The New York Rangers were talking about how they needed to play better defensively and stop turning the puck over in order to get things going for them. On Wednesday against the Washington Capitals, they got back to playing solid hockey especially in the neutral zone.
The Rangers had been turning the puck over in the neutral zone more than any team in the NHL. The neutral-zone turnovers were especially bad because it was the main cause the Rangers were giving up so many odd man rushes. Against the Capitals, the Rangers drastically reduced the number of turnovers they had been committing. While there were still a couple of mistakes on turnovers, the Rangers were able to back-check hard and break up plays.
The 4-on-4 play by the Rangers was a real bright spot in the game. John Moore scored the first goal of the game in a 4-on-4 situation. The defensemen were real active in jumping into the forecheck. Usually the Rangers would not have their defensemen jump into the play and forecheck but now the Rangers are trying to create more offense. The line of Brad Richards, Derick Brassard and Ryan Callahan was clearly the best line on the ice for both teams. They would continually keep the puck in the Capitals zone for over a minute. Richards added two assists to raise his team leading point total to seven assists.
While the Rangers still have areas to improve on, tonight was a good sign to showing that the team can still play defense. The way they limited their neutral turnovers was the key to the team’s success in the win.