For the third straight game, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers were separated by just one goal. Thanks to a Jay Beagle’s marker, it was the Capitals that came out ahead 1-0 on Monday to take a 2-1 series lead.
This was truly a goaltending duel as even Beagle’s goal was the result of a shot that bounced off Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle’s skate right next to the line. It would have consequently been very difficult for Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to stop it. In fact, Lundqvist has been great so far in the 2015 playoffs and the fact that the Rangers now find themselves trailing shouldn’t be put on his shoulders.
Rather than put too much blame on the Rangers in general, it seems appropriate to credit Capitals netminder Braden Holtby. The 25-year-old saved 30 shots to earn his first shutout of the playoffs. The Rangers had some good chances in this one, including this literally last minute attempt by Rick Nash:
Nash fired a team-high seven shots on goal, but is still stuck at just one goal in seven playoff games this year. Postseason woes are nothing new for him as he has six goals in 49 career playoff contests compared to 378 markers in 862 regular season games. His drought is particularly glaring considering that he found the back of the net a career-high 42 times in 2014-15.
The Rangers need to hope that he finds a way to solve Holtby in Game 4 because while their situation isn’t desperate yet, it wouldn’t take much for it to reach that level.