The New York Rangers stayed alive to see Game Six after forcing overtime and breaking through for the game winning goal
Here’s how the game played out:
Knowing it’s do or die for them, the Rangers tried to make a statement. Through the first four minutes of the period, the team outshot the Capitals 4-0.
A near-miss goal came off the stick of Martin St. Louis, where he was on the doorstep of the Capitals netminder Braden Holtby. Holtby, a stifiling obstacle for the Rangers to overcome this series, made a stop on the veteran with his left pad. He has been a story for the Capitals all playoffs.
Another test to the play of Holtby came when the Rangers were on the game’s first power play. The Rangers made it a point to shoot more, and that they did. Unfortunately, he stopped at least four shots on goal. If the Rangers were to win this game and push the series back to Washington D.C., they would need to have solved Holtby’s great play.
Not to be outdone was New York’s own Henrik Lundqvist. The Capitals were able to get on the rangers netminder. He came up big, once on Alex Ovechkin coming down on his right and an earlier play where the Capitals were able to put the puck on net coming from behind the net. Those were two of his thirteen saves made.
The first 20 minutes saw no goals to open up game five. The goaltenders were front and center tonight.
Who would flinch first?
New York Rangers
The first seven minutes of the period was much like the first: scoring chances for both teams. However, no pucks were getting pass Lundqvist and Holtby.
There was no question of the effort on the Rangers part. After the first tv timeout, the Rangers were outshooting the Capitals 7-3. Fans saw more of a net-front presence this game, in an effort to screen Holtby.
At 2:09 of the period, a shot from the Capitals Matt Niskanen on the blue line was put on net. Game one hero Joel Ward was in front and appeared to screen Lundqvist when the puck bounced over the Rangers netminder and found the back of the net. However, the goal was waved off due to Ward impeding Lundqvist’s ability to play the puck.
The second 20 minutes ended like the first: scoreless. The Rangers did a better job of limiting the Capitals scoring chances and shots, allowing only five to the Rangers 12. Still, if they are going to break through, they are going to have to get to Holtby
From puck drop to the first tv timeout of the period, the Rangers came out flying and put as many shots as they could towards Holtby. If they were going to go down, they were going down fighting.
Holtby almost made his first mistake of the game. After Chris Kreider chipped in the puck, he passed to Derek Stepan, who took a slap shot that went wide. Holtby came out to challenge the puck, but the puck almost found its way to a wide-open net.
At 9:06, the Capitals Curtis Glenncross gave his team the lead on a one-on-one breakaway. After a turnover in the Rangers offensive zone, the puck found Glenncross who was all alone behind the Rangers defense. He put a wrist shot on Lundqvist, who made the initial stop. But, he was seen falling over and could not control the puck. Give credit to Glenncross who did not stop on the play and took Lundqvist’s momentum and stayed with the play. For his effort, he was rewarded for his first goal of the playoffs. Assists were credited to Matt Niskanen (4) and Tom Wilson (1).
Then, all Rangers fans rejoiced in unison. After several failed attempts to get the puck in on net, the Rangers finally broke through. At 1:41, Kreider put a one-timer shot on Holtby from the top of the right face-off circle. The goal was his third of these playoffs. There was not much traffic in front of Holtby. However, the puck was shot between the legs of Brooks Orpik, who tried to block the shot. It got past him and Holtby giving the Rangers life. Assists were credited to Stepan (3) and Keith Yandle (3).
The period ended with the Rangers bench and crowd alive. If the season were to end tonight, it would not be in regulation.
At 10:23, the moment all Rangers were waiting for. After half the period went by with no goals, the Rangers pushed and were rewarded for their relentless effort. After a Capitals turnover in the neutral zone to Jesper Fast, who pushed the puck into the offensive zone. He passed over to Stepan across the ice. Instead of shooting, he elected to pass behind him to a trailing Ryan McDonagh, who one-timed it past Holtby. It was his second of the playoffs, with assists to Stepan (4) and Fast (2).
The Rangers are alive for one more game. Game Six will be on Sunday at the Verizon Center.
Stars of the Game
Ryan McDonagh (one goal, two shots, TOI: 25:12)
Henrik Lundqvist (28 of 29 saves, .966 save percentage)
Braden Holtby (41 of 42 saves, .953 save percentage)
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