The New York Rangers officially closed the chapter on the 2021-22 regular season this evening, and took home their final win with a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. After opening the scoring, the Rangers kept finding ways to jump back into the game with the Capitals answering twice. Dryden Hunt finally broke the 2-2 tie early in the third period with an incredible move along the goal line. Alexandar Georgiev got the final start of the year, and turned in a solid effort with 34 saves on the night.
Filip Chytil (8) - Kaapo Kakko (10) & Braden Schneider (8) - 3:26
After a scoreless first period, the Rangers got things started early in the second period with a goal from Filip Chytil. The goal came as a result of a seemingly harmless play in the corner, but the puck popped out into the faceoff circle to the Capitals’ surprise. Lars Eller attempted to make a play on the loose puck but wound up falling to the ice and it slid underneath him. Filip Chytil finally collected the puck, made a forehand move in close and shoveled the puck over Ilya Samsonov’s right leg pad.
Justin Schultz (4) - Trevor van Riemsdyk (16) - 4:01
Just 37 seconds after the Rangers opened the scoring, the Washington Capitals came storming back at the other end to tie up the game. Trevor van Riemsdyk started the chance with a quick wrist shot from just inside the offensive zone blue line. Patrik Nemeth blocked away the initial attempt on goal, but with traffic in front of Alexandar Georgiev, he wound up looking sight of the puck. The rebound kicked right out to Justin Schultz in the right faceoff dot, and he beat Georgiev cleanly over the right shoulder.
John Carlson (17) - Evgeni Kuznetsov (54) & TJ Oshie (14) PPG - 5:13
A few moments after tying up the game, the Capitals went on the power play with Kevin Rooney being sent off for tripping. Before the penalty was even halfway over, Washington gained control of the offensive zone and went to work around the perimeter. John Carlson collected the puck up high near the blue line and cycled his way into the middle of the ice. He immediately stepped into a heavy slap shot, and beat Georgiev over the shoulder with plenty of traffic in front of the net.
Alexis Lafrenière (19) - Ryan Strome (33) & Braden Schneider (9) - 15:44
With under five minutes remaining in the middle frame, the Rangers were able to tie up the game before the second intermission. Alexis Lafrenière was the recipient of a fortunate bounce as the puck bounced over the stick of John Carlson, and created a partial 2-on-1 rush. Lafrenière found Ryan Strome cutting through the middle of the ice, but rather than shooting, Strome passed back against his momentum to the far side of the net. Lafrenière was in perfect position to redirect the crisp pass, and tied up the game at 2-2 for the Rangers.
Dryden Hunt (6) - Kaapo Kakko (11) & Adam Fox (63) - 6:42
With both teams deadlocked entering the third period, the Rangers caught their break at the 6:42 mark of the third period. A great keep in by Adam Fox kept the play alive in the offensive zone, and Kaapo Kakko spun back to the middle of the ice after collecting the puck. Kakko took a second to survey his options, and found Dryden Hunt driving the goal line along the right side of the net. Hunt was able to catch the pass from Kakko, made a ridiculous move around Ilya Samsonov and stuffed in a shot while halfway behind the net.
The regular season is finally done with and now the Rangers can load back up for the playoffs. The last two games were basically a formality, and thankfully the Rangers were able to escape those games without any further injuries. With tonight’s results, the Rangers have locked in their playoff matchup and will be kicking off the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. We don’t have an official schedule as of yet, but it will likely come later on this evening or tomorrow at the latest.