The New York Rangers were five seconds away from making it two wins in a row against the league's best, but instead, they were defeated 4-3 by the Washington Capitals in overtime. The Rangers were able to score three consecutive goals in the third period to take a 3-2 lead, but a late tying goal by Nicklas Backstrom erased all of the excitement. From there, it took Alex Ovechkin just 1:25 into overtime to give the Capitals their third straight victory.
Despite the unfortunate outcome, the Rangers should be pretty pleased with how they played, and it's clear they are starting to break out of their slump. Their possession numbers are getting better, players are breaking out of their scoring slumps, and overall, they are just playing much better hockey. It sucks they lost the way they did today, but moving forward, these type of games will be good for the group.
If you were watching early on this game, it started to get pretty ugly for the Rangers late in the first period, and then continued early in the second period. Alex Ovechkin wound up giving the Capitals their first lead of the game at the 19:45 mark of the first period, after Dan Girardi gift wrapped the puck. Girardi's failed clearing attempt landed right on the tape of Ovechkin in front, and with a wide open net, Ovechkin didn't miss.
The Capitals continued to haunt the Rangers early in the second period, and Justin Williams extended the lead to two after converting on a breakaway. Dan Girardi, once again, failed to read the play and was caught up ice when Nate Schmidt hit Williams with a breakout pass. Williams had a breakaway from blue line in and just barely tucked the puck past Lundqvist to make it a 2-0 game.
The strong play of Brayden Holtby was obviously frustrating the Rangers up until this point, and finally in the third period, they opened the flood gates. Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, and Viktor Stalberg all scored in succession over a seven minute span, and suddenly, the Rangers held a 3-2 lead. The third period surge got the crowd back into the game, and it appeared as if the Rangers were on their way to closing this one out. However, after a missed 2-on-1 opportunity by Ryan McDonagh, the Capitals began their push back and eventually tied the game.
Nicklas Backstrom sent this game to overtime after he was left all alone at the top of the crease, and slammed home a rebound with 5 seconds remaining in regulation. As if that wasn't frustrating enough, the Rangers came within inches of clinching the game in overtime, but Derek Stepan was robbed by Brayden Holtby. Then on the ensuing rush, Alex Ovechkin bull-rushed his way down the ice, and slipped the puck between the legs of Lundqvist to seal the deal for the Capitals.
By taking 3 out of 4 possible points against two of the league leading teams, the Rangers can feel pretty confident moving forward. The Rangers will have a day to rest up and prepare for a battle with the Boston Bruins on Monday night.