New York Rangers return to hockey after Christmas Break with a win over the Washington Capitals

Dec 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and
Dec 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) and / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

This was not the kind of game Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff were going to want framed. It was a slow first period, and it took the Capitals breaking the deadlock for the Rangers to get to their game, but when they found it, they opened the gates and let it rain down. Revenge for the humiliating defeat in the capitol was enjoyed, but the Rangers managed to figure it out and get the win they were after in the end.

Washington opened the scoring as Rasmus Sandin played a beautiful stretch pass from behind his own net to Anthony Mantha as he walked into the Rangers zone. He was able to solve Igor Shesterkin from the circle, and the Capitals were ahead. Not a great return from the Christmas break for the Blueshirts, but it could have been far worse. It meant that now, the Rangers were going to have to prove that they were indeed the better team.

New York would find its way to tie the game back up when Artemi Panarin played a puck through the slot that Braden Schneider picked up. Schneider dished it over to K'Andre Miller, who let Panarin take it back. Panarin played it behind the back to Mika Zibanejad, who gave it back to an advancing Miller. He beats the Washington netminder, and the game is tied. A very pretty goal from the Rangers gets them back on level footing in this game.

It would be a Rangers lead after Adam Fox started to carry the puck up the ice on the powerplay before dishing it over to Mika Zibanejad on the powerplay. Zibanejad would find a way to get it to Vincent Trocheck, who was left all alone in the slot. As he looked like he was lining up the shot, Capitals players came flocking to try and block it, leaving Panarin wide open. Trocheck hits the pass beautifully, and the Breadman makes no mistake. It's a 2-1 Ranger lead.

Miller would find a pass over to his defense partner before the puck was dished up the ice to Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow was felled on the play, but the referees let ti continue as the puck gets to Jimmy Vesey on the far boards. Vesey gives it back to Ryan Lindgren at the point, who taps it over to Schneider, and he lets the rocket fly to make it a 3-1 Ranger lead with less than eight minutes left in the second period.

Blake Wheeler did extremely well to get the puck out at the defensive blueline, finding Chris Kreider. Kreider just continues to skate forward unopposed until he just turns around inside the blueline completely untouched. He dishes it over to Miller, and Miller rings it past the netminder to give the Rangers a choke hold on the game. This was just punishing the Capitals defensive mistakes, and it was effectively game over.

It would be 5-1 before long. Panarin gave it back to Adam Fox at the point. Point dished it over to Miller who gave it back to Fox. Fox then advanced alone the left boards before firing a pass to a wide open Alexis Lafreniere in the slot, and the Rangers just finished the game off with a little less than nine minutes to go in the game. It was a slow start, but after the rust was knocked off, this Rangers team woke up and roared home for two points.

There will be better games from New York, and we will see worse performances from this Rangers team. This was a game you just take the points and enjoy the goals. The rapid fire rate of the goals makes the scoreline suggest it was more comfortable than it perhaps was. Otherwise, there's a lot of good to take from tonight. What a way to resume the season after the festive break.