worked to clean up at practice. He’ll have to go back to the drawing board to improve in that area next time they find themselves at the MSG Training Center.

Washington kept pouring it on with Nicolas Aube-Kubel beating Shesterkin uncharacteristically clean from just inside the blue-line to make it 4-0 at the 11:52 mark. Since coming back from an undisclosed injury in late November, he’s been maddeningly inconsistent and doesn’t appear to be set on many shots. By the time the middle frame was over, he gave up 3 goals on just 7 shots.

A fairly dejected Rangers squad, who were slumped on their bench after the second period, tried to start the final 20 minutes of regulation on the right foot.

Alas, it was not meant to be as Charlie Lindgren (31 saves) would blank his brother Ryan and the Rangers with relative ease.

This wasn’t good and we’ve got a chance tomorrow to redeem ourselves,” Mika Zibanejad stated as the team heads home to face a red-hot Los Angeles Kings team.

Rangers Notes

  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 25 of 29 shots
  • Adam Fox played in his 300th NHL game

The Blueshirts are right back at it on Sunday as they host the Los Angeles Kings with a 7:00 p.m. ET puck drop.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore