Capitals Hold Off Rangers, 5-4; Tom Wilson Strikes Twice

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers by a score of 5-4 at Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon for their 10th win in 11 games (10-1-0) and 15th in their last 18 (15-2-1). The win lifted the Capitals two points ahead of the New York a Islanders for first place in the East Division with two games in hand. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who became the only goalie in the NHL among ones who have played at least 10 games this season to earn just one regulation loss (8-1-1), made 16 saves in the win.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Rangers

Photo: @Capitals

Forward Daniel Sprong was elevated to the top-line while Conor Sheary was promoted to the second and Jakub Vrana was demoted to the third. Center Lars Eller missed his seventh straight game with a lower-body injury.

First Period

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad put the puck off of Capitals forward T.J. Oshie’s face from behind the goal-line in a bank attempt and defenseman Dmitry Orlov swatted the puck off of the goal-line with his stick to keep it a scoreless game.

The Capitals led 11-6 in shots, 12-7 in hits, 6-3 in blocked shots, failed to score on one power play, and had one giveaway while the Rangers had five through 20 minutes.

The Rangers won 54% of the draws in the first.

Each team recorded two takeaways in the opening stanza.

Second Period

Forward Tom Wilson poked a rebound on the backhand in the crease to open the scoring for the Capitals at 10:43 after forward Jakub Vrana raced down the ice from the defensive zone.

Captain Alex Ovechkin threw the puck towards the net from the goal line after getting a feed by Oshie from behind the net to extend the lead to 2-0 1:14 later. The goal was Ovechkin’s ninth in 11 games and 11th in his last 13.

Wilson backhanded a rebound out of midair after goaltender Keith Kinkaid stopped center Nicklas Backstrom’s initial shot in the chest for the Capitals’ third goal in a span of 4:24.

The Capitals led 19-11 in shots, including 8-5 in the second, 26-14 in hits, 13-6 in blocked shots, had three giveaways while the Rangers had seven, won 55% of the draws, and did not score on two power plays through two periods.

The Rangers went 0-for-three on the power play in the first 40 minutes.

Each team posted four takeaways in the first two stanzas.

Third Period

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov poked a one-timer at the front of the net past the blocker of Kinkaid after getting a feed by forward Carl Hagelin from behind the net to make it 4-0 5:10 into the third.

Forward Colin Blackwell skated around the net and stuffed the puck in from the backside with Oshie’s stick down after getting it from defenseman Adam Fox to put the Rangers on the board at 6:42.

Blackwell cut the lead in half on a one-timer in front after getting a cross-ice feed from center Kevin Rooney at the side of the goal off of a turnover by the Capitals 2:59 later.

Defenseman Justin Schultz threw a wrister towards the net and Oshie deflected the shot from the slot to restore the Capitals’ three-goal lead with 8:14 remaining after Schultz got a feed from Orlov.

Forward Alexis Lafreniere followed up forward Julien Gauthier’s shot down the right wing from the left dot to get the Rangers back within two with 7:42 left.

Forward Chris Krieder deflected center Ryan Strome’s feed from the right dot at the side of the goal to get the Rangers within one on the power play with 3:52 remaining.

The Capitals led 22-20 in shots, 36-21 in hits, 20-7 in blocked shots, had seven giveaways while the Rangers had eight, won 55% of the draws, and did not score on three power plays.

The Rangers led 9-3 in third-period shots and 7-6 in takeaways. They scored once on four power plays.

The Capitals follow the Rangers to Manhattan to close out the home-and-home series between the two teams on Tuesday. Action from Madison Square Garden can be seen on NBC Sports Washington beginning at 7 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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