Game Four Loss Puts Rangers on the Brink of Elimination

Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Braden Holtby was near-impossible to beat in goal once again, as the Capitals edged the Rangers 2-1 Wednesday night in Washington to take three-games-to-one lead in their second round playoff series.

The Blueshirts must now win the remaining three games of the series to advance. Game Five is Friday night at The Garden.

After a scoreless first period, the Rangers got on the scoreboard at 6:12 of the second, on a goal by Derick Brassard, off a great pass from Martin St. Louis, to make it 1-0. It was Brassard’s 5th goal of the post-season, most on the team.

Burakovsky evened the score at 16:29 of the second, after a Chris Kreider turnover in the Washington end. Burakovsky scored again, just 36 seconds into the third period, after a turnover by Ryan McDonagh, to give Washington a 2-1 lead.

Later in the third, at 8:01, Carl Hagelin was awarded a penalty shot after being pulled down on a breakaway, but Holtby made a sparkling glove save on the penalty shot attempt. Holtby made 28 saves in the win.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots and played well again. He has allowed only 15 goals in nine post-season games this season, a 1.67 GAA. But the Rangers’ offensive woes continued; they’ve scored only five goals in four games this series, and only 16 goals in eight post-season games. The team is also only 1-of-9 on the power play this series.



Holtby, Capitals Shut Out Rangers To Take 2-1 Series Lead

Braden Holtby stopped all 30 shots the Rangers fired at him, and Jay Beagle‘s second period goal turned out to be enough, as the Capitals beat the Rangers 1-0 Monday night, to take a 2-1 lead in their second round playoff series.

All eight of New York’s games this post-season have been decided by one goal.

The Rangers came out with energy and intensity and had numerous chances in the first period, but the period ended without any goals.

Early in the second period, Beagle’s initial shot was deflected and bounced off the boards behind the net. Beagle then picked up the loose puck, skated behind the net toward the front of the crease, and shot the puck toward the goal. The puck deflected off Keith Yandle‘s skate and slid just inside the post past Henrik Lundqvist for the goal and a 1-0 lead at 7:31.

The Rangers had their chances; Martin St, Louis got loose on a breakaway with about seven minutes to go in the second period but was stopped by Holtby.

At 12:00 mark of the third, the Rangers offense had a flurry of chances in front of the Washington net, with Dan Boyle, Dominic Moore, Kevin Hayes, and Moore again all being thwarted by Holtby and the Capitals’ defense in front of the net.

New York’s last good chance came with about 50 seconds to play when Derick Brassard‘s shot from the bullion was stopped and Rick Nash‘s shot on the rebound was stopped by Holtby.

Lundqvist played very well, making 21 saves. The Blueshirts got crushed in the face circle, winning only 31% of the face-offs. And they were 0-for-2 on the power play.

Game 4 will be Wednesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington.

Rangers Edge Capitals to Even Series

The Rangers jumped out to a first period lead and made it hold up the rest of the way, defeating the Washington Capitals 3-2 Saturday afternoon at The Garden, to even their second round playoff series at one win apiece.

Chris Kreider gave the Blueshirts a huge momentum boost just 38 seconds into the game, picking up the rebound of a Jesper Fast shot and putting it past Braden Holtby for an early 1-0 New York lead.

Dan Boyle made it 2-0 at 15:40 of the first, picking up a failed Washington clearing pass and scoring on a slapshot from the blue line to make it 2-0. It was his 15th career post-season goal, and must’ve been sweet redemption for Boyle, who lost the puck in the final moments of Game 1 in a play that led to Washington’s game-winning goal.

In the second period, Henrik Lundqvist made several sparkling saves, including an acrobatic stop of Alexander Ovechkin at 11:17.

The Capitals finally broke through at 13:59 when Evgeny Kuznetsov put a rebound past Lundqvist to make it 2-1.

Early in the third period, one noteworthy moment: Kevin Klein, playing his first game since breaking his arm blocking an Ovechkin shot March 11th, made a key play, blocking another Ovechkin shot. Even Lundqvist skated over to tap him on the helmet to thank him for that one.

The Blueshirts took a 3-1 lead at 6:07; Martin St. Louis got the puck to Derick Brassard alone in front of the net. Brassard’s shot dribbled through Holtby’s legs for and into the net for the goal.

But the Capitals came right back a few minutes later. Ovechkin, streaking to the net, scored while falling to his knees at 10:29 to make it 3-2.

In the remaining minutes, Lundqvist and the defense kept the Caps from tying the game. Lundqvist made a big save on Troy Brouwer with under two minutes to play, and the Rangers hung on for the win.

Lundqvist made 30 saves while Holtby stopped 32 shots.

Game Three is Monday night in Washington.


(Very) Late Goal Gives Caps Win Over Rangers in Game 1

Joel Ward‘s goal with 1.3 seconds to play gave the Washington Capitals a 2-1 win over the Rangers Thursday night at The Garden, and a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven  playoff series.

The teams play Game 2 Saturday afternoon at 12:30 Eastern at The Garden.

The Capitals scored first, a power play goal, at 18:13 of the first period on a laser-beam of a wrist shot by Alex Ovechkin. It was Ovechkin’s 3rd goal of the post-season.

After a scoreless second period, the Rangers rallied to tie the game, with 4:39 to play. Jesper Fast deflected a Kevin Hayes shot from the blue line past goalie Braden Holtby to make it 1-1.

The teams seemed to be heading toward overtime, but with under six seconds to play, Nicklas Backstrom checked Dan Boyle in the corner of the rink, deep in the Rangers’ zone. Ovechkin grabbed the loose puck and passed to Ward, streaking toward the net, who fired it past Henrik Lundqvist.

Holtby made 31 saves, while Lundqvist made 27.

The Rangers’ offense has managed only 12 goals in six playoff games this post-season.