About the game
As the game started it was all about Ryan Reaves and Tom Wilson, ad nauseum. The ESPN announcers were looking for some mischief and it never happened. Instead, what we got was a fast paced first period with few whistles as the two teams went from offense to defense without any really good scoring opportunities.
The Capitals had more hits, shots and won more faceoffs, but it was the Rangers who got on the board first. Mika Zibanejad converted on a perfect drop pass from Lafrenière for his 20th goal.
Zac Jones made the outlet pass to Zibanejad for the give-and-go with Lafrenière. Zibanejad’s one-timer was recorded as 100 mph and Samsonov had no chance.
Ryan Strome took a needless tripping penalty as time expired in the first period, so the Rangers started the second on the penalty kill. They did a nice job on the kill and were helped when Ovechkin was called for a hook halfway though the penalty.
The Caps had another power play opportunity when Chris Kreider was called for a high stick, but the Rangers held firm and the 1-0 score looked to extend into the third period. That’s when Lafrenière scored on a pretty deflection of a Ryan Lindgren point shot with about a minute left in the period.
The goal came after the Rangers won the faceoff in the Capitals’ zone after an icing call. The Zibanejad held the puck in the attack zone, but Washington turned it over and Lindgren took the wrist shot that Lafrenière deflected.
The Blueshirts had to start the third period on the penalty kill as Strome took another tripping penalty as time expired. They didn’t give the goal back and at 6:57 they padded the lead when Chris Kreider scored after another good shift by the Zibanejad line in the Caps zone. Lafrenière again made a strong play keeping possession in the attack zone. He got the puck to Zibanejad who fed Fox for a point shot. Samsonov made the save, but the rebound went right to Kreider who had the open net.
The fourth line scored about five minutes later on a play started when Ryan Reaves checked Ovechkin who gave up the puck, setting up a two-on-one for Kevin Rooney and Barclay Goodrow. Rooney fed Goodrow who put the backhand under Samsonov’s legs.
The Caps pulled Samsonov with four minutes left when they had their fourth power play, but could get nothing going. Ovechkin spoiled the shutout when Strome lost a defensive draw and Evgeny Kuznetsov set up a open Ovi for the easy redirect.
Here’s a five minute recap of the game.
The Rangers remain undefeated in regulation in February and will look forward to their road game Saturday versus the Penguins.