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Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren, bruised and bloodied as always, stepped up and bodied Alex Ovechkin harder than the Capitals star has probably been hit in the last decade, knocking him down and breaking his stick in the second period of Friday night’s game in Washington.
Ovechkin turned around and potted two goals in the second-half of the third period to single-handedly will his team to a 2-1 win over the Rangers. The Blueshirts held on to a 1-0 lead until 13:18 of the final 20 minutes, but allowed Ovechkin to score twice from the same spot in the span of 3:09.
It was the Capitals’ first win over the Rangers in their three meetings this season.
Washington extended its win streak to seven games, but the toughest matchup over that span was most certainly the Blueshirts.
From top to bottom, the Rangers are beginning to figure out how to be hard to play against.
If Wednesday’s historic 9-0 win over the Flyers was a fluke, the Rangers followed it up with a strong road effort against the first-place team in the East Division.
The Rangers are having an offensive resurgence, and it can be traced back to when star winger Artemi Panarin returned to the lineup on March 13 following an extended leave of absence due to a political hit piece from Russia.
After scoring a power-play goal in the first period Friday night, Panarin now has at least one point in each game since his return to the lineup. He has three goals and four assists for seven points in the Rangers’ last four games.
The Rangers have done more than just settle into an offensive groove. They have a new-found tenacity, spirit and a will to win. Maybe the disappointment of a sluggish start to the season has caught up with them, or their top guns are just finding their game at the same time, but it’s not the same team that showed up on opening night back in January.
The Rangers, led by the Wolf Pack coaching crew for the second straight night with the Blueshirts’ coaching staff in COVID-19 protocol, held Washington to fewer than 10 shots on goal in each period. After facing a mere five shots in the first period, and then six in the middle frame, two goals from Ovechkin spoiled the Rangers’ efforts.
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