New York Rangers: 5 Lessons from the Win Against the Capitals
Sunday’s game taught the Capitals that the way you finish a game is a lot more important than how you start it. Washington scored the first goal of the game just two minutes into the first period, but New York had the last word.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s game.
The Rangers Are Improving on the Road
The current Rangers hot streak started at the Garden, where the Blueshirts are 9-5-1 this season.
In contrast, the Rangers were 3-4-1 on the road heading into Sunday's game, but they are starting to come around.
The team has already won its two first road games in March after winning only two road games during the entire month of February.
While the Capitals are stuck down at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, it was not a guarantee that the Rangers would just walk over them.
This was a win that the Rangers could be proud of.
Martin Biron Shines in Henrik Lundqvistâ€™s Absence
Rangers coach John Tortorella opted to give Henrik Lundqvist a little breather and start Martin Biron instead.
Biron responded with some spectacular play and made 28 saves on 29 shots. That accounts for the highest save percentage he’s had so far this season.
The last time Brion was on the ice was on March 23 when the Rangers lost 0-3 to the Montreal Canadiens and his saving percentage amounted to just .833.
But that was all forgotten about on Sunday after a game that must have served as a tremendous confidence boost for the Rangers' backup goaltender.
The Rangers Had Superb Shot-Blocking
The Rangers had to go another game without Marc Staal, who is still suffering from an eye injury. However, the rest of the defense made up for Staal’s absence with solid shot-blocking.
Dan Girardi blocked a team-high five shots in the game, while Ryan McDonagh had three.
The Rangers also received a boost from their captain, Ryan Callahan, who also had three blocks in the game.
Alex Ovechkin remained a non-factor in the contest. He contributed no points and finished with a minus-three rating.
Brad Richards Keeps Showing Promise
After scoring just two goals in his first 20 games of the season, Brad Richards has scored a goal in each of his last two games.
He effectively ended the Capitals' chances to win Sunday’s game by scoring an insurance goal with less than two minutes left of the game.
The center had a rough February in which he went through the month with only seven points and a minus-five rating
Hopefully, Sunday’s game against the Capitals was part of an ongoing trend and not just a fluke.
Rick Nash Continues to Dominate
I saved the best for last.
Rick Nash has been on a roll lately, with seven points in his last four games, and he kept his points streak going with two assists against the Capitals.
Nash has not gone a game without a point since he returned from an injury at the end of February, and he’s become the centerpiece of the Rangers’ offense.
When Nash is on the ice, the Rangers’ record is 13-5-1. That shows you just how essential he is to the Blueshirts.