New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals: Live Score, Updates and Analysis
The Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series on Thursday night at the Verizon Center.
The first period saw Carl Hagelin bank a wrap-around shot off of John Erskine's skate and into the Washington net to make it 1-0 for New York.
In the second period, Alex Ovechkin picked up some loose change at the side of the net on the power play and the Capitals finally got a power-play goal on their fourth try of the night.
Later in the second period, Marcus Johansson made no mistake in beating Lundqvist after receiving an incredible tape-to-tape stretch pass from Steve Oleksy to make it 2-1 Capitals. Just 46 seconds after the Oleksy goal, Jason Chimera threw the puck at the net and the shot found a way past Lundqvist to put the Caps up 3-1.
That 46-second span proved to be all the Capitals needed, as they kept the Rangers' scoring chances to a minimum after that point.
Braden Holtby made 35 saves on 36 shots and proved invaluable to his team's win, despite giving up the first goal of the game.
Final score: Washington Capitals 3, New York Rangers 1.
Although special teams only accounted for one of the four goals scored in this game, the Washington Capitals ability to shutdown the Rangers on all four of their power plays (while capitalizing on one of the Caps' five man advantages) proved vital to the final score in this one.
Alex Ovechkin set the tone for his team early on, with four shots and three hits in the first period. Ovechkin finished with five shots (his fifth shot was the power-play goal in the second period that got the Caps off and running) and four hits with two blocked shots (per NHL.com).
And that's it, Capitals take this one 3-1 final score.
More analysis and postgame reaction to follow.
John Moore's no-goal call would have been a huge break for the Rangers who really haven't had anything go there way in terms of plays on the ice since the Carl Hagelin goal in the first period.
Unfortunately there just wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call on the ice which was no goal.
Empty net for the Rangers now as they try and get some pressure and get closer.
Holtby covers a shot from John Moore with 4:03 to go in regulation.
Looked like it could have gone in the net, but the replay showed that the puck was never visible going into the net, despite Holtby's rear being half-way into the net as well.
Still 3-1 Capitals.
Just five minutes and change to go in this one, Rangers can't get to the net and weren't able to bury the last scoring chance, a shot off the crossbar that stayed out.
Still 3-1 Capitals.
The big theme of this game is the lack of offense by Brad Richards and Rick Nash.
Nash looks completely lost on the ice, and that last shift was clear evidence of that. Meanwhile, Richards (without the puck) found himself buried into the ice on a hit by Mike Green.
The two haven't been engaged offensively in any meaningful way. Richards has just one shot, Nash has five, but when Carl Hagelin is the best player on the ice for the Rangers, it is safe to say that the game isn't going the way they want it to go to this point.
Michael Del Zotto takes a slashing minor penalty here, but that could have gone for a penalty shot as Eric Fehr was in on a breakaway.
Capitals with four huge chances in the first half minute of their power play, but all are either stopped or get glass.
Third period underway now, let's see if it bodes any better for the Rangers. They will need to capitalize on their power plays (if they get any more) as well as get in on the fore-check and start forcing the issue.
The problem with the Rangers in that second period is that they collectively took their foot off of the gas for just four or five minutes in two different stretches of time.
In that time, they gave up the power-play goal to Ovechkin, which tied the game at 1-1. Then they lost momentum after the failed 5-on-3 man advantage. The other stretch of time came during that power play.
During that man advantage, the Rangers lost control of their "destiny" in this game. They gave control of the game back to the Capitals because they got off the fore-check for a single shift.
Five players in the slow-mo picture of the stretch pass were in the neutral zone for the Rangers, so Oleksy had all kinds of time to make that stretch pass that turned into a goal for Johansson.
Rangers came on towards the end of the second period, but the period will end without any further scoring or penalties.
Rangers hold a 24-23 advantage in shots on goal after two periods, but the Rangers gave up the momentum after they failed to capitalize on the 5-on-3 man-advantage that they had.
The Capitals would use the momentum that they gained from the crowd after killing that two-man disadvantage to their own benefit as they got some instant offense on that stretch pass by Steve Oleksy to Marcus Johansson. Chimera's shot wasn't pretty and probably should have been saved, but hindsight is useless at this point for Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers need some offense. Instant offense to be exact.
Putting up 16 shots in a period only helps a team if they capitalize when they can and bury their chances.
Carl Hagelin had a chance for a short-handed goal, but he was stoned by Holtby. That set the tone for the rest of the period as Alex Ovechkin would score on the power play following.
The Capitals took that momentum from the penalty kill on the 5-on-3 goal and turned it into one goal, which promptly turned into another goal.
Amazing how momentum turns so quickly in a playoff game.
Steve Oleksy barely misses "pulling an Eric Staal" as he gets hit in the face with a puck, but gets up and skates off the ice.
Jason Chimera scores on a bad goal from the half boards at the top of the circle. Chimera registers his first goal of the playoffs just 46 second after Johansson scored.
Rangers to the power play.
Capitals' Steve Oleksy channels his best "Brian Rafalski" with his stretch pass to Marcus Johansson who buries it on the breakaway.
What a pass by Oleksy!
Huge momentum boost for the Capitals as they kill off the 5-on-3 advantage and get a standing ovation from the crowd. Let's see if they can take advantage of it.
Rangers have taken a lead in the shots at 23-21.
Holtby has been very focused in this period.
Eric Fehr took an interference penalty for absolutely leveling his man in front of the net on that mad scramble.
The Capitals dig themselves a huge hole; let's see if they can climb out of it without any damage on the scoreboard.
Mad scramble in front of the Capitals net results in another penalty to the Capitals. This results in a 5-on-3 advantage.
Capitals and Rangers with a huge scrum in front of the net afterwards.
Back-to-back chances at both ends of the rink, play ends in a penalty to Martin Erat for boarding his man into the boards.
Rangers now, to the power play.
Arron Asham gets two minutes for charging Jack Hillen.
Ovechkin takes the puck and ties the game at 1-1 on the power play!
Ovechkin took the loose puck and shoveled it in the net on the power play and the Capitals' regular-season leading power play finally clicks.
Somebody better tell the Capitals that they've had the power play almost the entire period, but they have given up three quality shorthanded chances.
Head-scratcher right there for the NHL's top-ranked regular season power play.
Taylor Pyett goes off for two minutes or less for elbowing Steve Oleksy.
Capitals to the power play for two minutes or less.
Braden Holtby just stoned a Carl Hagelin shorthanded breakaway attempt.
Ice in the veins right there as Holtby kicked out Hagelin's bid for his second of the night.
Start of the period sees the Capitals go back to that unfinished power play, still looking to break the goose egg of Lundqvist's.
Ovechkin had four shots on goal to go along with three hits in that first period. Unfortunately, the icing call right before Carl Hagelin scored forced Jay Beagle to be on the ice instead of Ovechkin as Ovechkin could not change due to the icing.
Going forward, the Capitals' captain will need to continue to lead physically as he can take over games with his huge frame.
Henrik Lundqvist is the only reason the Rangers are in this game, but more importantly the reason that they have a lead. With 14 saves on 14 shots, including 10 in the first half of the period, Lundqvist is proving why he is a playoff performer.
Rangers with seven straight shots on goal there. Washington Capitals lead the shots' battle 13-8.
Caps are going back to the power play with under a minute to go in the period as Ryan McDonagh goes off for holding Alex Ovechkin on an odd-man rush.
Capitals will have carry-over power-play time going into the second period as they don't score before the end of the period.
1-0 Rangers at the intermission.
Carl Hagelin makes it 1-0 Rangers!
Hagelin took a wrap-around shot and put it off of John Erskine's skate and into the goal.
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