Rangers Blow Early Lead to Caps, Lose 2-1

The New York Rangers visited the Washington Capitals tonight at Capital One Arena. Alexandar Georgiev suited up in goal for the New York. Vitek Vanecek got the nod for Washington.

Rangers 1st Period

Early on, this game appeared to be a defensive battle in the making. There weren’t a ton of chances going either way. Washington had a couple of chances early, but they weren’t particularly special. Georgiev came up with the stops he needed to.

The Rangers got their first chance to take the lead at 10:39 when Brendan Smith got a point-blank shot on a centering pass from Ryan Strome. Vanecek came up with a solid stop, though.

From there, Jacob Truba and Kaapo Kakko got a pair of chances that Vanecek shut down. It was a battle of the goalies early on.

The momentum really shifted in favor of the Rangers from that point in the period, with Georgiev seeing very minimal action in his end of the ice.

At 16:42 elapsed in the period, Artemi Panarin scored his third goal since his return to the Rangers from his leave-of-absence. This time on the powerplay. The assists went to Adam Fox, who hit the post just moments earlier, and Ryan Strome, who made a nice cross-ice pass to set Panarin up for the one-timer.

The remainder of the period was relatively quiet for both teams. Through one, the score was 1-0 Rangers. New York was also out-shooting Washington 8-5.

Rangers 2nd Period

At the start of the second, it appeared that the game would be more of the same as the first. Low-grade chances with the goalies shutting down whatever made it to the net.

The Rangers got an early chance on a shot from the blue line after Washington failed to clear, but Vanecek shut it down.

The teams then traded chances in the offensive zone with the Capitals getting a couple of chances on Georgiev, but only hitting the net with one of them. The New York netminder made a nice save on the chance, as well. The Rangers’ chance wasn’t anything spectacular, either, but they at least managed to hit the net with their shots.

Right around the 7:00 mark, Artemi Panarin had a chance for his second goal of the night on a set play off the face-off, but Vanecek came up large.

New York continued to generate chances, but they still couldn’t capitalize to extend their lead.

With just over 11 minutes remaining, Zdeno Chara managed to slip behind the defenders and get a breakaway on Georgiev. Yes, Zdeno Chara. The 44-year old defensemen.

The remainder of the period was more of the same as the beginning. The goalies were playing a game of “if you can do it, I can do it, too”.

Through two periods, it was still 1-0 Rangers. The Rangers outshot the Caps 11-6 in the period, which put the shot totals at 19-11 for the game.

Rangers 3rd Period

Very early on in the third, Mika Zibanijad got a quality scoring chance that was shut down by Vanecek. He did manage to draw a hooking penalty on the play, though.

The Rangers generated a number of chances on the ensuing powerplay, but they were all shut down. Be it by a Caps defender or by Vitek Vanecek.

After a good amount of time with minimal quality chances for both teams, the Capitals managed to capitalize on a shot. Alex Ovechkin scored the game-tying goal with 6:42 left in regulation with assists coming from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Schultz.

Just a few minutes later, with 3:33 left in the game, Ovechkin scored again. This time, the assists came from Jon Carlson and Zdeno Chara. Washington now had a 2-1 lead.

The Capitals would retain their 2-1 lead. The Rangers pulled their goalie late and mustered a few chances, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.

New York Wrap-Up

The Rangers will not have a lot of time to sulk in their late loss from tonight. They play again in Washington Saturday night at 7:00 pm. The Rangers currently sit in sixth place in the East with 26 points through 29 games. They are currently eight points behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the East and 16 points behind Washington for first place in the division.

3 Stars

1st Star: Vitek Vanecek – 32/33, .970 SV%

2nd Star: Alex Ovechkin – 2G

3rd Star: Artemi Panarin – 1G

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