NHL Playoffs: Grading the Rangers In Their First Round Sweep of the Capitals

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Everyone knew that the New York Rangers would win their first round series with the Washington Capitals. It was just a matter of how many games it would take and how dominant the Blueshirts would be.

The Rangers more than took care of business as they swept the Capitals in what was a very easy series. The Blueshirts dominated every facet of the game and made things look simple.

Let’s take a look at how each Ranger did in the first round:

Goalie
Igor Shesterkin:
 Shesterkin was outstanding in the first round for the Blueshirts. He came up with the key saves, did not allow any soft goals, and finished the series with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

Center
Mika Zibanejad:
 Zibanejad found the scoring touch at the right time as he led the team with seven points in the first round on one goal and six assists. He also led the team with 12 shots, was a +/- +1, and was a key player in all situations for his team. Grade: A

Vincent Trocheck: Trocheck continues to prove how valuable he is to this hockey club. Trocheck finished second on the team with six points (three goals and three assists), won 71.2 percent of the face-offs he took, and scored two power play goals. Grade: A

Barclay Goodrow: After having a terrible regular season, Goodrow has come out flying in this year’s playoffs. He had three points (one goal and two assists), including a shorthanded goal, and looked like the great playoff contributor he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning when they won back-to-back Cups in 2020 and 2021. Grade: B

Alex WennbergSince coming over from the Seattle Kraken, Wennberg has not done much for the Rangers, which now includes the postseason. He did not have any points, turned over the puck several times in Game 3, and had just three shots on goal. Grade: F

Left Wing
Artemi PanarinUnlike in last year’s postseason, Panarin was a key contributor in this year’s first round. He finished the series with three points (two goals and an assist), had two game-winning goals, fired 11 shots on goal, and was engaged on every shift. Grade: 

Chris Kreider: Kreider continues to cement his legacy as an all-time Blueshirt come playoff time. He finished the first round with three points (two goals and an assist), was a strong net-front presence, and had nine shots on goal. Grade: A

Jimmy Vesey: Vesey continues to be a steady presence for the Blueshirts. He had two points in Game 1 and played very well with linemates Goodrow and Matt Rempe. Grade: B

Will Cuylle: Cuylle did what he had to do as a rookie playing in his first postseason in the NHL. He was smart when he had the puck, he drove hard to the net, he was physical, and he did not look out of place. Grade: B

Right Wing
Alexis Lafreniere
Lafreniere continues to show the rest of the league how good of a player he is going to be. He finished the series with four assists, created a lot of scoring chances, was not afraid to go to the dirty areas, and he was his line’s best forechecker. Grade: B+

Jack Roslovic: For the first time in his short tenure as a Ranger, Roslovic looked like he belonged with Kreider and Zibanejad. He finished the series with four points (two goals and two assists) and showed what a great shot he had when he roofed one on Capitals’ goaltender Charlie Lindgren in Game 2. Grade: B

Kaapo Kakko: He may have only had one goal in the sweep, but Kakko was definitely noticeable throughout the first round. He had eight shots on goal, did a great job of controlling the puck in the offensive zone, and also made some smart plays on the other side of the puck. Grade: B-

Matt Rempe: While Rempe did score the series-opening goal, he still needs to do a better job of controlling his body when he hits so that he does not take a penalty. He was in the box three times in the first round, which is something that the Rangers cannot have moving forward. Grade: D

Defense
Adam FoxFox continues to play at a Brian Leetch-like level for the Blueshirts. In his team’s first round sweep, he logged an average of close (21:46) to 22 minutes of ice time per game, had two assists, was smart with the puck, and generated a lot of scoring chances when he was on the ice for his team’s power play opportunities. Grade: A

Ryan Lindgren: Lindgren is Mr. Consistent for the Rangers. Like he did in the regular season, he went out in each game and shut down the Capitals’ best forwards by being physical, blocking shots, and forcing the Capitals to turnover the puck. Grade: B+

Jacob Trouba: Trouba played a very steady defense for the Rangers in the first round. He had two assists, played a physical brand of hockey, was a +/- +2, and averaged close to 20 minutes of ice time in the series. Grade: B 

K’Andre Miller: After having a somewhat inconsistent regular season, Miller played quite well in the first round. He was smart with the puck, was able to use his long reach to knock the Capitals off the puck, and he even managed to score a shorthanded goal in Game 2. Grade: B

Erik GustafssonAfter a solid first regular season with the Blueshirts, Gustafsson continued his consistent play in the first round. He had two assists, had four shots on goal, was a +/- + 1, and did what he had to do to help out Shesterkin. Grade: B

Braden Schneider: While there is no doubt that Schneider is one of the team’s better defenseman, he definitely did not have the greatest first round. He finished the series at a +/- -2, and 12 penalty minutes. The Rangers need him on the ice if they want to have success in future rounds. Grade: C+

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.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. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

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.

One thought on “NHL Playoffs: Grading the Rangers In Their First Round Sweep of the Capitals”

  1. Patrick, loved reading your recap.
    I think you were too harsh on Wenny….stats not showing 3 giveaways…we were 6 for 6 on PK and he logged many of those PK minutes…and for the series he centered a line that never gave up a goal, almost never gave up a shot on goal, had tremendous possession time and scoring opportunities. Yes, they ( him and KK) should score more. ( an F ? )
    Going from a top 6 forward in Seattle to a third line center, his scoring is expected to decrease.
    In any event, Good recap. Let’s Go Rangers.

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