The New York Rangers were absolutely outclassed in every area of the game tonight and were defeated 7-3 by the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. After a strong finish to the first period, it appeared as if the Rangers finally had their game back in order, but it quickly unraveled in the final 40 minutes. The Capitals put up six unanswered goals throughout the second and third periods, and absolutely destroyed the Rangers in their own end.
It was much of the same for the Rangers, combined with questionable decisions by Alain Vigneault. He still refuses to play Keith Yandle in an increased role on the power play, and as a result, it came back to haunt the Rangers once again. Except, this time it wasn't necessarily on the power play, it wound up hurting them on the penalty kill. With Ryan McDonagh soaking up a lot of those minutes, he wasn't able to recover in time for the penalty kill.
As a result, the Rangers were forced to use Chris Summers on the penalty kill, with one of the most explosive goal scorers on the ice. That went as expected, with the Capitals scoring back-to-back power play goals late in the second period. These type of decisions, coupled with Tanner Glass being promoted to the third line, and we've officially reached the boiling point.
In case you missed the first period, the Rangers actually looked like a functional hockey team and responded with three straight goals after going down 1-0. J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider and Dan Boyle all scored for the Rangers in the second half of the period, and gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. From that point on, though, it was all down hill from there. The Capitals came back in the second period and scored four goals, two of which were on the power play, and made this a 4-2 game heading into the third period.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin and Justin Williams were the goal scorers in the second period, and had quite the task ahead of them in the third period. However, Alain Vigneault elected to yank Henrik Lundqvist between periods, and gave Magnus Hellberg his Rangers debut in the third period. Unfortunately, the Rangers didn't give him much help during the final 20 minutes, and left him out to dry on the first two shots.
Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson each scored about two minutes apart, and gave the Capitals a 7-3 lead in the third period. The horn eventually sounded after the third period, and finally stopped the bleeding for the Rangers. The Rangers are in some serious trouble right now, and unless something changes in the near future, they are in for a quite a rocky ride.
The Rangers will have another opportunity to figure it out as they welcome in the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday evening.