After soundly whipping the Nashville Predators 5-2 Saturday night, the Washington Capitals hoped to build off that performance against the New York Rangers, and build they did, establishing a 3-0 lead in the second period that the Rangers couldn’t overcome. Caps win 4-1.
After a scoreless first period, Jason Chimera whacked in a Martin Erat spinaround shot that left Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist sprawling on his back in the crease to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. Until then, Lundqvist hadn’t allowed a Capitals goal in 202 minutes, dating back to game 6 of the 2013 playoffs.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Capitals scored on Lundqvist again. This time, it was Steve Oleksy’s goal, his first of the season, assisted by Jay Beagle. Oleksy returned to the lineup against New York after being a healthy scratch for the last 7 games.
To pile on, Mikhail Grabovski was hooked by Ryan McDonagh on a breakaway, and earned a penalty shot. Grabovski went with a slapshot instead of a fancy move, which went top shelf on Lundqvist. The Caps led 3-0 by the end of the second period.
Nate Schmidt slapped home his second goal of the season, which appeared to deflect off Eric Fehr’s stick. The scoresheet credited Fehr with the goal at one point, but most recently has it as Schmidt’s goal. Either way, it was icing on the cake for the Caps, who played one of their best games of the season against a tough New York Rangers team.
Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who is serving as Braden Holtby’s backup while Michal Neuvirth recovers from an ankle injury, stopped 30 of 31 shots in his second career NHL start.
The Capitals have the day off Monday before hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center on Tuesday, December 10.