The New York Rangers weren't able to get the job done this afternoon, and were defeated 5-2 by the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. This was certainly a frustrating loss, mainly because the Rangers were clearly the better team through 40 minutes. The third period was certainly a period to forget, and the Capitals were able to take advantage of a lifeless Rangers team to come away with the victory.
As quick of a start as the Rangers had in this game, the Capitals were able to take an early 1-0 lead just 4:32 into regulation. Alex Ovechkin was able to fight off Jesper Fast along the boards as he entered the zone, and then abused Dan Girardi in the high slot as he stepped up to make a play. Ovechkin capped off his dominating shift with a wicked wrist shot through Girardi's legs, and slipped the puck just under Cam Talbot's arm.
The Rangers wound up responded very well following the goal, and continued to pressure the Capitals in the offensive zone. Kevin Hayes had two golden opportunities, but Braden Holtby was able to get apiece of both chances to keep the Rangers scoreless. However, the third time was clearly the charm as Hayes finally converted with just under two minutes remaining in the first period.
John Carlson wound up flubbing his outlet pass just above the crease, which left the puck sitting all alone for the taking. Hayes was able to collect the loose puck, and embarrassed Hotlby with an unreal one handed move to pull the Rangers even at one. Hayes was knocking on the door all period long, and sure enough, a few minutes later he was able to convert.
About a minute after the tying goal, the Rangers would eventually add another goal, and this time coming from Derick Brassard. Brassard started it all off with a huge defensive play at his own blue line, and quickly transitioned the puck up to Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello was able to buy himself some time, and quickly tapped the puck over to Brassard who made himself available to rip a shot. Sure enough, Brassard absolutely bombed one past Holtby, and the Rangers grabbed their first lead of the afternoon.
However, that lead would only last them until the midway mark of the second period, as Alex Ovechkin banged home his second goal of the afternoon. The goal wound up coming on the power play, and it took an unfortunate bounce in front to knot this game back up. Ovechkin's point shot wound up deflecting off of Dan Boyle's foot at the top of the crease, and directed the puck between Talbot's legs.
After closing out the period with the score tied, the Rangers pretty much mailed it in during the third period. An abundance of turnovers wound up costing the Rangers, and the Capitals pretty much cruised their way to victory off of the Rangers mistakes. The Capitals started off the their third period surge with an early goal coming from Jason Chimera, after a brutal turnover by Keith Yandle.
Chimera wound up chipping in his second goal of the game just a few minutes later, as he slipped in behind the Rangers defense, and tapped the puck past Talbot. After the Rangers had a very good first 40 minutes, the final 20 killed them, and cost them the two points that they probably could have grabbed. Marcus Johansson closed out the scoring with an empty net goal, and sent the Capitals on their way to a huge 5-2 victory.
For the Rangers, this was about as bad as it could have gone this weekend, and the best they can do is erase these games from memory as quickly as possible. They certainly haven't been playing their best hockey, and while that is concerning, this still is a very good team when they're on their game. They will have a chance to redeem themselves with Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets.