The first game of the series was a real defensive battle. Both teams were fighting for every inch and had trouble getting shots through. It was a very closely contested game until the Rangers pulled away in the third period.
But will this continue for the rest of the series? I think so. When the Rangers were down in the series against the Senators, they didn’t abandon their game plan. The Capitals played a very similar game plan against the Bruins throughout their series.
With both teams likely to stick to their game plans I think this definitely favors the Rangers. The Rangers can grind it out with the best of them, and have a knack for being outshot and outchanced but yet still somehow score more than the other team. The Rangers have been playing their style hockey all year, and the Capitals are newbies to playing their system. Advantage Rangers.
The problem for the Rangers used to be the Capitals would play this run and gun system, and the Rangers would be killed in transition. Not anymore. Ovechkin is forced to play defense, and so are the rest of the players. They can try to play like the Rangers but nobody plays that style of hockey better than the Rangers.