The start to the 2021-22 season didn’t get off to a great start for the New York Rangers as they fell by a final score of 5-1 against the Washington Capitals. New York controlled most of the play early in the game, but quickly fell behind as they allowed four unanswered goals, three of which came on the power play. Alexandar Georgiev got the surprise start in goal this evening, and turned aside 22 of the 27 shots he faced throughout the evening.
T.J. Oshie (1) – Alex Ovechkin (1) & Evgeny Kuznetsov (1) PPG – 4:39
Despite the Rangers controlling the edge in play during the beginning of the first period, an early power play opportunity for Washington gave them the lead. The Capitals worked the puck around with several crisp passes before the puck eventually landed on the tape of Alex Ovechkin. But rather than ripping his patented one-timer, he elected for a slot line pass back across the front of the net. T.J. Oshie was in perfect position to pounce on the loose puck and gave Washington a 1-0 lead in this game.
Justin Schultz (1) – Evgeny Kuznetsov (2) & Alex Ovechkin (2) PPG – 12:38
New York went nearly 15 full minutes without a shot on goal in the second period, and more penalty trouble cost them on the scoreboard. The Rangers’ penalty killers were way to spread out and that gave Washington the entire middle of the ice. Evgeny Kuznetsov was able to exploit that open space with a quick pass back to Justin Schultz, who wired a one-timer from just inside the blue line. An errant puck bounce off of Jacob Trouba’s stick gave Alexandar Georgiev trouble, and the Capitals doubled up their lead.
Hendrix Lapierre (1) – T.J. Oshie (1) & Conor Sheary (1) – 13:02
Just 24 seconds later, things went from bad to worse for the Rangers as they surrendered the third goal of the evening. A breakdown in coverage led to a partial 2-on-1 rush back the other way for Washington, and T.J. Oshie setup Hendrix Lapierre with his first career NHL goal. Georgiev got a slight piece of the shot as it came in on goal, but it wasn’t enough to keep it from crossing the goal line.
Alex Ovechkin (1) – Anthony Mantha (1) & John Carlson (1) PPG – 2:37
Washington was able to carry over their momentum into the third period, and Alex Ovechkin picked up his first goal of the season. An absolute blast of a shot from John Carlson caught Anthony Mantha in front of the net, and the puck slipped out into the left faceoff circle. Alex Ovechkin was in a perfect position to one-time the puck, and snapped a hard shot just over the shoulder of Georgiev to make it a 4-0 game.
Chris Kreider (1) – Ryan Strome (1) & Adam Fox (1) PPG – 9:13
New York finally stopped the onslaught just before the halfway mark of the third period as Chris Kreider picked up his first of the season on the power play. Ryan Strome put the puck in a perfect spot off to the right of the net, and Kreider was able to open his stick for the deflection. Vitek Vanecek was fooled with the quick change in direction, and the puck flipped over the top of his blocker hand.
Alex Ovechkin (2) – Evgeny Kuznetsov (3) & Trevor van Riemsdyk (1) SHG – 12:01
Alex Ovechkin tallied one final goal on the night as his picked up the 732nd goal of his career to move into fifth all-time on the scoring list. Evgeny Kuznetsov created the entire play with great offensive awareness to put the puck into a lane for Ovechkin to skate onto as he entered the zone. Ovechkin outmuscled K’Andre Miller as he fought his way to the front of the net, and flipped the puck over Georgiev with a slick move to the backhand.
Aside from the opening few minutes, the Rangers failed to generate much of anything on the offensive side of the game. Some costly penalties put them behind throughout the first half of the game, and as a result, they were chasing the lead all night long. The Rangers will have a quick turnaround as they head back to New York tonight, and will faceoff against the Dallas Stars tomorrow night for their home opener.