Henrik Lundqvist leads the NY Rangers past the Washington Capitals, 2-1 (Highlights)
Feb 19, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) defends a wide shot by Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Henrik Lundqvist and his NY Rangers came up aces against the NHL’s best team during a Sunday matinee at Madison Square Garden.

  • New York Rangers 2 (38-19-1, 77 pts)
  • Washington Capitals 1 (39-12-7, 85 pts)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
It’s not as if the organization was forced to face the league’s best team after failing to win its first game in Brooklyn three days ago.

Oh, wait … that’s exactly what the New York Rangers were tasked with when Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals came to Manhattan for a Sunday matinee at the Garden. The team with the most points in the NHL, 85, represented a top challenge for the Blueshirts only days after the New York Islanders snapped their season high six-game winning streak last Thursday night.

After 60 minutes of play, the Isles failure feels more like a bump in the road than a worrisome note. New York defeated Washington by the final of 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.

In contrast to their identity, the Rangers played this one with the flow, rather than against it. It was a traditional, playoff-like defensive effort that didn’t allow for much open ice or many scoring opportunities.

The goals that were scored, however, were of the pretty variety. Ryan McDonagh‘s opening goal coming at the 7:49 mark of the first period exemplified that previous statement:

Alain Vigneault‘s squad thought they had taken a 2-0 lead with Mika Zibanejad put one in, but a Barry Trotz challenge (offside) negated it. Instead, it was Ovechkin’s power-play goal late in the second frame that acted as the equalizer.

Mika and company prevailed, though, as it was his line who registered the only goal in the third period, the game-winner coming off the stick of Mats Zuccarello set up beautifully by Chris Kreider:

From there, strong defense and Henrik Lundqvist stood tall. Hank, who finished with 31 saves on 32 total shots, was forced to make a few big saves late. On the other end of the ice, Philipp Grubauer stopped 28 of the 30 he was tasked with.

The Caps have now lost two straight while the Rangers get back in the win column after the Isles disappointment last week. The Rangers now have 77 points and remain in the No. 1 wild card slot in the Eastern Conference.

Next up for New York will be the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com