If Braden Holtby keeps this up, the Rangers will be on the beach by Saturday.
The Capitals’ netminder was a fraction better than Henrik Lundqvist Monday night in Game 3 of the best-of-seven semi-final series between Washington and New York, knocking away 30 Rangers shots in a 1-0 shutout win for the home team in D.C..
Washington’s defense did more than its part as well, as Matt Niskanen blocked seven shots and John Carlson and Mike Green each contributed five.
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The Rangers had several strong scoring opportunities in the second and third periods. Martin St. Louis had a breakaway with 6:40 left in the second but Brooks Orpik challenged him from behind and St. Louis flung the puck directly into the chest of Holtby. The Rangers then had a flurry of chances in front of Holtby with seven minutes left in the third but couldn’t punch it home. Finally, with Lundqvist pulled, Rick Nash nearly tipped one home off a Derick Brassard shot with 50 seconds left. The puck bounced up in the air for half a second but Holtby was able to secure it and ultimately a Caps win.
The one time Lundqvist was beat came at the 7:31 mark of the second when Jay Beagle followed up his own shot, skated around the back of the net and poked it in off of Keith Yandle’s skate.
Lundqvist made 21 saves on the night while Holtby finished with an even 30.
Nash got seven shots on goal in Game 3, but none found the back of the net.
In defeat, the Rangers did a solid job containing Alexander Ovechkin, who finished with just four shots on goal. Ovechkin came into the game with three points in the series.
The Capitals won the faceoff battle, 40-18, in Game 3.