The Rangers opened up the series with a 3-1 win over the Capitals at MSG. This was one of those games that saw it all: great goaltending, offense, defense, and penalty killing. The powerplay was lacking for both sides, but that’s what happens in this kind of game.
Here’s the scoring:
There’s not much to be said on this goal but dumb luck. Artem Anismov picked up the puck behind the net, swung it around, and got a few lucky bounces en route to a goal. It happens, this time it worked out in the Rangers favor. But give the kid credit, he out muscled Mike Green’s check around the net, which is nice to see.
1-1 Tie Game
This goal was a matter of perfection from the Capitals. Brooks Laich wound up with the puck on his stick, and floated a perfect saucer pass to Jason Chimera, who just had to make contact with the puck to slide it through Henrik Lundqvist’s five hole. There was nothing the Rangers could do on this goal. It was a perfect pass, even Bobby Orr had no shot at that.
This goal was the product of solid defensive pressure and opportune timing. With the Caps pressing, Derek Stepan wound up with the puck on his stick with some room. The Capitals were in the process of changing their defensemen at the time of the turnover and Step made them pay for this coaching mistake. He hit a streaking Kreider with a perfect pass in the neutral zone. Kreider ripped a shot from the hash marks that Braden Holtby should have stopped, but it went in the far corner for a 2-1 Rangers lead. Sometimes a great shot beats a hot goalie, this one of those times.
Apparently Brad Richards is allowed to walk into the goal zone unopposed. Well, I guess it’s only when Kreider gets him the puck. Kreider won the battle along the boards, and fed the puck to Richards. Chimera lost his man (Richards). The defenseman had to cover Marian Gaborik in the slot, but he over committed, leaving Richards free to walk in on Holtby. Dennis Wideman was the defenseman on the play, but he had to do dual duties of covering Richards and covering the pass to Gaborik. Few can manage that, and he was not one of them.
Luckily from then on the Rangers were able to hold a two goal lead. This win gives the Rangers a big advantage, as they were likely to have some sort of hangover from the victory over Ottawa. Winning the first game means a lot for the Blueshirts.