Lundqvist caught by surprise on spectacular Ovechkin goal

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Henrik Lundqvist apparently wasn’t expecting it. While falling to the ice, Alex Ovechkin released a perfect wrist shot to beat the New York Rangers goalie on the blocker side.

It was a beautiful goal from Ovechkin, who looked unstoppable as he split New York’s ‘D’ with a determined effort, fell to the ice and made his shot. However, the Capitals couldn’t complete the comeback and lost Game 2, with the Rangers tying up this second-round series.

“He’s one of the best players in the game, there’s no question,” said Lundqvist, as per CSN Washington.

“There’s not a lot of players that can do what he does out there and it’s a challenge for us every game to try to stop him. But to be able to shoot it that hard on your knees, he definitely surprised me a little bit there.

“But you have to be ready for anything, especially that line. They’re playing really well, so you just have to be on your toes out there.”

Kreider ‘a huge difference maker’ for Rangers

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It didn’t take long, only 38 seconds, for New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider to make an impact on Saturday’s Game 2 against the Washington Capitals.

His goal, which came off a rebound in the first minute of play, got the Rangers started on their way to a dominant first period and an eventual win to even the series at one game apiece.

Kreider could’ve had more, too, his speed a factor throughout the game. He led all New York forwards in ice time, and had eight shot attempts to go with four hits.

“He’s a huge difference maker. He puts a big influence on the game for us the way he can skate, the way he can hit and his shot and his physicality,” said Ryan McDonagh, as per Rangers Rants. “All together it’s a tough combo to defend for anyone.  It’s a good sign that he was able to get it going and he’s got to continue that for us if we want to be successful.”

Added Dan Boyle: “He’s been doing it all year. He’s the fastest player I’ve ever played with by far and I’ve played with some pretty fast players. Possibly the strongest. He’s done it all year long.”

Trotz: ‘We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game’

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The Washington Capitals were out-shot 15-4 and fell behind 2-0 in the opening period of Game 2 on Saturday afternoon – that was the difference in the eyes of coach Barry Trotz.

“We didn’t play our best game for 60 minutes. You can’t get away with that. You can’t get around that. You’ve got to go through those things so full credit to them,” said Trotz. “We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game. The Rangers deserved to win the hockey game.

“To me, it was our start, it was our degree of desperation level… it was higher on their side than it was on ours. They capitalized on that.”

Chris Kreider opened the scoring 38-seconds into the first and Dan Boyle had his first of the playoffs giving New York an early lead at MSG.

“I think after what happened [Thursday], we were all upset,” said Henrik Lundqvist. “I was really annoyed and it really bothered me, so you try to use that energy to bring it over into this game and be determined that we need this one. I think the first period we played one of our better periods.”

Washington out-shot New York 28-20 in the final 40 minutes including 12-8 in the third period, but was unable to find the equalizer falling 3-2.

“I think we matchup very well, I think there’s some things that they do extremely well, I think there’s some things we can do a little bit better, if we do that, then who knows? The series can turn on a dime some times,” said Trotz.

“I think we’re two teams that are quite evenly matched. It’ll be interesting coming back in our building.”

Jason Chimera, who assisted on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs, agreed the start was the difference.

“A slow start hurt us,” Chimera said. “Anytime you dig yourself a 2-0 hole in a building like this, it’s hard to come back. (In) afternoon games, you have to get up for them. You have to get ready.

“You have to have a short memory in the playoffs. Hopefully we can come back in our barn. We have home ice and we have to take advantage of that.”

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center.

Rangers hang on, even series with Caps

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Entering Saturday’s game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers much of the talk centered around the standard of officiating in the playoffs.

Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t happy with how things ended in Game 1 following Nicklas Backstrom’s hit on Dan Boyle. Barry Trotz told reporters on Saturday morning he didn’t feel things changed much in the postseason.

Officiating took a back seat to the goaltending performances by Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2.

Lundqvist made 30 saves back-stopping the Rangers to a 3-2 win evening the series at 1-1.

Holtby finished with 32 saves in the loss.

“(Holtby) kept us in the first. We weren’t good, we weren’t winning any races, but he’s grown as a goaltender, and he will continue to grow,” said Trotz.”He’s just entering the prime of his career right now. There’s a lot of good things that he’s learned this year and he will to continue to learn.”

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Rangers in Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.

Chris Kreider and Boyle gave New York a 2-0 lead after one period.

Boyle’s goal, which came with Joel Ward off for hooking, was the first power play goal allowed by the Capitals in these playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs got the Caps on the board in the second period.

Derick Brassard scored the eventual game-winner at 6:07 of the third.

Alex Ovechkin scored in highlight-reel fashion to pull the Caps to within one midway through the third; however, there were no last-second heroics from Washington on Saturday afternoon.

“I thought they had some good looks at the end there. Hank had to come up with a couple big saves,” said Vigneault of the final minutes. “They pulled their goaltender and they were coming at us with everything they’ve got.

“Our guys were working real hard and every time we were real close to getting it out, they were finding a way to pull it back in. It was a tough last couple minutes.”

New York’s last eight playoff wins have all been by one goal.

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. You can catch the game at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Video: Ovechkin splits ‘D’, scores while falling

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Alex Ovechkin got the Capitals to within one midway through the third period with a highlight-reel goal.

Ovechkin split Rangers defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, and then beat Henrik Lundqvist top corner while falling.

“The guy pushed him to the outside, there were almost three guys around him and he still got a shot off his knees,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. “He’s a great player.”