Carl Hagelin Pavel Buchnevich
ESNY Graphic

After fighting for 65 minutes, the New York Rangers have now been swept by the Washington Capitals in the season series.

To start this Sunday afternoon matinee, there was a bit of change to the lineup. Alexandar Georgiev was given the nod in net, Brett Howden returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 29, and Filip Chytil returned after being benched. Boo Nieves, Connor Brickley and Fredrik Claesson all sat out.

The first period was very fast from both the Rangers and the Capitals. Back and forth, each team had its share of excellent chances.

Ryan Strome got the Blueshirts started with a goal just 45 seconds into the game.

But then Washington fired right back with two goals of their own from former Ranger Carl Hagelin and Andre Burakovsky.

A flurry of penalties ended the last five minutes of the first period, but nothing came of it. Tony DeAngelo was called for hooking and then Chytil was called for high sticking. The score was 2-1 at the end of 20 minutes.

The second period began with Georgiev tested in the opening minutes. He made an immaculate save on John Carlson just under a minute in and then another on Lars Eller just under a minute later on a bat out of the air. He seemed to settle down in the second and make tough saves look easy.

Kevin Shattenkirk found a puck to the face and was sent into the locker room to get checked out. He didn’t come back on the ice until the six-minute mark of the second.

Brendan Lemieux continued to impress with an impressive chance inside of the hash marks. He had a presence not only on the offensive end but all 200 feet of the ice by blocking shots, causing disruption in the neutral zone and overall just being where the puck was.

After a great first period of getting pucks on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, the second saw a halt in opportunities. The Rangers weren’t able to hold the puck in the Capitals zone and the only generation of offense was on rushes.

But then Pavel Buchnevich was able to tie the game at two with 5:40 left. Chytil was knocked over in front and was still able to pass the puck over to Buchnevich from the ground.

After the goal, it was all Capitals but Georgiev shut the door. Multiple high percentage chances were thrown at No. 40, but none were able to hit the twine. Shots were 20-7 in the second in favor of the Capitals.

At the end of the second, it was a tie game, 2-2.

As with the second, the third period starts with a Blueshirt in the box. But again, the Rangers were able to kill it off.

After some chippy plays with the always controversial Tom Wilson, there was still no score with 10 minutes remaining. The physicality began to ramp up and with players on both sides getting after it.

Georgiev was just as good in the third with keeping his net empty from any pucks. He was able to track the puck well and his movement was smooth.

A devastating hooking penalty by Brendan Smith hurt the club, but again, the Rangers penalty kill was flawless. The crowd erupted into “let’s go Rangers” chants finally forcing the momentum to head in the Rangers favor. But it was too little too late a regulation time expired, and the Rangers picked up a point.

The Rangers took control of the first half of the overtime period, but after a great chance by Buchnevich, something incredible happened. Alex Ovechkin was all alone with Georgiev, who shut the door. All in all, both teams could not get it done in the extra period and a shootout was needed.

Kevin Shattenkirk got it started for the Rangers with a right-corner snipe on Holtby. One-nothing Rangers. T.J. Oshie was up for Capitals, and Georgiev couldn’t save the five-hole shot. One-one. Mika Zibanejad was up next and Holtby was able to use his glove to stop it. One-one, still. Evgeny Kuznetsov was up and slowly came in. His moves weren’t enough as Georgiev poked it away. DeAngelo made it 2-1 with a backhand-forehand shot through the five-hole of Holtby. Niklas Backstrom answers right back with a shot under Georgiev’s glove. Two-two. Chytil was then stopped by Holtby with the left pad.

It was all up to Ovechkin to win the game, and then controversy ensued. Georgiev was beaten with the nifty move, forcing Georgiev to lose his stick that goes toward the puck. The referees headed to the video review and call it no-goal. But after another review, the goal was rewarded and the Rangers lose to the Capitals 3-2.

With the loss to the Capitals, the Rangers have now been swept in the season series. It was a tough one to lose, especially after the incredible performance of Georgiev. Overall, there were impressive performances from Chytil, Buchnevich and Strome in this one. Even more, they kept it close and gained another point.