Final score: Washington Capitals 2, New York Rangers 0
How it happened: Neither team was able to generate much offense in the first half of the game, but the Caps opened up a shooting gallery late in the second period on their fourth power play opportunity of the night. Alex Ovechkin took advantage, sending a shot between the legs of Kevin Klein and into the net. Evgeny Kuznetsov made it 2-0 in the third with a two-on-one goal and the Rangers didn't have any fight left.
What it means: The win clinches the Metropolitan Division and Presidents’ Trophy for Washington. That guarantees the Caps home-ice throughout the playoffs and a first-round matchup with the Eastern Conference’s second wild card team. They have now won the Presidents’ Trophy three times in the past eight seasons and are just the sixth team to win the award in consecutive seasons. The win also extends Washington’s new franchise record for home wins in a season to 32.
Caps goal: Justin Williams (power play) from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin at 14:39 in the 2nd period. The Caps moved the puck along the right side of the zone on the power play drawing the penalty killers over. Kuznetsov made a cross-ice pass to Ovechkin in the office. He didn’t catch it cleanly, but with no defensemen anywhere close, he had plenty of time to aim and shoot. The eventual wrister traveled through the legs of Kevin Klein and off of Williams into the net. Caps 1, Rangers 0
Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson at 5:42 in the 3rd period. Johansson took the puck up on a two-on-one with Kuznetsov. Brendan Smith decided to go for Johansson which left Kuznetsov wide open for the mini-breakaway goal. Caps 2, Rangers 0
1. Evgeny Kuznetsov: Kuznetsov assisted on the first goal and scored the exclamation mark to really put this one out of reach. Considering his struggles last postseaosn, it is encouraging to see him get points on the board this close to the end of the season.
2. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin loves playing against Henrik Lundqvist. He may be one of the best netminders in the NHL, but Ovechkin always seems to have his number. It was true again on Wednesday. It looked like Ovechkin scored again on Lundqvist, but after the game, the goal was credited to Williams and Ovechkin was given the assist. Still, I doubt the Great 8 will complain.
3. Braden Holtby: The Caps netminder earned his league-leading ninth shutout of the season as he turned aside all 24 shots he faced from the Rangers. That is another big step towards earning the William M. Jennings Trophy which is awarded to the goalie of the team that allows the fewest goals against in a season. The Caps already led Columbus by five (179 to 184) coming into Wednesday's game.
Look ahead: The Caps wrap-up the regular season with a back-to-back over the weekend. They play in Boston on Saturday and return home Sunday to host the Florida Panthers.
Tell us what you think: Winning two consecutive Presidents' Trophies puts the Caps in pretty rare company. Is that a noteworthy accomplishment to you are does nothing matter but the Stanley Cup?