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Capitals Sizzle Blueshirts’ Chance To Win

It was not from a lack of effort and resiliency that the New York Rangers fell short to the Washington Capitals Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers came back from a 2-0 deficit within the first period alone. The play turned around quickly from there, as the Blueshirts gained back the momentum. Regulation time ended and the five minutes of over time proved scoreless. The Rangers had a few solid chances during the over time, but the game went to a shoot out. Both the Rangers and the Capitals went 1 for 3 in the shootout, Alexander Ovechkin having what could have been the game winner. However, Derek Stepan had a beautiful backhand deke move to sneak past the Capital goaltender, Braden Holtby, and extend the shoot out to four shooters. Brad Richards took the Ranger’s fourth shot, but failed to score. Nicklas Backstrom lifted the puck past his fellow country man to seal the deal and come away with 2 points.

Within the first 8 minutes of the game, the Capitals took the lead. The first goal came off the power play, a skill set of the Capitals, considering they are first in the league on the power play. The Rangers won the puck back, and the defensemen sent the puck around the perimeter trying to get the puck to the left wing, off the half wall, and out. The Capitals’ defensemen kept the puck in and gave it to the low right wing. From there, the winger fired the puck to the left point where the Capital’s weapon, Alexander Ovechkin sought to do some damage. Ovechkin winded up, fired, and  the puck deflected. Nicklas Backstrom waiting for the rebound, capitalized on the deflection and tallied the first goal of the game.

The second goal came at 9:45 in the first. The play came off a Rangers’ offensive rush that became disrupted as the Blueshirt captain, Ryan Callahan, was unable to get to a pass from Derek Stepan. Backstrom picked up the puck to head back the other way. Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Johansson headed into the Ranger zone. Backstrom, controlling the puck, dropped it off for the Capital’s defenseman, Steve Olesky. Olesky took the shot, and Ovechkin got a piece of it and the puck went off the post and past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 2-0 Washington.

Capitals celebrate and come away with the win at Madison Square Garden
Capitals celebrate and come away with the win at Madison Square Garden.
(Paul Bereswill)

The first 10 minutes seemed to not be going the way the Rangers intended in terms of getting the Capitals on their heels from the first few shifts. The fourth line showed some resiliency and determination that got the Rangers back in the game. Kris Newbury, who replaced J.T. Miller in Sunday night’s game, picked off the puck in the defensive zone. Arron Asham, who also returned to the Blueshirt lineup after missing 15 games, picked up the puck along the boards and headed in on a 2-on-1 with Kris Newbury. Asham held the puck for a quick snap shot that snuck past Braden Holtby’s right shoulder. The lead was cut to 1.

51 seconds later, coming on the power play, Derek Stepan won the puck back to Marian Gaborik on the right point. Gaborik passed the puck over to Brad Richards at the left point who sent it down low to Derek Stepan. Stepan rifled the puck low and the puck went off Holtby and into the net. The Rangers tied the game just like that with 1:57 left in the first period.

“It was very important for us,” Asham said of his second goal of the season. “It seemed to get the bench going and started to get the team rolling. They took a couple of penalties on us and our power play got us back in it. It’s just too bad we couldn’t finish it off.” (NHL.com)

The Rangers had a key chance to take the lead in the second period, as Marian Gaborik had a breakaway chance that sizzled as Holtby came up with the save. Holtby, with a stellar performance for the night, made five saves in the five minute over time, and saved 3 of the four shots in the shoot out. The Capitals were outshot 27-10, but with Holtby’s performance and Backstrom’s game clinching goal in the shoot out, Washington snuck out with the win.

Capitals Sizzle Blueshirts' Chance To Win
Nicklas Backstrom scores in the shootout Sunday night.
(Paul Bereswill/Getty)

“This time of year, you have to just move on,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. “You take the point. Obviously we wanted to two tonight, but we’re right back at it against Philly in two days. We played well enough to get the two points, but we just didn’t get it in the shootout.” (NHL.com)

The Rangers look to the road trip ahead as a chance to start to generate some more offense and get a win streak going on the road. Their first matchup is against the Philadelphia Flyers this coming Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 PM ET.


Kaitlin Sullivan

Kaitlin Sullivan

Massachusetts native, and avid hockey fanatic, I grew up in a "hockey family" and began spending countless hours in frigid hockey rinks beginning at age 2. I eat, sleep, breathe, and love every aspect of the game and I have always known that hockey was my passion. Unfortunately being a 5'5" female, however, would not grant me a place in the show. The next best thing would be writing and hopefully someday becoming a rink-side NHL reporter. My past reporting experience includes work with ESPNU Campus Connection, WHDH Channel 7 Boston, and Madison Square Garden Network. I am currently a sports broadcasting major at Boston College. Twitter: @kaitEsull
Kaitlin Sullivan

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