The New York Rangers earned a huge victory in Washington last night, after beating both the NHL situation room and Capitals by a score of 3-2.
By Chris Wengert
What a bounce back win for the New York Rangers.
After coming off of a tough and emotional loss the night before in Pittsburgh, the Rangers could have easily spent the evening wallowing in their own self-pity.
But that’s not who the Broadway Blueshirts are, and they proved it when they showed some more of that New York resiliency which has become a large part of the team’s identity.
Antti Raanta, once again, was spectacular.
Prince Raanta made some key saves in the opening minutes of the first frame. An early Washington goal could have quickly derailed the game for the Rangers, but Raanta stood tall, remained alert, and shut the door on the Caps.
That first period was about as good of a period as I’ve seen from the Rangers all season.
The team’s execution was methodical, yet simple, and it seemed to have the Captives stumped for the first 20 minutes. The Rangers protected the puck, made smart passes, took shots when they were available, and found some rebounds.
Jesper Fast found one of said rebounds to put the Rangers up 1-0. Once again, the goal was nothing spectacular, just good positioning and finish.
The Rangers better be thanking whoever they pray to that they didn’t trade Keith Yandle, because he does so many of the little things well that no other Ranger defensemen are able to.
But Yandle consistently does something that greatly improves his scoring chances. If you watch him when he is on the blue line, he is rarely standing still (the issue with previous Ranger PP’s). Instead, Yandle keeps moving along the blue line when he shoots.
This not only opens the shooting lanes, but forces the opposing goalie to move as well. The results speak for themselves.
OK, let’s talk about the inconclusive, conclusive goal.
To borrow a John Tortorella phrase, “That team was dead in the water”, and the Capitals looked like they were in the second period.
The Caps had a couple surges, but nothing that really threatened the Rangers. That was until the NHL situation room decided to step in.
I’m really not a conspiracy theorist. I believe we landed on the moon, JFK was a lone gunman, and there is no “screw the Rangers button” in Toronto.
But how can the NHL defend that call last night? Here is the video:
John Giannone explained on the MSG broadcast how the NHL was able to reach it’s conclusion:
“The NHL uses a system called Hawkeye where they have five different angles around the net and both teams have access and it’s the one that Toronto uses to judge whether the puck is over the line. Apparently the Rangers system was not working at the time of that play with Jay Beagle in front so the Rangers have still not seen the puck cross the line but they were told that the Hawkeye system does show that the puck is over the line.”
So first the NHL doesn’t release any evidence of the goal, and then it comes to light that the Rangers video system was not working at the time?
Yeah, not a good “look”, NHL.
Some websites have released some grainy pictures of the puck supposedly crossing the goal line, but it surely is not conclusive evidence.
I’m hoping that the NHL will release a picture with definitive evidence of the puck over the goal line, because my fear is that someone in the control room extrapolated that the puck crossed the line without actually witnessing it.
But that wouldn’t happen, right?
At the very least the Rangers shouldn’t have lost their timeout if their video system wasn’t working.
That Jay Beagle goal completely took the wind out of the Ranger’s sails for a few minutes, and the penalties ensued. The Rangers penalty kill looked strong though, and they even had a great scoring chance.
But Derek Stepan made a costly mistake on a short handed break.
You just cannot miss the net when your team is shorthanded, especially when it is a three on two opportunity. But Stepan fired an intended pass wide of the net, which wrapped around the boards right to T.J. Oshie who made a nifty move to beat Raanta.
But Stepan would redeem himself 17 seconds into the third period.
That was a huge goal by Stepan, the Capital-killer.
Outside of the obvious big win, the best part of last night’s game is that it planted a small seed of doubt into the heads of the Washington players.
If these two teams were to meet in the playoffs, the Rangers will have this game to point to as a blueprint on how to beat the Caps.