Two quick first period goals by Chris Kreider gave the New York Rangers an early Game Six lead that they never relinquished, forcing a seventh game
Here is how Game Six played out:
The game started with the Washington Capitals coming out aggressive. They pinned the Rangers through the first 30 seconds of the period.
However, the Rangers Blitzkreig struck again. At 19:20, Chris Kreider gave the Blueshirts the early 1-0 lead off a one-handed shot on his backhand. While carrying a Capitals defenseman, he charged in on goal and was able to flip it by Braden Holtby. It was his fourth of the playoffs with assists credited to Kevin Klein (1) and Jesper Fast (3).
As the period progressed, both teams saw scoring chances and zone time. What was different was the way the Rangers started. It felt that they were more aggressive, faster to the puck, and played more to their pace that made them successful this season.
The brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist was front and center. Around the six minute mark, Lundqvist staved off a three-save sequence. He made his first save on Jason Chimera with his right pad. Giving up a rebound, Troy Brouwer was charging to the front of the net and scooped up the rebound and but a backhand shot, which was stopped. The puck bounced back to Brouwer and put a follow-up shot, which Lundqvist caught with his blocker hand. If the Rangers were to have any chance of winning and extending the series to Game Seven, Lundqvist was needed to make that a possibility.
In a little bit of last second revenge from Game One, the Rangers scored their second goal with three-tenths of a second left in the period. Kreider got his second goal off a mishap between Holtby and defenseman John Carlson. It was Kreider’s fifth goal of the playoffs with assists to Derick Brassard (2) and Derek Stepan (5). Importantly, it was a power play goal for the Rangers, the second of the series with their last coming in Game Two.
The period ended with the Rangers up two goals. The team led in shots 20-17 heading into the second.
Even though there was still plenty of time, the Capitals needed to get the puck pass Lundqvist. They were stifled the previous period, even though the Capitals made him work.
With 28 seconds into the period, the Capitals did just that. After Joel Ward fired a shot on net, Jason Chimera was battling in front, got the rebound, and put the puck past the Rangers goaltender. It was Chimera’s third goal with assists to Evgeny Kuznetsov (2) and Ward (5).
At the 11:37 tv timeout, the Rangers cycle-play was clicking. An aspect to their game that had been missing for some time had been giving the Capitals defense fits on a consistent basis. As a result, the puck possession was in the Rangers’ end.
The period ended with no further goals for either team. However, the Capitals made their push, outshooting the Rangers 18-4, and applying pressure.
New York Rangers
Finally, the man that’s been the most scrutinized Ranger these playoffs, Rick Nash finally potted his second goal of the playoffs. The goal came off a play where Martin St. Louis missed a close shot on Holtby. The puck went into the corner and was flushed out by St. Louis, who passed to Nash. He went in, out-waited Holtby, and slipped by his right skate. Assists were credited to St. Louis (4) and Brassard (3), which was his second of the game.
For some more insurance, the Rangers stretched their lead to 4-1 off the stick of Dan Boyle (2). At 15:36, Boyle released a wrist shot that blitzed by Holtby, beating him above his shoulder. Assists were credited to James Sheppard (1) and J.T. Miller (2).
The Capitals were able to cut the lead in half, when Kuznetsov scored on wrist shot. With 13:20 left, the Rangers were stuck in their own zone. The puck found its way to Joel ward, who passed to Kuznetsov and roofed it over Lundqvist’s shoulder. It was his fifth goal of the playoffs, with assists to Ward (6) and Karl Alzner (6).
The lead would be further cut down to one, when Ward scored his third point of the game. He scored his third goal of the playoffs by taking a wrist shot, off a loose puck in front. With the Rangers unable to clear the puck, the Capitals outworked the team and just put the puck towards the net. Assists were credited to Chimera (4) and Carlson (5).
A little under three minutes left, a late period penalty was called on the Rangers for delay of game. However, the replay showed that the puck went off the glass before going out of play. It was the fourth power play for the Capitals. Even with the goalie pulled making it a 6-on-4 man-advantage, the Rangers were able to keep the Capitals off the scoreboard.
And with 0:00 seen on the scoreboard, the Rangers have extended the series and staved elimination for a second game in a row.
Game Seven will be on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Stars of the Game
Chris Kreider (two goals, three shots, TOI: 15:05)
Joel Ward (one goal, two assists, five shots, TOI: 18:11)
Jason Chimera (one goal, one assist, six shots, TOI: 15:23)
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