For a series that was as close and hard-fought as this one, it was a shame that the Capitals failed to show up when the chips were down. A 5-0 spanking by the Rangers on Washington ice sent the Caps home with a lot of questions and few answers. It was the first road win by either team in the series.
It really wasn’t as one-sided as the score would indicate early on. Washington outshot the Rangers in each of the first two periods, but they couldn’t get on the board. Arron Asham scored what would turn out to be the game winner just over 13 minutes into the first, putting a drop pass from Chris Kreider past Braden Holtby from just inside the blue line.
Taylor Pyatt put the Blueshirts up 2-0 early in the second, after Steve Eminger‘s point shot went off Derek Dorsett‘s leg and right to a wide open Pyatt, who had the whole net to shoot at from 10 feet away because Holtby had played the Eminger shot and was on the other side of the crease on his knees. Just over 3 minutes later Michael Del Zotto put the Rangers up 3-0 when his shot changed direction off of Troy Brouwer‘s skate as he tried to block the shot. The altered path of flight was just enough to allow the puck to slip through Holtby’s 5-hole as he went into the butterfly.
If there was any doubt about the outcome with the Rangers 3-0 lead through 40 minutes, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan made a nifty forehand-backhand deke at the side of the net and put it past Holtby just 13 seconds into the third. A Capitals defensive zone breakdown allowed the Rangers 5th and final goal. Eminger gained the line and dropped it to Derick Brassard, who drew 3 Washington defenders to him, leaving Mats Zuccarello wide open for the breakaway pass that he tuckes past Holtby. The only thing left to decide was whether or not Henrik Lundqvist would get his second consecutive shutout. He did, winding up with 35 saves to backstop his team to victory, finally getting some offensive support.
New York held MVP candidate Alex Ovechkin to just 2 points in the series, a goal in game 1 and an assist in game 2. He was held pointless in the last 5 games of the series.
The Rangers advance to meet the Bruins, which will prove to be a very interesting series.