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Caps vs. Rangers Recap: Vesey Vexes Caps as New York Wins 4-2

The Capitals fell to the rival New York Rangers 4-2 Saturday night behind a pair of goals by rookie Jimmy Vesey.

NHL: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals dropped their first 2016-2017 meeting with the Rangers 4-2 on Saturday despite leading 2-0 after the first period. A pair of goals by Jimmy Vesey were the Caps’ undoing, as well as - you guessed it - some spotty defense.

Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Congrats to Lars “Bars” Eller, who got his first goal as a Capital tonight, and to Alex Ovechkin, who scored his second goal of the season and continues to be more mastiff than man.
  • Minus: Rough nights for Brooks Orpik and Karl Alzner, the former looking lethargic, and the latter looking downright lewd in his desire to get undressed.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • 1. Lars Eller redirected a Brooks Orpik shot to give the Caps the lead just over 2 minutes into the game. Orpik, after getting undressed and spun around on the preceding Rangers rush, made a nice play to keep the zone before firing off the fatal shot. It was Eller's first goal as a Washington Capital! Way to be, Larry!
  • 2. Zach Sanford had a pretty chance on the doorstep in the first period, providing trailing support a forechecking menace known as Justin Williams. Williams snapped a great-awareness pass right to Sanford's tape in the crease, and Henrik Lundqvist shut it down like risque prom themes. That would be a trend: Sanford looked good throughout.
  • 3. With 5 minutes left in the first frame, a streaking, deking Alex Ovechkin used Marc Stall like a sex toy, diving in and out and behind him and rendering him quivering like an anemic fawn before ripping a wrister from behind the D-man's back that baffled King Henrik, making it 2-0 Caps at the intermission.
  • 4. Brandon Pirri got one back for the Rangers mere minutes into the second period, using a drifting Nate Schmidt as a screen to drive home a glove-side wrist shot.
  • 5. Jimmy Vesey made the Caps pay for Matt Niskanen's roughing penalty transgressions, pounding home a door-step rebound that a sprawling Holtby could only reach for vainly, like Biff Loman reaching for a more fulfilling life. The Rangers had officially come all the way back, and the game was 2-2.
  • 6. Aaaaand then Vesey did it again, walking calmly around a panicked and impotent Karl Alzner, who did absolutely nothing to stop him. 3-2 Rangers, and Verizon erupted with either cheering Rangers fans or a whole bunch of farts, I couldn't tell. Seriously, watch Alzner here. It's pretty damning.
  • 7. An empty net goal for New York would do it for the scoring despite a noble and mighty (and ultimately fruitless) third period push from the home team, and the Capitals fell to the Rangers 4-2 at Verizon.
  • 8. The only Capitals forwards with CF% >50 at even strength were - you guessed it - the TKO line and the Tre Kroner line, the latter actually pretty well smashing the possession game (Marcus Johansson is your 5v5 CF% winner by far, at 67%. If you had MoJo in your office corsi pool, you may collect your prize now.)
  • 9. The Caps penalty kill has now given up power play goals in four of the first five games.
  • 10. Hell is drunk Rangers fans in the 400 level.

The Capitals drop two points to their hated division rivals after leading 2-0 after the first. That’s...not a narrative you like to see. A change may be coming to the defensive pairs. The Caps’ next chance to get it right is Wednesday night in Edmonton against the Oilers.