The New York Rangers came away with their eighth win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin provided the scoring tonight, one of which came on the power play....finally. Henrik Lundqvist wasn't tested a whole lot tonight, but stood his ground to preserve the win in the dying seconds.
It didn't take long for the Capitals to get on the board as John Carlson ripped home a slap shot from the high slot, and the Capitals were able to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. Following the goal, the Rangers really put it in gear, and upped their forecheck. They were able to gather quite the chances as they heavily out shot the Capitals 20-8 after 20 minutes of play. Even though it didn't necessarily reflect on the scoreboard, the Rangers controlled the pace for a majority of the first period.One key in the Rangers success tonight is that they stuck to their game plan. Even though the chances weren't going in, they were resilient in the offensive zone, and the goals eventually came.
A few minutes into the second period, there was a scary play as Darroll Powe was knocked unconscious on the ice after colliding with Matt Hendricks. Both players were looking the opposite way while curling back in the neutral zone, and they came together hard. The initial hit wasn't the scary part. Powe caught the hit awkwardly, and as he was falling he banged his head on the ice which seemingly knocked him out. Thankfully, Powe eventually regained his consciousness, and was able to skate off with help from teammates Derek Stepan and Arron Asham. Hopefully the outcome isn't as serious as it seems, but this has concussion written all over it.
Carl Hagelin would eventually convert just three minutes later on a beautiful deflection at the top of the blue paint. It was also a perfectly placed shot pass from Ryan McDonagh, who set it up from the blue line. Carl Hagelin also continues to be a force in the offensive zone for the Rangers, as he has now scored five goals in his last five games. Following the goal, the Rangers gained some serious momentum after they killed off two late power play chances by the Capitals.
Speaking of power plays, the Rangers got their chance at a power play early on in the third period, and they actually converted on it. After setting it up at the blue line, the Rangers made a sequence of nice passes to eventually setup a pretty tic-tac-toe one timer for Derek Stepan. As much as I have nagged on Michael Del Zotto being on the power play, he made me eat my words tonight with a sick cross ice pass to find Stepan on the back post. Oh, and you can't forget about the beautiful spin-o-rama play by Rick Nash to keep the puck in the zone, and get it to Richards. It's a very underrated play, and he's the main reason the puck stays in the zone, and the Rangers setup that play.
The third period was essentially the Ryan Callahan show, as the captain stepped up during a penalty kill with just over seven minutes remaining. Callahan also picked up two blocks in the final minute of play, when the Capitals had the extra attacker on the ice. Brian Boyle also had a very solid game tonight, as he was basically hitting everything that moved, and was strong on the puck. Obviously his three game vacation worked for the better.
The Rangers were able to hang on, and came away with points 16, and 17 on this young shortened season. The Montreal Canadiens will be in town on Tuesday, which will be another big test for the Rangers.