Following a tough road trip through Florida, the New York Rangers responded in a big way this evening as they took down the division leading Washington Capitals. Pavel Buchnevich, Artemiy Panarin and Kaapo Kakko each registered a pair of points and helped propel the Rangers past a very good Capitals team. Henrik Lundqvist finally picked up his 454th career win tonight as well, which now times him with Curtis Joseph for fifth all-time in career wins by a goaltender.
Artemiy Panarin (10) PPG - Kaapo Kakko (3) & Adam Fox (6) - 1:14 2nd Period
Following a scoreless first period, the Rangers finally broke through early in the second period as Artemiy Panarin sniped home his 10th goal of the season. Kaapo Kakko made an excellent cross-ice feed just prior to the goal, and gave Panarin plenty of space to walk into the high slot. Panarin took his time, froze Braden Holtby and beat the goaltender just under the arm to give New York the 1-0 lead.
Artemiy Panarin (11) PPG - Kaapo Kakko (4) & Ryan Strome (13) - 3:57 3rd Period
Artemiy Panarin clearly wasn’t satisfied with just a single goal and added his second of the night with yet another power play marker. Kaapo Kakko setup the chance again with a great spinning power move to the front of the net, and opened up lane for Panarin to slide down from his point spot. Kakko caught a bit of a break with the puck sliding right over to Panarin after he lost the puck, but it was still a great move nonetheless.
Pavel Buchnevich (3) - Filip Chytil (2) & Brendan Lemieux (6) - 4:20 3rd Period
Right off of the ensuing faceoff, the Rangers regrouped in their own end and burned the Capitals with an incredible passing play between Filip Chytil and Pavel Buchnevich. Chytil and Buchnevich connected on a great little give-and-go through the high slot, and Chytil finished off the play with one final pass back to Buchnevich on the far post.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (10) PPG - John Carlson (28) - 7:24 3rd Period
After an entertaining few moments for the Rangers, Washington put the Rangers back on the heels a bit as Evgeny Kuznetsov brought the Capitals back within a pair of goals. The Rangers simply gave Kuznetsov too much space along the right boards as he walked in nearly uncontested, and he snapped a shot right over Lundqvist’s right leg pad.
Brett Howden (3) - Pavel Buchnevich (14) & Chris Kreider (6) - 13:34 3rd Period
The Capitals began to throw the body around midway through the third period, and the Rangers were able to catch them on a missed defensive assignment. Pavel Buchnevich outworked two Capitals in the corner before finding Brett Howden camped out in front of the net all by himself. Howden had plenty of real estate to work with and beat Holtby clean over the shoulder to give the Rangers a commanding 4-1 lead in the third period.
The Rangers were able to close things out late in the third period, and handed the Capitals just their fourth regulation loss of the season. Following tonight’s big win, the Rangers will head up to Canada for a short road trip against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens.