It is clear this spring’s Rangers-Capitals series will not be 60-minute long staring contests.
The Capitals took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, 3-1, in a manner decidedly opposite last season’s Rangers series win.
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Unlike 2012, when the Dale Hunter-run Caps played to avoid mistakes, new head coach Adam Oates turned Game 1 into a track meet instead of the physical, grinding game the Rangers believe they must play in order to be successful.
Carl Hagelin’s wraparound 16:44 into the series gave the Rangers an early lead, but it would be their only goal.
The Rangers could not grow the lead, despite four power plays, and Washington continued to press. It paid off when Alex Ovechkin one-timed Mike Green’s rebound for a power-play goal at 6:59 of the second to tie the game at 1-1. Ovechkin’s goal was his 31st in 52 playoff games.
Eight minutes later Marcus Johansson potted the go-ahead goal on a semi-breakaway. Jason Chimera’s goal 46 seconds later ended the scoring.
The Rangers had a chance to cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the third, when John Moore’s off-angled shot hit Braden Holtby, who contorted his body into the cage. But replays were inconclusive and it was ruled no goal.
Lundqvist made 29 saves. Holtby stopped 34-of-35 shots.
The Rangers were 0-for-4 on the power play. Washington went 1-for-4.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.