Rangers-Capitals: New York Wins 2-1, Leads Series against Washington 3-1

Martin AverySenior Writer IApril 23, 2009

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 15: Henrik Lundqvist #30 and Chris Drury #23 of the New York Rangers watch as the puck goes by to score a goal from the shot of Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers on February 15, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

In a game many called pivotal in the series between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 38 shots, and Rangers captain Chris Drury scored the game-winner to lead his team to a 2-1 win.

Ovechkin finally scored for the Capitals, but the Rangers now lead the first round NHL playoff series three games to one.

Ovechkin took a verbal jab at Sean Avery before the game, calling him a great player, remembering The Avery Rule from last year, and saying that after Avery punched John Erskine in the last game, it was a tough decision for Erskine not to kill him.

Any game that starts with a death threat can't end without a big fight. Avery played it smart for two period but took two penalties that looked bad in the third period. The Rangers killed both penalties.

The Rangers first line saw Ryan Callahan replace Nik Antropov, promoted to play with Scott Gomez and Sean Avery.  Branden Dubinsky, Markus Naslund, and Nik Zherdev formed the second line.

The Rangers got off to a fast, hard-hitting start, and out shot the Rangers for the first five minutes. Avery gave Callahan the Rangers first good scoring chance of the game and the first shot, on their first shift.

The Rangers had four good scoring chances before the Caps got their first shot on net.

The Capitals got the first penalty of the night when they got caught with too many men on the ice.

Avery got knocked down by Sergei Federov, pulling on his arm, but there was no penalty. He got hit by Viktor Kozlov a few minutes later, no penalty.

Naslund got an undeserved penalty for tripping halfway through the first penalty, and the Caps got called for holding shortly after.

Nik Zherdov just missed scoring his one hundredth NHL goal and on the face off that followed Dubinsky got the puck back to Paul Mara, and he blasted it into the net from the blueline. His shot hit a couple of skates belonging to the Caps and Simeon Varlamov had no chance.

Varlamov stopped 63 shots by the Rangers, since their goal at the start of game two, before they scored at the end of the first period in game four.

The first period ended with the Rangers out shooting the Caps 11 to 9, for a change, and out scoring them 1-0.

The Rangers made it 2-0 early in the second period when Varlamov had trouble with a soft shot by Chris Drury and gave him a rebound, which he banged into the net. The Rangers captain, playing with an undisclosed injury, could not put much on the shot, but it fooled Varlamov.

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Henrik Lundqvist was spectacular in the second period, facing a lot of shots, including four big ones on a power play. The Rangers called a time out after that sequence.
The second period ended 2-0, thanks to Lundqvist. The Caps out shot the Rangers 19 to 5 in that period.

Alex Ovechkin finally got his first goal of the series, beating Lundqvist with a wrist shot. He hit the post and the puck deflected in, just over two minutes into the third period. It was his 32nd shot in the series.

Avery hit Milan Jurcina hard and took a linesman down at the same time, halfway through the third penalty, and got called for roughing. The crowd chanted his name, showing they still believed in him.

Ovechkin hit the post on the power play, but the Rangers killed the penalty. Ovechkin's shot was the only one the Caps got through. At the end, the Caps took a penalty. Alex Semin got caught for tripping Avery.

During the Caps power play, Washington kept the puck in the Rangers end for the full two minutes but only got one shot. Ovechkin missed the net on a shot and broke the glass behind Lundqvist.

In the last three minutes of the game, Avery took another penalty, for high sticking this time, in front of the Caps net. The Caps got just one shot on the power play.

The Caps pulled the goalie and there was a bit of a brawl but no penalties. Washington called a time out with fifty seconds left.

Next game in the series: Friday night in Washington.