Rangers Vs. Capitals: Better, But Not Enough

Paul Bereswill

Notes from the Rangers shootout loss to the Capitals.

- In some ways, that was a really good game by the Rangers. They came out better, survived a 10-minute collapse in the second period and had tons of chances throughout the game. However, a reoccurring theme of this team has been leaving points on the table. They did that again Sunday night. It's going to become a major problem, especially at this point in the season.

- Michael Del Zotto was spectacular Sunday. Spectacular. His play on the Capitals 5-on-3 might have been the best defense he's ever played in his career. He was huge on the back end for the Rangers all night.

- Derek Stepan got a little lucky on that 5-on-3 goal that tied the game, but it doesn't matter. Stepan has been doing everything for the Rangers, and he logged big-time minutes again for the Rangers against the Capitals. He's just making things happen right now. The Rangers would be lost without him.

- Henrik Lundqvist was so good Sunday night, he really was. It's really unfortunate that he keeps getting losses when he's having such a great season. I feel bad for him right now, I really do. You can see how frustrated he was after the loss. He knows how badly the Rangers needed that point.

- This was another sort of quiet game from Rick Nash. He looked good at times, was physical in his own zone, but lost the puck a couple of times in the offensive zone. He had a chance on a breakaway -- thanks to a glorious pass from Del Zotto -- but couldn't bury it. Story of the season right now.

- I loved what I saw from Chris Kreider. He was much more active in both zones, used his speed to his advantage and got a couple of quality scoring chances. I hated him sitting on a line with Taylor Pyatt and Brian Boyle, but by the third period John Tortorella moved him up to the top line with Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Good, he should be seeing those kinds of minutes and opportunities.

- Marian Gaborik had some chances. He had a semi-breakaway with an opportunity to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead, but he couldn't lift the puck enough to put it home. I think - although I'm not sure - Tortorella demoted Gaborik to the third line after that missed opportunity. If so, I don't like that. Don't punish Gaborik for not finishing there, he was one of the few guys making things happen, keep giving him those chances.

- Really good game by Ryan McDonagh. He (along with Dan Girardi) was all over Alex Ovechkin all night. Had a few good hits and was his usual self in the defensive zone.

- Did you like seeing Richards kick off the fourth round in the shootout? Me neither.

- Hopefully the Rangers can build some confidence from this game, even though it's a loss. During their slumps this year, the Rangers would have lost this game once things went 2-0. There was a joke on twitter when Ovechkin scored that the Rangers wouldn't win because their offense would have to produce three goals. I don't think anyone expected the Rangers to come back. Then again, the joke was spot on, the Rangers offense was only good for two goals.

Thoughts?

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