Glaring Differences Between the Rangers and Capitals Through Two Games

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you have been watching the first round series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, it should be easy to see why the Blueshirts are up two games to none after Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Below are the differences between the two clubs and how they have enabled the Rangers to jump out to a quick lead in this series. If the Blueshirts continue to own the Capitals in these particular areas, this series could end up being over soon.

Offensive Pressure
The Rangers offense is unrelenting when they get going. The Blueshirts know how to keep the puck in the offensive zone, are not afraid to put pucks on the net, are great at establishing a forecheck, and know how to go to the dirty areas to create scoring chances.

The Capitals do not do those things consistently enough to win a hockey game. They rely on shots from the outside and hope that it either beats Rangers All-Star goaltender Igor Shesterkin cleanly or that it causes Shesterkin to give up a juicy rebound.

Special Teams
The Capitals cannot continue to take penalties if they want to get back in this series. The Rangers scored two power play goals on Tuesday night by creating traffic in front of Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren, finding open space in the slot, and controlling the puck.

At the other end of the ice, the Capitals’ power play, even though they scored two with the man advantage on Tuesday night, has not been as consistent. They have not been able to establish any zone time, get a lot of pucks to the net, and they are also struggling to set it up as the Rangers have been quick to attack the puck.

Speaking of the Capitals’ power play, they give up more scoring chances against than they create offense of their own. In both Game 1 and on Tuesday night, the Rangers created plenty of scoring opportunities while killing penalties as Rangers’ defenseman K’Andre Miller managed to score a shorthanded goal to make it 4-2 late in the second period off of a beautiful passing play between Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

Goaltending
The Capitals are being outclassed in between the pipes by Igor Shesterkin. Through two games, Shesterkin has stopped 43 of 47 shots, has come up with the big save when his team has needed one, and has not allowed any soft goals.

The same cannot be said of Lindgren. He has allowed eight goals on 58 shots, has had trouble controlling his rebounds, and has yet to make a big save that has allowed the Capitals to win a hockey game, which is something that needs to change starting in Game 3 if they want to give themselves a shot to win the series. 

The Rangers’ Best Players Are Playing Well
The Rangers have a well-balanced offense, and right now, they are showing that in a big way. Players like Zibanejad (three points), Vincent Trocheck (three points), Alexis Lafreniere (three points), Kreider (two points), and Artemi Panarin (one point) are all contributing.

Even the team’s fourth line has been producing in this series. Matt Rempe (one point), Barclay Goodrow (two points), and Jimmy Vesey (two points) combined for five points in the team’s first two games.

For the Capitals, it is worrisome that Alex Ovechkin has yet to hit the scoresheet. He does not have any points or shots on goal through his club’s first two games and if those things do not change on home ice, the brooms may come out for the Rangers come the end of Game 4.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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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