Rangers Hold Off Caps, Force Game 7

Despite a ferocious comeback attempt by the Capitals, the Rangers managed to hold on for a 4-3 win in Game 6, forcing a Game 7 on Wednesday. Chris Kreider scored twice, while Rick Nash and Dan Boyle added goals in the 3rd to make it 4-1 before the Capitals stormed back, leading to a nervy ending. Henrik Lundqvist was superb, stopping 42 of 45 shots in the victory.

Game Recap:

Kreider gave the Rangers the lead just 40 seconds into the game, lifting a loose puck past Braden Holtby after shaking off Matt Niskanen in front of the net. After the Caps pressured the Rangers on the opening shift of the game, Jesper Fast made a great play along the boards to slide the puck off the boards to a streaking Kreider. You probably won’t see a better representation of Kreider’s elite speed and strength than this goal.

The Rangers followed up Kreider’s goal with a strong push in the opening minutes as both Kreider and J.T. Miller had golden opportunities but failed to score. Washington responded well in a frantic 1st period, but Lundqvist was spectacular early on, including this save on Troy Brouwer.

With Brouwer in the penalty box in the final seconds of the period, Kreider scored his 2nd of the game with just .3 seconds left. Derek Stepan won the face-off back to Derick Brassard, whose shot deflected its way to the front of the net, where John Carlson inadvertenly kicked the puck through Holtby’s legs right to an open Kreider. The play was obviously reviewed, but the replay showed that it was a good goal.

Jason Chimera cut the Rangers’ lead to one 28 seconds into the 2nd period after a double deflection in front of Lundqvist. A wrist shot by Joel Ward was first redirected by Evgeny Kunznetsov before bouncing off Kevin Klein right to Chimera.

Following a strong opening period, the Rangers went quiet for long stretches in the 2nd as Washington dominated the play, especially late. The Rangers were fortunate to get out of the period still ahead, mostly down to Lundqvist being phenomenal once again.

The trend of goals early in periods carried over into the 3rd, where Nash scored 54 seconds in to make it 3-1. Following a good chance, Martin St.Louis worked the puck out to Nash, who out-waited Holtby before sliding the puck into the net.

Boyle continued the Rangers’ offensive outburst a few minutes later, firing home a slap shot past a screened Holtby off a great no-look feed by James Sheppard at 15:36.

Boyle’s goal sparked the Capitals, who started a surge that lasted the rest of the game. Kuznetsov made it 4-2 with 12:20 left after a miscommunication between Stepan and Fast allowed the forward space to rip a shot from in close past Lundqvist.

Washington’s push paid off again shortly after, with Joel Ward scoring with 9:27 to make it 4-3 Rangers. Ward jammed the puck behind Lundqvist on his second try during a mini scramble in front of the net.

Down just a goal, the Capitals held the puck in the Rangers’ zone for seemingly the rest of the game, including on a power play with just under three minutes left, but Lundqvist stood tall to preserve the win. Ryan McDonagh left the game late in the 3rd after receiving a crushing hit from Alex Ovechkin, though fortunately he returned for the final minutes.

Charts:

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Game 7 is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Game time is 7:30 PM eastern.

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