Rangers Must Use Killer Instinct in Game 4 Against the Capitals

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers may be up three games to none in their first-round series with the Washington Capitals, but this series could just as easily be 2-1 Rangers or 2-1 Capitals.

In their 4-3 win on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts let the Capitals hang around in the game for too long. The Capitals came very close to tying the game as the Rangers were sloppy in their end and were ultimately lucky to escape New York up two games to none in the series

Three nights later, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., the Rangers won 3-1 but were outplayed by the Capitals. The Rangers took a lot of penalties, they were outshot 29-22, and their All-Star goaltender Igor Shesterkin is the reason why the Rangers have a chance to sweep the Capitals on Sunday night, April 28.

The Rangers need to do several things to close out the series in short order. For starters, Artemi Panarin needs to contribute offensively.

After scoring a goal in Game 1, the Capitals have done a great job of keeping Panarin off the board, as he has just one point. If Panarin can get his game going early in Game 4 whether it be a great assist or goal, it will go a long way in making sure the series is over quickly.

Speaking of Panarin getting going offensively, the Rangers’ other offensive spark plugs such as Mika Zibanejad (five points), Vincent Trocheck (five points), Chris Kreider (three points), and Alexis Lafreniere (three points) must continue to pick up the scoring slack in place of the slumping Panarin. These four players have combined for 16 points over the team’s first three playoff games.

The Blueshirts also need to stay out of the penalty box. In their Game 3 victory, the Rangers gave the Capitals six power plays and the Rangers were lucky to kill all of them off.

Yes, the Capitals’ power play has been inept, and yes, the Rangers have scored two shorthanded goals in this series. Nevertheless, a team is tempting fate when they do this, so the Rangers must make sure that they play a disciplined game on Sunday night.

Lastly, the Rangers must knock the Capitals out of the game early and not give any reason for the Capitals to believe that they can get back into this series. Yes, it is easier said and done, but the Rangers should go out and do everything they can to score a goal early and then keep their foot on the gas.

In Game 2, the Rangers took their foot off the gas, and the Capitals almost came back to tie the game late in the third period to force overtime. In Game 3, the Capitals dominated a lot of the play, but because of Shesterkin and their penalty kill, they were able to win.

If the Rangers want to make a run at the Stanley Cup, they need to win at least one series in short order. The Rangers have a glorious chance to accomplish this on Sunday night by sweeping the Capitals right off the ice.

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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