Capitals Drop Regular-Season Finale At MSG, 3-2, Draw Panthers In Round One

Photo: Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the New York Rangers by a score of 3-2 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night to end the 2021-22 regular season as the second wild-card in the Eastern Conference with a 44-26-12 (.610 points percentage).

The Capitals will face the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and start on the road. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 30 saves in the loss.

Capitals’ Lines at Rangers

Graphic: @Capitals

Right-wing T.J. Oshie, who flipped spots with Tom Wilson in the top-six forward group after the Capitals’ 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday, played in his 900th career NHL game. Center Connor McMichael came into the lineup for Nicklas Backstrom. Left-wings Anthony Mantha and Conor Sheary in addition to Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Johan Larsson also traded places In the lineup.

The Rangers rested left-wing Artemi Panarin and center Andrew Copp with the second seed in the Metropolitan Division locked up entering the game.

Scratched: Backstrom, LHD Matt Irwin, LHD Michal Kempny

Injured: LW Alex Ovechkin (upper-body, missed third game, out day-to-day); LW Carl Hagelin (eye, 26th, indefinite)

First Period

The Capitals led 12-10 in shots, 6-3 in takeaways, 5-4 in blocked shots, and 6-5 in hits through one.

The Rangers won 62% of the draws in the first.

Each team did not score on one power play and gave the puck away five times in the opening 20 minutes.

Second Period

After right-wing Kaapo Kakko picked up a loose puck along the boards, he fed center Filip Chytil, who deked and tucked it in at the left post to open the scoring for the Rangers 3:26 in.

Defenseman Justin Schultz pinched in the slot and one-timed a rebound in the net after Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev stopped defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk’s shot from the top 35 seconds later. Van Riemsdyk set a new career-high for points in a season (16 assists, 17 points). This is the second time in franchise history six defensemen have recorded at least 17 points in a season (also 1983-84). The goal marked the sixth time this season the Capitals have scored a goal within a minute of an opponent’s goal.

Defenseman John Carlson deked, stepped in, and picked the corner to give the Capitals the lead with his career-best 17th goal of the season after center Evgeny Kuznetsov banked a pass back off of the boards to him on the power play 1:12 following Schultz’s goal. Carlson’s seven power play goals this season are the most in his career. Carlson became the 11th defenseman in franchise history to score seven power play goals in a season, and this year marks the first occurrence since Mike Green scored 10 power play goals in the 2009-10 season. Kuznetsov now has 78 points (24 goals) in 79 games, the second-highest points per game rate (0.99) in a season in his career (2017-18: 1.05).

Left-wing Alexis Lafreniere finished center Mika Zibanejad’s cross-ice feed into a wide open net at the left post on a two-on-one rush that began with a defensive zone exit to tie it with 4:16 left in the period.

The Capitals led 24-23 in shots, 12-10 in hits, 12-4 in blocked shots, 8-6 in takeaways, and struck once on four power plays through 40 minutes.

The Rangers led 13-12 in second-period shots, won 59% of the draws, did not take advantage of their lone extra man opportunity, and had 14 giveaways while the Capitals tallied 18 in the opening two stanzas.

Third Period

Center Dryden Hunt got the puck at the bottom of the right circle after sneaking behind the Capitals’ defense. He got a feed by right-wing Kaapo Kakko, deked to the right post, and buried one into an open net to break the tie for the Rangers 6:42 into the third.

The Capitals led 36-33 in shots (including 12-10 in the third), 15-14 in hits, 16-7 in blocked shots, 14-9 in takeaways, and struck once on five power plays.

The Rangers won 61% of the draws, did not take advantage of two extra man opportunities, and had 23 giveaways while the Capitals tallied 28.

Each team earned 15 hits.

Next game: Round 1, Game 1 at Panthers, Date/Time/Networks TBD

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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1 Response to Capitals Drop Regular-Season Finale At MSG, 3-2, Draw Panthers In Round One

  1. Anonymous says:

    Better effort.

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