This past Saturday afternoon, the New York Rangers skated off the Garden ice with a victory and a tied playoff series (1-1). After a heartbreaking loss in Game 1 with the Capitals’ Joel Ward scoring the game wining goal with one second left, head coach Alain Vigneault and his players were eager to get back on the ice.
The Rangers wanted to come out and set the tone early, and that is just what they did. Just 38 seconds into the game, Chris Kreider scored his second goal of the postseason. The twenty four year old was noticeable almost every shift today, hitting everything in his path and using his speed and size to win the battles in the corner.
Dan Boyle also scored his first goal of the playoffs, a power play goal that gave the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead in the first period. Derick Brassard also tallied a goal, his fourth of the postseason and the eventual game winner, after missing two quality chances between tonight and the previous game.
Alexander Ovechkin also added another highlight reel goal, blasting a shot past Henrik Lundqvist while he was falling down from the face-off circle. He entered the Rangers zone, and battled through both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi (which does not happen often) and pulled Washington within one with a little over nine minutes left to play.
As always, this game was a tale of two goaltenders. Both Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby stood tall in their respective nets and kept their teams in the game. Throughout the first forty minutes, the Capitals were lucky to have Holtby, as he came up big with multiple saves on quality scoring chances from in close.
Lundqvist made thirty saves as the Rangers held on the win by one goal once again, which has become a common theme among their five wins in their postseason campaign.
The Rangers head to Washington on Monday for Game 3. The Blueshirts will need to regroup and evaluate these past two games and prepare for the next puck drop. Despite playing an overall good game, the Rangers will need to tighten up in their own defensive zone and play with a little more urgency to come out of this series alive. This series will definitely continue test the Rangers, as the Capitals are a completely different team than the Penguins. Being the heavy favorite and President’s Trophy winning team is not an easy thing in the playoffs.