A shuffled Capitals lineup took the ice in New York on Wednesday and was handed a 4-1 loss by Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers. Washington was without Nicklas Backstrom, Carl Hagelin, Nic Dowd (all injured) and Garnet Hathaway (suspended) and that proved to be too many losses for the team to overcome. This loss ends a streak of seven-straight wins over the Rangers by the Caps.
Here is how Washington lost.
Panarin's 2 power play goals
Tom Wilson was called for boarding with less than a minute remaining in the first giving New York a power play at the start of the second. Artemi Panarin would cash in to put the Rangers on the board.
The Caps' penalty killers did their homework on Adam Fox who is pivotal to the Ranger's power play. As the main distributor, clearly Washington wanted to keep the pressure on him when he had the puck. As the power play set up, Fox got the puck and Richard Panik came hard after him at the blue line. Fox managed to get the puck away to Kaapo Kakko and then Washington was in a bind.
With Panik up high after Panarin and Jonas Siegenthaler still down low, that left Panarin open in the middle. That's the wrong guy to give too much room to and he made the most of it, writing the puck past the glove of Braden Holtby.
Just after the Caps killed off an Alex Ovechkin penalty in the third, Dmitry Orlov was called for high-sticking 40 seconds later. Panarin extended New York's lead to 2-0 as Kakko tried a spin move to get a shot off close in on Holtby. He lost the puck and it came to Panarin on the far side with an empty-net yawning.
Buchnevich's knockout punch
Going down 2-0 in the third period is a tough blow. Going down 3-0 just 23 seconds later is deflating.
As the Rangers broke the puck into the offensive zone, Siegenthaler was on the far left of the ice as Pavel Buchnevich skated in. Seeing that Buchnevich had a step on Siegenthaler and with Tom Wilson to his right, Gudas got caught in no man's land as he tried to step up to challenge Buchnevich while also getting his stick in the passing lane. Filip Chytil had a step on Wilson and was in alone after the pass from Buchnevich. Gudas took a weird angle on Buchnevich and ended up colliding with Siegenthaler. Buchnevich got behind them both and was open for the pass and the slam-dunk goal to make it 3-0.
A horrendous defensive zone breakdown
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on the power play to breathe some life back into Washington. That life was extinguished when Buchnevich found Brett Howden all alone in front of the net.
Yeah, that's a bad breakdown.
The Caps may have struggled to put points on the board Wednesday, but it wasn't for a lack of offense. Washington outshot the Rangers 62-48 and managed 31 shots on goal. They beat Lundqvist five times, but four of those times they were met with a loud "PING" as the puck hit off the post.
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