Lundqvist, Vesey star in gutsy comeback win over the Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua


Photo courtesy of Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images.

After a poor start to the game, the Rangers’ offense sparked an incredible turnaround, and the Rangers (3-2-0) came away from the Verizon Center with a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals (3-1-1).

The Capitals scored just 1:33 and followed that up with another goal from Ovechkin in the second period, as well as excellent goaltending from Braden Holtby. But the Rangers came out firing in the second period, fighting to get a 3-2 lead and having Henrik Lundqvist do the rest.

Here’s the recap with my thoughts and observations (GIFs of key plays at the end);

  • The game started about as poorly as it could have, with the Capitals immediately generating pressure and turning that into a goal. Lars Eller expertly deflected a shot from Brooks Orpik to put the Caps on the board.
  • It took a while for the Rangers to get going in this period, but they did eventually. Braden Holtby did everything he could to keep the Caps ahead. JT Miller tipped a shot onto the post, Nash was crashing to the net, and the team had a few other chances.
  • But Alex Ovechkin scored on Lundqvist. Again. It feels like he scores every game against the Rangers. It was an expert goal, using Marc Staal as a screen and using an inside-out to confuse Lundqvist. Pure brilliance.
  • The second period was a different story. The Rangers had only five shots on goal but managed to score on three of them. The game was wide open in this period.
  • Brandon Pirri scored the first goal just 2:21 into the second period. Adam Clendening started the transition out of the zone perfectly, Miller passed it to Pirri and he rifled an excellent shot over the glove of Holtby to cut the lead to one.
  • Brandon Pirri is a fantastic hockey player. I talked about his elite shooting talent, and this was an example of it. He has a fantastic release and one of the hardest, more accurate shots I’ve seen. I love his game and what he brings to the lineup.
  • Zibanejad was whistled for a double-minor high sticking penalty and this marked a turning point in the game. Luckily, the Rangers were able to kill it off, and Michael Grabner had a big part in that by backchecking and preventing an easy tap in goal at the side of the net. That was their one great chance and Grabner stopped it.
  • After a Zibnejad missed breakaway he drew a penalty and the Rangers went on the power play. They looked a lot less sloppy this time around and cashed in. Stepan sent it on net, Nash made a fantastic little pass to Jimmy Vesey and he slid it past Holtby to tie the game at two.
  • Adam Clendening didn’t get an assist on the Vesey goal, but he drew two defenders to him before passing to an open Stepan. It’s a shame he only plays like 12 minutes a night because he’s been good when he’s on the ice. C’mon AV.
  • Henrik Lundqvist made his best save of the game this period, kicking out the right pad on a Kuznetsov breakaway. This was a game changer, and kept the Rangers from losing their momentum. He was fantastic tonight and it was nice to see the old Hank back.
  • Then exactly three minutes after his first goal, Vesey scored another goal. And this one was an absolute beauty. Zuccarello and Zibanejad intercepted the puck in the neutral zone, and Vesey did the rest. He outmuscled Alzner, deked past Holtby’s poke check, waited for him to open up and slit it five hole. All of the scouts said that the Rangers hit a home run in signing Vesey, and this was an example of what is yet to come.
  • Only three NYR rookies have scored three goals in the first five games of the season since 1987: Derek Stepan (’11), Oscar Lindberg (’15) and Jimmy Vesey (’16). (via @StatBoy_Steven on Twitter).
  • I may have lied about the Kuznetsov save being Lundqvist’s best. He also made a fantastic save on Ovechkin, wide open on the side of the net after a cross crease pass, but Hank’s left pad was there so quickly. Brilliant stop.
  • The third period was the Lundqvist show. The Rangers defense actually did a pretty decent job here limiting high-danger shots, and Lundqvist did most of the rest. Kevin Klein saved a goal by blocking a shot headed for the net while Lundqvist was down following a save. Hank made 11 saves and Rick Nash sealed the win with an empty net goal.
  • Ryan McDonagh had another fantastic game. He’s been so good this season and is really taking control when on the ice. He also picked up an assist and has four of them in five games, as well as 17 points (1-16-17) in 23 career games against the Capitals.
  • It was really encouraging to see Henrik Lundqvist return to form. He looked really good, his best game all season, and definitely made some huge saves that prevented a Rangers loss.
  • Same goes to the defense. They mostly looked good tonight. I’m starting to regain confidence in Marc Staal, who was victimized on the Ovechkin goal but had a strong game. Klein adds another steadying force at the back end, and McDonagh looks amazing.
  • Another assist for Zibanejad, who now has six points (2-4-6) in five games. Also FYI, Brandon Pirri and Jimmy Vesey are really good.
  • Underrated performers tonight, Michael Grabner and Josh Jooris. Grabner is multidimensional, fantastic defensively and a threat to score with his speed and some offensive skill. Josh Jooris is just very sound defensively and fantastic at suppressing shots.
  • The Rangers play the Coyotes at MSG tomorrow night at 7 p.m.






  1. Jimmy Vesey – 2 G, 3 SOG, 17:19 TOT
  2. Henrik Lundqvist – 26 SV, .923 SV%
  3. Brandon Pirri – 1 G, 2 SOG, 2 HT, 11:16 TOT

Posted on October 23, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. There were a few guys I thought played a good game. I thought Staal had a good game. I realize he was the D man on Ovechkin when Ovi scored but Staal was right with him and it’s not like he was faked out or anything. We’ve seen Ovi make that wrist shot a million times. Looked liked he may have used Staal as a screen. I think Pirri did the same on his goal.But overall I just think Staal was pretty good. I’m watching the tape of the game now so now I’ll probably find a bunch of mistakes by Staal. Lol


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