It wasn’t quite the defensive battle the first two games of the series were, but the Rangers did the right things (like scoring goals) to take Game 3 in dramatic fashion 4-3.
It wouldn’t be the superstars doing the damage for the Rangers in this one as Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, and Arron Asham scored their first three goals. New York finally broke through on the power play on Brassard’s second period tally. It would be Derek Stepan, however, that cast the dagger with 6:25 to play beating Braden Holtby for the game-winner.
The Caps would get a chance late as Brad Richards slashed Alex Ovechkin with just under two minutes to play. Ovechkin helped sell the call by throwing his head back, but the Rangers PK did the rest of the work not allowing a shot on goal in the final 1:56 as the Caps pulled Holtby to make it 6-on-4 in the closing minutes.
Some talking points to digest:
— Even though the Rangers got off the power play schneid, they still went 1-6 on the man advantage in the game. Boyle’s goal was very nearly a PPG, but came just seconds after the advantage ended.
— You can bet your money on the talk being on Ovechkin helping sell the call on Richards. Debate it if you want, but Richards certainly committed a penalty. Do you think an referee is going to book Ovechkin for embellishment there?
— Goaltending had been such a storyline with both Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist playing strong. Not so much tonight as Holtby gave up four on 30 shots. Lundqvist giving up three in 31 shots is rather average.
— They always say it’s not a series til the road team wins and the Caps sure weren’t fazed by the hostile crowd at MSG. Perhaps we’ll have even more of a battle on our hands for Game 4.
According to HockeyFights.com it’s Moore’s first regular season fight in the NHL as he had a preseason tilt in 2009. Meanwhile this was Skille’s fifth fight in the pros and he looked decidedly overmatched.
Torts has been the bench boss in New York since Feb. 2009, and it’s hard to argue with his assessment of Lundqvist’s play. The Swedish ‘tender stopped all 14 shots faced in both the first and second periods before stopping 20 of 21 in the final frame — only Zac Dalpe’s snapshot got by.
The Rangers got goals from Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash and Brian Boyle to secure their third win in four games. The victory put them into seventh in the Eastern Conference, tied on 42 points with the Islanders but ahead of their in-state rivals thanks to fewer games played.
Following the contest, Lundqvist reflected on his busy night with a bit of humor for reporters.
“I’m so tired I don’t know what to say right now,” he said, laughing. “Short answers today.”
Here’s more on Lundqvist’s performance from his Rangers teammate, Arron Asham, via Twitter:
What a game by the king could be the best performance by a tender that I have seen #sickgame