The last meeting between the Capitals and the Rangers, a 6-5 Washington victory, ended in dramatic fashion with a Kuznetsov OT game-winner. Today, Kuzy played in his 400th career NHL game and Caps’ coach Todd Reirden flipped wingers Carl Hagelin and Andre Burakovsky to the third and fourth lines respectively. How would the change affect the game? Spoiler: they worked really well.
The Capitals were up 2-1 after the first with goals from who else but Hagelin and Burakovsky, and while they controlled play for most of the second period they were tied at 2-2 after 40. This game needed overtime as well, and even that was not enough. After four rounds of a shootout, Alex Ovechkin’s shootout goal gave the Caps the 3-2 win.
Here’s Sunday afternoon’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The new guys seem to be fitting in just fine. Nick Jensen, despite his trip to the penalty box, played great hockey today and was instrumental in Burakovsky’s goal. Carl Hagelin was noticeable every time he was on the ice, especially on the penalty kill. He even drew a penalty on a shorthanded rush attempt in the second. If this is what they look like after spending so little time in Washington, fans can only imagine how they impact play down the road.
Minus: The Capitals controlled play for most of the second period, but somehow allowed the only goal in those 20 minutes.
And now, this…
Ten more notes on the game:
1. 45 seconds into the game, Ryan Strome took advantage of some sloppy play in the Caps’ own zone and got the Rangers on the board first. This is the second straight game that a Dmitry Orlov turnover has lead to an opening goal-against.
2. Just over a minute later, however, Carl Hagelin netted his first goal as a Cap. He stayed with the puck and chipped his own rebound past Georgiev to tie the game. Friendly reminder that Pittsburgh is currently paying part of Hagelin’s salary, so they help finance every point he tallies.
3. Halfway through the first, Andre Burakovsky potted his second goal in five games. Nick Jensen made a solid drive to the net and set up a screen, and Burakovsky’s slick wrist shot found the back of the net.
4. Poor Michal Kempny, his face has had a bit of a rough season so far. Last month it was a puck to the face during warmups, and this month it’s what looked like a broken nose. Of course, he was back out on the ice after he was all patched up because #hockeyguy
5. Pavel Buchnevich tied the game up with 5:40 to go in the second with a slap shot past Braden Holtby. The real highlight of this play was the pass from Filip Chytil, who somehow got the puck to Buchnevich as he was falling down.
6. The Capitals controlled play for most of the second period, but couldn’t convert on any of their chances. Why? Two words: Alexandar Georgiev. The Rangers’ 23-year-old netminder was totally locked in, stopping everything the Caps fired at him. Here are two of his many impressive saves from the second, one on John Carlson and one on an Alex Ovechkin one-timer:
Beautiful save by Georgiyev on Ovechkin's one-timer.— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) March 3, 2019
That pass by Backstrom though..... pic.twitter.com/ZlZ9FBauOm
7. With just over four minutes left in the third, Brendan Smith was called for hooking and the Capitals’ power play got to work for the fourth time this afternoon. This was a big opportunity for Washington, and unfortunately they let it slip through their fingers.
8. This game, like the one last Sunday, also required overtime. Ovechkin had a breakaway chance, but Georgiev clearly had Ovi’s number today and stopped him clean.
9. After two shots apiece in OT, the score remained tied. Off to the shootout, where the Caps would have to face locked-in Georgiev. Probably not what they wanted.
10. The Caps and Rangers were even after three rounds with goals from Kevin Shattenkirk, Filip Chytil, T.J. Oshie, and Nicklas Backstrom. Alex Ovechkin had the chance to win it for Washington, and, after some controversy, was awarded the shootout winner after Georgiev threw his stick at the puck. Capitals win 3-2.
The Capitals completed their first-ever regular season sweep of the Rangers with today’s victory, and finished their weekend in New York with four points. The Caps get two days off before facing the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday.