In normal come from behind fashion, the New York Rangers overcame a hard-fought game to beat the Washington Capitals after being down 3-1 in the series
Here is how Game Seven played out:
The first period started off with an electrified environment in New York. The Washington Capitals were coming out in full force, throwing their bodies into their New York Rangers counterparts, doing their best to backup their captain’s words of a win.
In order to do that, they needed to break Henrik Lundqvist, who was 5-0 giving up less than a goal a game when in Game Seven’s.
He made his presence early, as the Capitals had a couple of scoring chances on the netminder. Around the 15:45 mark, Lundqvist had to make three key saves to keep the Capitals off the board. The first save was on Jason Chimera who was able to get a slap shot, partially blocked by Keith Yandle, on goal. The puck bounced off Lundqvist and a rebound was given up. The Capitals were charging at the net and felt like a wave after wave of opportunities needed to be stopped. After a miss by Troy Brouwer, his teammate Jay Beagle followed-up behind and put a shot on goal, which Lundqvist had to make stretching out and stopping the puck with his glove.
Both teams traded opportunities with the man-advantage, and were able to hold the puck in their own ends with good puck movement. However, neither team could break through.
The Capitals struck first in Game Seven. At 7:10 of the period, Ovechkin wristed a shot past Lundqvist . After winning a faceoff in their offensive zone, the Capitals’ Marcus Johansson was able to get the puck to his captain, whom was able to beat Ryan McDonagh and roofed it for his fifth of the playoffs, first goal since Game Two of this series, and the early 1-0 lead. Assists were credited to Johansson (3) and Nicklas Backstrom (5).
The game was nerely tied off a short-handed opportunity. Rick Nash was able to break in on Braden Holtby one-on-one. Nash went to his backhand, and put a shot on goal. However, Holtby was there to shut the door and the Rangers were kept off the scoreboard.
The period ended with the Rangers down in shots, 15-10.
The Rangers started with nearly two minutes on the power play, after a late-period holding penalty was called on the Capitals. The Rangers came up empty handed, with one shot registered thanks to Nash.
After going scoreless on three opportunities with the power play, the team was able to tally one on their fourth. The rookie Kevin Hayes scored his second goal of the playoffs, tipping in a pass from J.T. Miller past Holtby. The goal developed from behind the net. After an attempt to clear the puck out of the zone, Ryan McDonagh kept the puck in and found its way to Miller’s stick. Hayes was coming down on goal on the left side and Miller led Hayes with a perfect pass. Assists went to Miller (3) and McDonagh (4).
Hayes goal was the first scored by a Rangers rookie in a Game Seven, since 1939 by Muzz Patrick against the Boston Bruins. A rare achievement for the Rangers rookie in his growing development.
Another save had to be made by Lundqvist. The Capitals youngster Andre Burakovsky was all-alone in front with seemingly all-day to shoot. Staring Lundqvist down, Burakovsky tried to wrist a shot past Lundqvist’s short side, but he was there to close the door and keep the game tied.
The Rangers and Capitals started the third, just like the start of the game: tied. No power play minutes were carried over for either team. Thus, a new 20 minutes. Who will win it?
Neither team was giving in. At the period’s first tv timeout, shots were 2-1 Capitals. There was plenty of action and puck possession being exchanged. However, Lundqvist or Holtby were willing to break.
An example of how hard these teams were playing was a hit on the veteran Dan Boyle. As he carried the puck into the offensive zone, Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik lit into Boyle with a questionable, hard check. It left the veteran groggy and was seen skating to the locker room for evaluation by trainer Jim Ramsey, making the Rangers defense down a man temporarily.
The period closed with several scoring opportunities seen on both sides of the ice. However, no goals were surrendered. The Rangers were up in shots 34-28, with the team outshooting the Capitals 9-6 for the period.
Additional time would be needed to determine the winner of this second round matchup.
It was sudden death from here on out. The first team to score, wins and moves on. Which team would that be?
The first four minutes was all Capitals. There was a defensive sequence for the Rangers, which they could not get possession of the puck. The Capitals were able to keep pressure on Lundqvist causing mayhem all around the netminder.
After a barrage of shots and pressure from the Capitals for most of the overtime period, a winner was finally named.
At 8:49, the winning goal came off the stick of Derek Stepan. After winning an offensive faceoff, the puck slid to Keith Yandle. He passed to Dan Girardi, who put a one-timer from the blueline. The puck found its way to the net. Holtby appeared to be screened in front with the amount of traffic. He reached to his left to try and stop the puck. However, it appeared to have never made it and deflected off the traffic. The beneficiary was Stepan, who took advantage of a sprawled out Capitals goalie sitting on the ice from the previous shot. The net was wide open and Stepan put in the back of the net to finish the series comeback. It was his third goal of the playoffs, with assists to Girardi (4) and Yandle (4).
After being down 3-1, the team completed the comeback for a second year in a row. And with that game winner, the Rangers return to the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which will get underway Saturday afternoon.
Stars of the Game
Derek Stepan (one goal, two shots, TOI: 23:15)
Henrik Lundqvist (35 of 36 saves, .972 save percentage)
Braden Holtby (37 of 39 saves, .949 save percentage)
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