New York Rangers Complete the Sweep of the Washington Capitals and Win the Series 4-0

Apr 28, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin
Apr 28, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It's over. Four games in, four games won, the New York Rangers complete the sweep of the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to advance to round two, where they await the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders series winner. That is headed back to Raleigh for game five on Tuesday night, but the Rangers have locked down their spot in the second round. 

It started well when the Washington Capitals gift-wrapped a premier opportunity to the Rangers. Will Cuylle pressure Nick Jensen in the defensive zone and force the puck off the stick of the returning defenseman, where Kaapo Kakko can collect it. Kakko is sitting in the low slot where he can turn and fire at the net, beating Charlie Lindgren to give the Caps a 1-0 lead.

Washington would get it back before the end of the period when the Capitals were able to work a shooting opportunity. Dylan Strome found a nice pass to Aliaksei Protas. Protas moved it on to the defenseman, and jumping from the Blueline was Martin Fehervary. Igor Shesterkin was trying to make the save move from right to left in desperation to try and get across, but he couldn't bail the Rangers out, so we have a tie game once more. 

On the powerplay late in the first, the Rangers struck to restore the lead. Vincent Trocheck received a pass from Mika Zibanejad at the red line after Trocheck had found the soft area in the middle of the slot. It was a great passing by the powerplay unit for the Rangers to open up the Capital's defensive structure. 

Washington tied the game again as Hendrix Lapierre made a McDavid impression. Skating through the middle of the ice with speed, he beat Ryan Lindgren to the left to create a chance on Shesterkin. Shesterkin was able to deny the initial opportunity, but crafty hands from the young man allowed him to deposit the rebound home to get the Capitals back onto level footing. 

It would be the man advantage again that restored the Blueshirts lead. Pretty passing down low allowed the Blueshirts to get the puck from Adam Fox to Mika Zibanejad to Artemi Panarin, who found space by flying around the net to open up some room for himself. A tidy finish spinning with a beautiful screen by Kreider, who didn't see the puck until late. 3-2 Rangers in the third. 

Jack Roslovic would snap home the empty-net goal on the man advantage late in the third to ice the series, and the Rangers play four abysmal games by their standards and move on to play the winner of the New York Islanders - Carolina Hurricanes series. A lot needs to be worked on with this extended time off, knowing that this was not good enough, but a sweep is a sweep, even if it is against a team that should not have been in the playoffs.