It was a solid, no-nonsense, business like, game the New York Rangers played in Game 3 in Washington DC. Igor Shesterkin was locked in, the Rangers scored at all three strengths, and the team played a near perfect game to take a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Washington Capitals.

Despite the officials best efforts to let Washington back into the game and series with some ticky-tack penalties, the Rangers shut down the Capitals, killing a whopping six penalties in the contest. After taking the 3-1 lead, the Rangers knew they had to limit as many chances as they could with the Caps, and keep as many of those opportunities as they could to the outside. Mission accomplished.

Mika Zibanejad has been unbelievable to start the playoffs, and last night was no different. For a player who didn’t have one of his strongest regular season showings, at least on offense, he is showing he is worth his contract and elevating his game at the right time of the year. With a gorgeous assist on a Vincent Trocheck powerplay goal and the primary assist on a Chris Kreider tip, he has his 5th point in 3 games.

Zibanejad has been crucial in every situation on power plays, even strength, and the penalty kill. If his early playoff dominance continues, the Rangers will be a tough out for any team. The Rangers will go as far as the stars carry them, and Zibanejad is shouldering the load this round.

In net, this was the game for Igor Shesterkin to steal, and steal it he did. While this was certainly a business like game for the Blueshirts, they weren’t perfect. With some significant lapses late in the second and early in the third, Shesterkin was forced to make many point blank saves. Game 3 is usually when you need your goalie to show up, and show up he did.

It’s well documented to this point that their is a formula to this Rangers team. Try and take advantage of special teams when they become applicable, and let Igor do Igor things if the situation calls for it. Despite having 6 power play chances, the Capitals couldn’t convert. This is the advantage the Rangers have over most teams in the playoffs: Their goalie can steal games quite frequently. If he’s on, the Rangers are in it.

Stars aside, the role players deserve nods as well. Barclay Goodrow continues to be a playoff revelation, the defense is doing their jobs, Jacob Trouba had an outstanding game, and the Rangers didn’t need to lean on the Artemi Panarin line to get things done for them. This is a testament to their preparedness, coaching, buy-in, and focus the Rangers have this season.

It’s business as usual for the Rangers this round. It’s time to sweep these guys and do not let them get on a train to New York. Finish the job and prepare for the next one.


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