Rangers vs. Capitals: Zibanejad’s Late Goal Fuels 3-1 Win Over Washington

The New York Rangers returned the favor this even as they scored late in the third period and defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 in regulation. Mika Zibanejad picked up the game-winning goal with under three minutes remaining in the third period, as he beat Ilya Samsonov over the shoulder. Keith Kinkaid got the start this evening for the Rangers and turned in another solid effort with a 28 saves for his second win of the season.

1st Period

Pavel Buchnevich (11) - Adam Fox (16) & Mika Zibanejad (12) - 17:49

Despite only having three shots throughout a majority of the first period, the Rangers were able to take a 1-0 lead with a late goal. Following an icing call, Adam Fox executed what appeared to be a set play as he immediately skated down the right side boards. Pavel Buchnevich had also rotated around the pack of players in the faceoff circle and turned around just as the puck was coming his way. Buchnevich was able to redirect the puck over Ilya Samsonov and New York came away with the lead heading into the first intermission.

2nd Period

No scoring.

3rd Period

John Carlson (7) - Tom Wilson (11) & Nicklas Backstrom (22) - 5:55

Early in the third period, the Capitals turned up the pressure in the offensive zone and they located the tying goal at the 5:55 mark. This was eerily similar to last night when Alex Ovechkin took over the game and scored twice to steal the game in favor Washington. Also similar to last night, John Carlson was able to locate a rebound at the top of the crease uncontested and slipped it by Keith Kinkaid.

Mika Zibanejad (7) - Unassisted - 17:28

Even though it looked like the Rangers were well on their way to a repeat performance from previous night, Mika Zibanejad stepped up with a huge play. Brendan Dillon was trying to buy time as the rest of his line was changing, and Zibanejad fooled him with a quick shift to his right. Mika was able to strip the puck, shove Dillon out of the way and broke in on a partial breakaway down low by the goal line. Ilya Samsonov was fooled by the quick transition in play, and Zibanejad was able to snipe the puck over his shoulder to give New York a 2-1 lead.

Brett Howden (1) - Ryan Strome (14) & Pavel Buchnevich (17) ENG - 19:32

During the closing minutes of the game, the Rangers were hanging onto their one-goal lead as Washington pressed for the tying goal. New York did an excellent job in front of their own net by blocking shots, and got one final clear before Brett Howden iced the game with an empty net goal. Mika Zibanejad didn’t get an assist on the scoresheet but he made two crucial plays in front of the net to box out a forward, and then had a big block a few moments later.

Unlike last night, the Rangers did a much better job at clearing out the front of the net late in the game. Mika Zibanejad stepped up with an absolutely massive play to give the Rangers the lead, and then proceeded to make two key defensive plays late in the game. Keith Kinkaid gave the Rangers a solid effort in goal, and only allowed a single goal to the high-powered offense of the Capitals.

Last night was a gift by New York and they made sure they left Washington with two points in their favor this evening. Following tonight’s victory, the Rangers will make a quick stop at home for a meeting with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.