The trade deadline loomed large during the Rangers’ Saturday matinee in Washington. Once again, the Rangers dressed seven defenders, and the Capitals’ are without long time defender Dimitri Orlov and heart and soul forward Garnet Hathaway after they were dealt for picks. Oh, and Vitali Kravtsov got traded to the Canucks for beans in the middle of the game.
Barclay Goodrow and TJ Oshie took center stage in the first period, and not always for the right reasons. Skating in his 500th career game as a Capital, Oshie opened the scoring with a powerplay deflection after Goodrow took a tripping minor.
Big tipper! pic.twitter.com/FsoKevb0Jo— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2023
A few minutes later, Goodrow made up for it with a deflection goal of his own. Tyler Motte took the shot, giving him his first point in his second Rangers stint.
Just tap it in. pic.twitter.com/3SwO3VkTYm— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 25, 2023
Later in the period, Goodrow and Oshie dropped the gloves after Oshie laid out Ryan Lindgren against the boards at the redline. Lindgren left the game, clearly favoring an arm, and did not return. There was no call on the hit. I’ll leave commenters to discuss whether that was the correct call.
Lindgren's hurt and off to the locker room after this hit from Oshie – no call on the play pic.twitter.com/QAwie8iPdk— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) February 25, 2023
“Roster management” left the Rangers with enough players to field three defensive pairs, but that didn’t stop the wheels from coming off in the second.
Oshie put the Caps ahead with his second goal of the game, firing a quick wrister from the slot off a Dylan Strome pass. It was yet another goal against in transition for the Rangers.
No stopping the Oshbabe tonight pic.twitter.com/LfPWw6p8yE— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2023
Tom Wilson added to the lead, again on the rush.
Oshie nearly had himself a hat trick, as he ringed a wrister off the iron, but had to settle for a Gordie Howe hat trick when Sonny Milano flipped the third chance over Shesterkin.
We love to see it Sonny boy pic.twitter.com/PH7GsjqhW7— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2023
Washington capped their huge period with a goal by Evgeny Kuznetsov, caught the Rangers on a bad change and roofed a backhander to put Washington up 5-1.
That's ️ pic.twitter.com/dM3z6xbNqS— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2023
Here’s the thing: Shesterkin wasn’t good, but the defense in front of him was worse. Look at where Washington’s shots were coming from:
The Rangers showed some life in the third, and all it took was a two minute five-on-three. Chris Kreider scored his 25th goal of the season in classic fashion, getting his stick on an Adam Fox wrister.
Any chance of a comeback was fully stamped out when Kuznetsov got behind the defense again and pulled a Forsberg on Halak, who entered the game in relief at the beginning of the period.
Kaapo Kakko scored a goal in the final 30 seconds to pad his stats. Good for him.
The Rangers have turned a seven-game win-streak to a four-game skid. With the loss of Lindgren, the Rangers already shaky defense looked completely exposed. It remains to be seen how long he’ll be out, and how that will affect their pursuit of certain high profile trade targets, especially with Kravtsov and Leschyshyn officially being moved. Regardless, the Rangers need to figure out how to defend the rush as a team, because right now they’re making their opponents look like they’re playing on Rookie difficulty in NHL23.
They’ll try to get back on track tomorrow evening, as they host Brenden Lemieux and the rested LA Kings.