New York Rangers ride to victory in game two thanks to their special teams

Apr 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  Washington Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev (27)
Apr 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Alexander Alexeyev (27) / Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tighter game than the first one of this series. Still, the Rangers won both games at home against the Washington Capitals, sending the series south to the District of Columbia with a win over their Metropolitan Division rivals. With the series now shifting down to CapitalOne Arena, the Blueshirts needed to hold serve at home and win both games at the Garden, which they were able to do. It was a very tight game, but a win for the Blueshirts. 

It started poorly when the Capitals took the lead. A puck dumped in would ring around the boards for T.J. Oshie, who would try to drive to the net. New York's defense was able to cope with that, but the loose puck would find its way to Connor McMichael, and he was able to wire the puck past Igor Shesterkin to give the visitors the lead for the first time this series. 

When Vincent Trocheck won an offensive zone draw, New York would get it back. It dropped back to Erik Gustafsson at that point, and he danced around the pressing capital of Sonny Milano to create a little bit of space for himself. With the space he created for himself, he could drill a pass low to the stick of Trocheck, who deflected the puck into the net past Charlie Lindgren to tie this game up at one. 

New York's powerplay was the factor in getting the Blueshirts back into the lead of this game when they won a board battle. The puck broke out to Trocheck, who was alone and had only a defenseman between him and the net. Instead of being selfish, Trocheck found the passing option for a Mika Zibanejad one-timer, and the Swedish center hit this one past everything and into the net to give the Rangers their first lead of the night. 

Washington's powerplay would answer back in the second period when Tom Wilson could speedfully enter the zone. At his size, he had no problems bulldozing his way to the front of the net, where he found a waiting Dylan Strome. The younger brother of former New York Ranger Ryan Strome lifted the puck over Shesterkin and into the back of the net to tie this game up again. 

Not enjoying the Capitals powerplay strike, New York would grab another one on the man advantage from the second unit. Jack Roslovic drove up the ice quickly before offloading the puck to Alexis Lafreniere, who got it to Gustafsson at the blue line. Gustafsson found Roslovic at the back door, and a tight angle shot into the top corner on a nasty shot beat Lindgren to put the Rangers into the lead again. 

A shorthanded goal is the game-winner. Mika Zibanejad stole the puck from Alex Ovechkin and jumped into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1. A quick give-and-go with Chris Kreider allowed the Rangers to get some space on the blue line, where Zibanejad found K'Andre Miller jumping into the play. Miller picked a corner on Lindgren, doubling the Blueshirts advantage. 

However, in the third period, this game wasn't over. With about eight minutes to go, the Capitals pulled one back. On the powerplay, John Carlson would get the puck to the point for Hendrix Lapierre, who had all the time in the world to let one float in. It may have taken a deflection with Sonny Milano and Tom Wilson out in front, but it found the back of the net. The Rangers shut the door from then on, taking the win in game two.