Rangers respond! Clutch goaltending and timely scoring even the series (NYR 3 v WSH 2)
The Rangers would not relent nor be satisfied with the early lead either. They kept coming, wave after wave on the Caps. Washington was just hanging on and took some penalties trying to slow down the Rangers.
First it was Karl Alzner interfering on Rick Nash, which allowed the Rangers power play to warm up. Then late in the first period, Ward hooked Carl Hagelin, and this time the Rangers PP was money as Dan Boyle blasted one by Braden Holtby with Nash screening in front. Still, this is the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Caps weren’t going to roll over.
In the second period, the roles were reversed and the Caps applied the pressure. This time it was Henrik Lundqvist stealing the show. His save off of Evgeny Kuznetsov is so far his best this post season. Alex Ovechkin using his speed drew the Rangers defense to him and hit Kuznetsov alone in front. The kid came in, paused and went up top only to have a flying Lundqvist perform an acrobatic jaw-dropping stop.
GIF Lundqvist save on Kuznetsov pic.twitter.com/h1DOSQu3li
— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) May 2, 2015
Kuznetsov would get another opportunity and cash in later in the period. This set up another gut wrenching finale at Madison Square Garden.
Derick Brassard would take the Rangers 1st and only penalty of the game in the third period. It was a bad one to take as he interfered on Ovechkin who was coming out of the zone without the puck. The Rangers killed the penalty and it was Brassard fresh out of the box that slipped one under Holtby to give the Blueshirts a 2 goal cushion again.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the Rangers if they didn’t make fans blood pressure and heart rates rise. Alex Ovechkin scored one of the greatest goals of this postseason when he powered past both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. Then on his knees he roofed it past Lundqvist. Breathtaking.
Then for 9:31 seconds, the Rangers would bend but not break as they survived the Caps onslaught. Another step in the right direction as they head to Washington with the series knotted at one. Clutch saves and timely goals aside, the Rangers won this game because they improved in the “kill zone” as well.
The Rangers got 22 attempts in the “kill zone” this game, up from 16 in game 1. More importantly, they got 13 shots through and two were for goals. The Boyle goal from the point was caused by Nash’s screen in front, thus all three were really a byproduct of play in this key area of the ice. The Rangers only got 6 shots through in game 1, a huge improvement indeed.
After the game Boyle called it an “exciting finish” and one “too close for our liking.” Henrik Lundqvist who admitted that he was “annoyed” with how game one ended talked about the strong start and how it helped them win the game.
The Rangers will look to keep the momentum going heading into Washington for game 2 in Washington.
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