No Marc Staal, no problem. At least for tonight.
It was the second time this season the Rangers shutout the Caps, having blown them out 7-0 back in December at Madison Square Garden.
In the first period, the Rangers killed off two penalties and got goals from unlikely sources Steve Eminger and Erik Christensen. For Christensen it was just his sixth of the season, and first (in regulation) since December 15th.
Christensen then added a power play goal early in the second to put the Rangers up by three. Derek Stepan also added a power play goal later in the period, giving the Rangers had a 4-0 lead, and the cowbells, air horns, tubas, vuvuzelas, whoopee cushions, and everything else at the Verizon Center that makes an annoying noise (except for Joe Beninati) was silenced.
Stepan will probably face disciplinary action after an elbow or shoulder (hard to tell) to the head of Mike Green, which put Green out for the remainder of the game. The hit came after Green cross-checked Steps head first into the boards, but still, a bad play by Stepan that will probably cost him a game or two.
Vinny Prospal kept the goal parade going with a goal in the third. Brian Boyle completed the scoresheet by adding his twentieth of the season in the game's last minute. Christensen assisted on both third period goals, giving him a four point night, the first of his career.
Ryan McDonagh had a strong game on the first line filling in for the injured Marc Staal. He did take a penalty in the first when he pushed down Alex Ovechkin, but was solid all game, and along with Michael Sauer was terrific on the penalty kill. McDonagh just gets better every night.
For Lundqvist it was his eighth shutout of the season, and the third time this year he's had to stop more thirty five or more shots to do it. Michal Neuvirth was left to suffer the whole game for the Caps, and suffer he did, with just twenty two saves on twenty eight shots.
Rangers penalty kill as a whole was terrific tonight, going a perfect five for five when down a man.
Nothing but love baby. Now go home, get some rest, and go beat Tampa on Sunday afternoon.