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Rangers vs. Capitals: Comeback Bid Falls Short Against Capitals

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Rangers tried to mount the comeback this afternoon but fell short as they were defeated 5-4 by the Washington Capitals. The Rangers had fallen behind 4-0 early in the third period and looked dead in the water before they rattled off four consecutive goals late in the game.

1st Period

No scoring.

2nd Period

Tom Wilson (8) - Jakub Vrana (12) - 10:43

Following a scoreless first period, it would be the Capitals striking first as they capitalized on a misplay by the Rangers. Ryan Lindgren’s attempted shot wound up deflecting off of Jakub Vrana’s stick and sent the play back the other direction. Tom Wilson was able to trail the play and jumped on the rebound that sat at the top of the crease. Keith Kinkaid was able to rotate back to the puck after the initial save, and Washington took a 1-0 lead in the game.

Alex Ovechkin (18) - T.J. Oshie (15) & Dmitry Orlov (2) - 12:29

A little under two minutes later, the Capitals were able to double up their lead courtesy of Alex Ovechkin. With the Rangers playing poorly thus far, you could sense it was only a matter of time before the pucks started breaking against them. That’s exactly what happened on this play as Ovechkin’s shot deflected off of multiple bodies in front, and somehow ended up in the back of the net.

Tom Wilson (9) - Nicklas Backstrom (23) & T.J. Oshie (16) - 15:07

Things went from bad to worse for the Rangers with under five minutes remaining as Tom Wilson picked up his second goal of the afternoon. Washington was able to catch the Rangers sleeping with another transition play, and it eventually led to a hard wrist shot from Nicklas Backstrom. Keith Kinkaid was unable to handle the shot, and Tom Wilson was able to swat the puck out of midair to put Washington up 3-0 on the scoreboard.

3rd Period

Evgeny Kuznetsov (6) - Carl Hagelin (6) & Garnet Hathaway (7) - 5:10

The four minute span that haunted the Rangers in the second period carried over to the third as Evgeny Kuznetsov blew the doors off of this game. Carl Hagelin had all the time in the world behind the net as no pressure came from either defender, and had time to pick his spot. Hagelin found Kuznetsov as he opened up in the high slot and he tapped the puck past Kinkaid to give Washington a commanding four-goal lead.

Colin Blackwell (7) - Adam Fox (25) - 6:42

New York needed something to feel good about with this game quickly slipping away from them in the goal department. Colin Blackwell did exactly that as he danced around the entire Capitals team, and popped the puck over the goal line. This was the first time in quite a while the Rangers had applied any sort of offensive zone pressure, and they were finally able to crack Ilya Samsonov.

Colin Blackwell (8) - Kevin Rooney (4) - 9:41

Blackwell wasn’t stopping there though and picked up his second goal of the afternoon just three minutes after his opening tally. Libor Hajek deservers all of the credit for the goal as he hustled to keep the puck inside the zone and even took a hard hit in the process. Hajek’s keep landed right on the tape of Kevin Rooney below the faceoff circles, and he shoveled a quick pass across the crease. Blackwell was in a perfect spot waiting for the pass, and flipped the puck under the crossbar to make it a two-goal game.

T.J. Oshie (8) - Justin Schultz (15) & Dmitry Orlov (3) - 11:46

After some confidence had been instilled back on the Rangers bench, T.J. Oshie shifted the momentum ever so slightly back in Washington’s favor. The Capitals pressure in the offensive zone gave them good possession time, and the puck worked its way over to Justin Schultz. Oshie was able to deflect the puck as it came in on goal, and restored a three-goal lead for the Capitals.

Alexis Lafrenière (5) - Julien Gauthier (5) & Kevin Rooney (5) - 12:18

Even though the goal by Oshie appeared to be the final nail in the coffin, the Rangers decided they weren’t going down without a fight. Just 28 seconds after Oshie’s goal, Alexis Lafrenière erased all of their wrongdoings with his fifth goal of the season. The quick shot by Julien Gauthier ended up being a pass off of Ilya Samsonov’s pads as the rebound kicked right out to the left of the crease. Lafrenière was in a perfect spot to skate onto the puck, and suddenly the Rangers were back within a pair of goals.

Chris Kreider (17) - Ryan Strome (21) & Adam Fox (26) PPG - 16:08

Things got interesting during the final five minutes of regulation as the Rangers were rewarded with a power play chance. Almost immediately, the Rangers converted on the man-advantage as Ryan Strome setup Chris Kreider off to the right of the net. Kreider was able to redirect the puck ever so slightly and fooled Samsonov.

The opening 40 minutes of this game were an absolute snoozefest from the Rangers as they only had seven shots on goal at the halfway mark. However, whatever happened during the second intermission lit a fire under them and they came within a goal of tying this game in the third period. Had the Rangers played even remotely close to that level in the prior two periods, the outcome might have been reversed in the Rangers’ favor.

Following a pair of weekend losses, the Rangers will have a short one day layoff before returning for a rematch against the Capitals on Tuesday evening.