3 major reasons the NY Rangers will keep building momentum in Round 1

The NY Rangers got the best of the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their First Round matchup, and that momentum can continue.
Apr 21, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates with
Apr 21, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates with / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Washington’s star players are officially under pressure

Nobody expected such a flat performance from the likes of Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, and Dylan Strome, among others. But when your team records just 21 shots on goal, there is plenty of blame for everyone who skated on Sunday. 

It also trickled down to unprecedented star goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who allowed four goals on 31 shot attempts. While the Caps didn’t make his job easier, Lindgren’s stellar play when times were tough over the second half of the season was big for Washington. And if this team is flat offensively, there is nobody else in the lineup who needs to step up more. 

There is a chance that the Capitals develop a greater sense of urgency in Game 2 and play like the team that beat out other hopefuls for the second wild card spot down the stretch. But if they have a tough time getting going again and the Rangers control the pacing, look for the Blueshirts to take that coveted two-game lead. 

Overall, the Rangers played like a team in complete control on Sunday, and it should be a lot of fun to see how they parlay their epic outing into something even greater on Tuesday. They only need to keep up with their depth scoring, play well defensively, and prevent the Caps stars from getting hot. 

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(Some statistics provided by Hockey-Reference and ESPN.com)