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Capitals vs. Rangers Recap: Defense Lets Down Washington as Rangers Win 5-2

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The wheels fall off the defensive wagon as the Rangers down the Capitals 5-2 to claim first place in the division.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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The New York Rangers made the Capitals pay for their defensive miscues as New York down the Caps 5-2 to claim first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Nate Schmidt Looked good on defense as the youngster contributed an assist and continued to prove he belongs on the roster.
  • Minus: The entire rest of the defense, and many offensive superstars, made mistake after mistake, botch after botch, to help the Rangers take this game.

Ten more notes from tonight's game...

  • Mistakes galore in the defensive zone. Whether it was blueliners failing to clear the mess in front of the net, or forwards making ill-advised passes, this game had a bunch of tomfoolery beneath the bluelines.
  • Speaking of sloppy, Ovechkin had a good game on offense (ending his four game goal drought with a pretty put away from Schmidt), but blew a few tires and assignments on defense that led directly to at least one goal.
  • One bright spot for the defense was Dmitry Orlov, who once more proved that the NHL is where he belongs. He made quick, decisive plays in his own end (that the defense was sorely lacking) and kept the offense churning on offense.
  • One more was Nate Schmidt, who continues to plead his case for a regular spot on this roster. Schmidt had a pretty wrist-flick assist on Ovechkin's goal, and was by no means the weakest link at the other end.
  • Okay, one more plus: Marcus Johansson. The shifty Swede created space in the offensive zone for himself and his teammates, and his tip-in goal was a solid reward for his good instincts.
  • John Carlson, on the other hand, looked fairly awful on defense, blowing assignment after assignment like he was a Anderson Cooper on a bender. Expect a possible top-pairing defensive shakeup this week.
  • Matt Niskanen did better than previous games, seemingly deciding that his opponents, a la Gandalf, shall not pass. Of course, the Caps still lost, but one formerly negative blueliner made himself a positive. That's trending in the right direction.
  • Braden Holtby was not as bad as his absysmal save percentage will suggest. Most of his goals-against were the direct result of wide-open, put-up-or-shut-up scoring chances below the circles. The best goalies in the world won't save those; the best teams can't expect them to.
  • The New York Rangers took sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan division with this win. A pox on them.
  • The Capitals have two more chancecs this week to take some important points from Eastern conference foes. Let's hope they...you know, capitalize.
    • The Capitals had a chance tonight to send a message. Instead they let out a whimper and ceded first place in the division to the Rangers. Hopefully they can get things together before the Bruins come to town on Thursday. If they can, this week won't be a total bust. Let's see how they bounce back from this one.

    And now, this...

    Game highlights: