After a slow start to this game, the New York Rangers turned it around shortly after, and defeated the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-1. Martin Biron got the start for the Rangers today, and although he let in a softie, he rebounded with some huge save to keep the Rangers up in this game.
If you watched the first five minutes of this game, you'd think the Rangers were a team who just lost to the Ottawa Senators just 24 hours ago. The Washington Capitals jumped out to the early lead as Steven Oleksy came away with his first career NHL goal. Ryan McDonagh and Joel Ward were tangled up in front of the net, but Martin Biron basically whiffed and just like that it was 1-0 Capitals.
The Rangers turned it around after the Capitals took the early lead, and the finally began to expose the tired legs of the Washington Capitals. Just over the halfway point of the first period, Derek Stepan knotted this game up at one as he banked the puck off the back leg of Brayden Holtby. However, this play all originates from Alexander Ovechkin letting Stepan skate right through the middle, and holding up on his check. It wasn't a pretty goal, but hey, you take what you can get these days.
On to the second period we went, where the Rangers felt the presence by the Capitals once again. The Capitals came right out of the gate with some early chances, but Marty Biron was locked in since allowing the first goal. Biron has proven that he is a serviceable backup in the NHL, and he proved that once again this afternoon. At the halfway point of the second period, the Rangers really kicked it into gear and came away with two quick goals to widen their goal margin to two.
Brian Boyle picked up his first goal of the year as he ripped a slap shot through a screened Brayden Holtby and that made it 2-1 Rangers. Someone ripped the invisibility cloak right off of Boyle this game, as he was all over the ice this afternoon. John Tortorella did it again, and obviously lit a fire under Boyle for this game. Alex Ovechkin wound up taking two separate penalties right as the Rangers made it 2-1, which sent them to their second power play of the game.
Something that has been working very well of the Rangers as of late has been their power play. They had great puck movement on both of their chances tonight, and finally put one away on the second go around. Michael Del Zotto made a great feed over to Rick Nash on the right faceoff dot, and he wasted no time getting it on net. Although the goal was initially credited to Nash, they later changed the scoring to Ryan Callahan, who apparently got a piece of the puck as it made its way on net. Although Nash's goal streak ended at six games, he currently has eight goals, and eight assists throughout his last ten games. So yeah, that Nash guy is pretty damn good.
Nearing the end of the third period, the Rangers were faced with a huge task as they were called upon to kill off a late 5-on-3 power play. Marty Biron was the main reason why this game was 3-1 following the Capitals power play, as he denied numerous attempts at the top of his crease. Ryan Callahan did what Ryan Callahan does best and made a huge block while the Capitals were pushing, and the were able to escape the penalty kill unharmed.
The Rangers were dead set on locking down the game for the third period, and they did just that. They clogged up the neutral zone, and didn't allow the Capitals any clean looks entering into the Rangers zone. The Rangers were able to put the game away as Carl Hagelin's forced turnover at the blue line allowed Brad Richards to tap in an easy rebound to make it 4-1 with just under two minutes remaining.
With this win, the Rangers have won five of their last six games, and are starting to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference standings. The were able to move into second place in the Atlantic Division by passing the New Jersey Devils, and are only six points behind the division leading Pittsburgh Penguins. Next on the agenda is a re-match with the Buffalo Sabres on March 12th.