Rangers Dominate Capitals in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden

There's no secret that Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of professional sports, but when it's the playoffs the Garden turns into a much louder version of Eden's Gate. When the Garden crowd is rocking it either brings out the best version of a player, or gets into your head so much you can't withstand the energy.
Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game One
Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

After winning the Presidents trophy off a 54 game season, the New York Rangers looked to strike first blood against a team that most people argue shouldn't be in the playoffs: The Washington Capitals. The Rangers went into this series as the major favorite, and yesterday they showed why the Blueshirts posed a league best 114 points. Things became interesting at MSG after a scoreless first period and a shocking 0/2 powerplay. Unfortunately for Washington, Charlie Lindgren slowly got exposed throughout the game and it led to the 4-1 Rangers win.

Rangers Strike 3 Times in 2:06

With the game still deadlocked at 0, the Rangers said "enough is enough, lets turn up the gas." With about 15:46 left in the 2nd period, the Rangers got on a rush near the Capitals offensive zone. The Rangers had a line of Jimmy Vesey, Barclay Goodrow, and fan favorite Matthew Rempe. Vesey played the puck behind the net, passed it to Goodrow and then back to Vesey. Slowly skating towards the net was the 6'7" Rempe, as he cut back to the left side, took the pass and scored. 1-0 Rangers. Rempe's goal sent the garden into a FRENZY. The fan favorite rookie has now ascended to cult figure status.

23 seconds later, the Capitals had the puck in their own zone and turned it over after a hit by Alexis Lafreniere that some say could've been a penalty. Lafreniere dished it to Vincent Trocheck and Troch found Panarin. The Rangers MVP found the back of the net with ease. 2-0 Rangers.

But the Rangers weren't done scoring yet. With 13:37 to go, the Rangers had an offensive zone faceoff. The Rangers have won 52% of faceoffs this season, and score a good amount of goals off of faceoffs. Whether it is redirections from the point, Shots off the draw, Or a screen in front and a ripper from the point, the Blueshirts have been deadly on faceoffs this 2023-24 campaign. That trend continued with a faceoff win by Barclay Goodrow who was knocked down on the draw, leaving a loose puck for Jimmy Vesey. Vesey skated over to his left and fired one that bounced off of Charlie Lindgren and in for another goal. 3-0 Rangers. Realistically, Lindgren should've saved that one but I don't think anyone was complaining.

Igor Shesterkin, Stress Free 20 Save Game

There was not much to be concerned about going into Game 1. Even if the Rangers struggled to score against Lindgren, Igor Shesterkin would be sure to keep the struggling Capitals offense off the board. Fortunately, that didn't need to happen as the Rangers offense kept it a stress free game with their 3 goals in 2 minutes. Shesterkin played well and did enough for a 20 save win. He did give up a goal however to Dylan Strome, but a quality start for Shesterkin going 20/21.

What's Next

Game 2 is tomorrow night at the Garden at 7pm. The Rangers look to gain a 2-0 advantage before making a dreaded trip to DC, where the Rangers have struggled for years. However if the Rangers keep up what they did on Sunday, this will be a short and brief series.

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