The New York Rangers faced off against the Washington Capitals today. The Blueshirts hoped to make up for a 2-1 loss yesterday in which they could’ve played better. Every game is starting to count, and the Rangers needed to win this game in order to stay in the playoff hunt.
Rangers’ Pregame Summary
The Rangers came into their second game on their back-to-back, as well as the third in four days. The Rangers would need to use their youth and find some energy to outplay the Capitals. They needed to fall on their star players like Mika Zibanejad to stay hot and get them this win.
Keith Kinkaid would start in net today. His last game was a win against the Sabres in which Kinkaid could’ve done better. David Quinn had passed covid protocol and was on the bench today. Kris Knoblauch will stay on the bench until assistant coach David Oliver comes back. Philip Di Giuseppe was back from covid protocol to replace the recently traded Brendan Lemieux.
This game was very important in the Rangers playoff push. They have the tools to win, now they needed to go out and get two points.
A generally uneventful first period ended with a 0-0 tie. An extremely close goal was called back to keep the game scoreless early. The Rangers needed more offense if they wanted to win this game. They’d played a strong game so far though, and hopefully, they could carry it into the second and third.
The Rangers didn’t have a good second period at all. Bad puck luck led to a Tom Wilson goal. Alex Ovechkin scored seconds later and the momentum started to snowball. Nicklas Backstrom would make it 3-0 on a questionable goal that could’ve been called a high stick. The Rangers had no ability to finish chances and had trouble even creating them, to begin with. The Rangers hadn’t gotten many shots to that point, and it had been a huge part of why they were losing. There was a lot the Rangers needed to fix if they expected to have any chance in this game, and they needed to fix it ASAP.
The Rangers started off the period the same way the second ended. They gave up a bad goal to Evgeny Kuznetsov, where the defense should’ve been better. Colin Blackwell gave the Rangers some light with two straight goals to make it 4-2. This would not last, however, as T.J. Oshie would end up making it 5-2. Alexis Lafreniere scored his fifth goal of the year to make it 5-3. The Rangers got a powerplay and Chris Kreider capitalized to make it a one-goal game. It was too little too late, however for the Rangers, and they’d go on to lose 5-4.
Rangers Struggle with Consistency Throughout the Game
The Rangers couldn’t get out of the hole they dug for themselves in the second, and that is why they lost this game. The Rangers were outshot and outplayed for most of the game, especially the second. This game showed both of the ways the Rangers have played this season. The second period showed how the Blueshirts have played under Quinn for most of this season. They played slow, uninspired hockey with no shots. In the third, they turned around, and the Rangers started to play as they have in recent games. However, that was too late for them to turn around.
Keith Kinkaid didn’t play very well, but he didn’t have much help either. Having Igor would’ve saved one or two goals, but the defense needs to play better if the Blueshirts expect to win any games. The offense needs to play as they did in the third for the entire game as well. They showed some bright spots, but in the end, the New York Rangers need to do better if they want to be playoff contenders.