In the last 10 playoff-games, the New York Rangers played at the Verizon Center. They managed to put only 11 pucks in the back in the net. It is safe to say that the offensive drought has finally come to an emphatic end.
In a tight and gritty series that saw five one-goal games, Game 7 did not go as expected. Instead of the nail-biter that many anticipated, the Rangers offense exploded for five goals in a lopsided 5-0 victory over the Washington Capitals Monday Night in D.C. to knock them out of the playoffs.
Rugged fourth-liner Arron Asham gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first period, ripping a slap shot from just above the right faceoff-circle passed Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby high glove with 6:41 to play. Linemate Chris Kreider made a nice little drop pass to Asham to pick up an assist, while Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made two key saves on the other end before the play.
From there, the Rangers put their foot on the gas pedal and never let their foot off. They built on that 1-0 lead with a pair of goals in the second to mount a comfortable 3-0 lead early in the period. Rangers forward Taylor Pyatt pounced on a rebound at 3:24 for his first of the playoffs, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto lit the lamp one minutes later, unleashing a shot from the left point that deflected off Capitals forward Troy Brouwer’s skate and into the net 5:34.
In the third period, the Capitals surrendered a back-breaking goal just 13 seconds in when Rangers captain Ryan Callahan took the puck from Capitals defenseman John Erskine at center ice and proceeded to backhand one past Holtby for a commanding four-goal lead. Mats Zuccarello then piled on one more for good measure with adept stick-handling to crush the Capitals’ spirits. Rangers center Derick Brassard, who assisted on Del Zotto’s goal in the second, made a pretty pass cross-ice pass to set up Zuccarello on the goal.
Brassard finished his first postseason battle with seven assists and nine points, good for tops on the team. He was a part of the multi-player deal with Columbus that sent Marian Gaborik packing at the trade deadline in April. Forward Derek Dorsett and defenseman John Moore, also acquired by the Rangers in the Gaborik trade, made a huge impact on the game as well. Dorsett assisted on the Pyatt-goal while Moore was a plus-2 for the game.
Of course, what is a Rangers victory without another spectacular performance between the pipes from Lundqvist, who stopped all 35 shots to blank the Capitals for the second consecutive game. He now has not let up a goal in 120 minutes of play.
With this resounding win, the Rangers move on to take on the Boston Bruins, who came back from 4-1 down in the third period and won in Overtime to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Rangers offense will be put to task against the team that is third in the league in goals allowed. However, as we saw in this series, if the Rangers can put up any semblance of offense, they have a shot against anybody