Caps Defeat Rangers at MSG to Win Fifth in a Row

michael banner 2The Washington Capitals had a quick turnaround after protecting their home ice with a 3-1 over the Red Wings Friday afternoon. After the game was over, the team headed to New York for a Saturday matinee affair with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden to kick off the Capitals’ annual dads/mentors trip. The Caps rallied and defeated the Rangers 5-3 to regain sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division which they’ll hold if the Blue Jackets fall to the Penguins Saturday night. 

The Capitals snapped the Rangers seven-game winning streak at MSG and the Caps have earned a point in eight straight contests against the NYR (7-0-1).

At 9:12 in the first period, Jimmy Vesey put the home team up 1-0 and the Rangers took a two-goal lead at 9:39 with a goal from Brady Skejei. The Caps responded with three unanswered goals to close out the second period. First Nic Dowd put the visitors on the board at 10:10 with his second goal of the year deflecting in a shot from John Carlson. Carlson and Brett Connolly with the assists.

Late in the second at 16:27, Jakub Vrana used his speed for a breakaway goal to knot the score. It was Vrana’s sixth of the year.

With 30 seconds until the second intermission, another shot from Carlson as deflected in. This time it was Alex Ovechkin with his 17th goal of the season. Carlson and Dmitry Orlov with the helpers.

At 5:30 in the third, the Rangers tied the game with a goal from Ryan Strome. At 13:36 the Caps took the lead. Vrana came up ice with the puck, fed it to Carlson who found Connolly for his fourth goal of the season.

That was the third assist of the game for Carlson, who Connolly said after the game seemed like a fourth forward out there. According to Carlson, he didn’t even see Connolly coming down the ice but rather hearing someone wide open screaming for the puck.

“He was really giving it to me,” said Carlson.

Tom Wilson tallied with his ninth point in seven games with an empty net goal to seal the win. Wilson carries a five-game point streak and the Caps, who’ve been up-and-down during his time suspended, are 6-1 since Wilson’s been back in the lineup. Coincidence? I think not.

The Caps won their fifth game in a row despite allowing the game’s first goal in four out of the five. Connolly elaborated more on how the Stanley Cup champs have found their swagger.

“We’re starting to get that feeling on the bench. Guys are alive and talking and being more alert and our habits are getting better. We’re getting there,” said Connolly.

After a day off on Sunday, the Caps are back in action Monday night across the pond in Brooklyn. They’ll be reunited with old pal Barry Trotz and the Islanders. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

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