Fourth Line Drives New York Rangers to Big Game 1 Victory Over the Washington Capitals

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To succeed in the Stanley Cup playoffs, teams must have all of their lines going.

It is crucial that each team’s big stars play well, that everyone plays a 200-foot game, and that they consistently get the goaltending they need to lift hockey’s Holy Grail come June. It is a pretty simple formula.

With that said, it is nice to sneak something unexpected into the formula. This variable could end up throwing the opposing team’s game off in a big enough way that it leads to an easy victory.

That is exactly what happened in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers’ fourth line, consisting of Matt Rempe, Barclay Goodrow, and Jimmy Vesey, exceeded expectations in a big way and helped the team to a dominant 4-1 victory to take a 1-0 series lead.

The line combined for five points in the afternoon, and when it came time to name the three stars of the game, the first star was Vesey, the second star was Goodrow, and the third star was Rempe. I would think that not many fans and pundits had this occurring on their Game 1 bingo card.

The game certainly did not get off to a great start for Rempe, as he took a charging penalty just over two minutes into the game. This was probably due to being amped up, but it should be a lesson for Rempe to learn to control his intensity and use it positively.

It was Rempe who got the first goal of the game 4:17 in the second period. He was in the right place at the right time to to one-time a Vesey pass into the net behind bewildered Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren.

After the game, Vesey told NHL.com reporter David Satriano that Rempe knows how to make an impact.

“I think any game he’s in the lineup, he’s affected the game,” Vesey said of Rempe. “I think it’s been fun playing with him. He shows up every night for the team and it’s great to see him get that goal. It was a big goal in the game, obviously, but the look on his face was pretty cool, too.”

Just over two minutes later, Vesey found the back of the net when he fired what seemed like a harmless wrist shot past Lindgren. The play started when Goodrow won the faceoff to the left of Lindgren, and Vesey took it toward the center of the slot and fired it for his first goal for the postseason.

Jacob Trouba told reporters after the game that he was not shocked to see the fourth line play so well Sunday afternoon as it was something that the team had become accustomed to all season.

“They’ve been good for us all year and it was big for them to play as well as they did tonight, score a couple goals for us,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. “I think we have really good depth throughout our lineup and each line can score goals and defend and play solid hockey. That’s the strength of our team, so I don’t think anybody in here is surprised by that.”

While it was nice that the Rangers also got goals from Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider, getting goals and points from their fourth line could end up being a big deal. If that line can continue to chip in points here and there and the top six forwards can get their games into high gear, it could help the team go a long way when it matters most.

In this episode, we discuss the variety of ways this offseason can go, Laf vs Stutzle and Q/A Mailbag.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Many Directions, One Goal
  2. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  3. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  4. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown
  5. It's Not Worth Winning if You Can't Win-berg

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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