Capitals stop Rangers, Grubauer gets first career win

Denis Gorman, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The adjective calm is not often used in reference to a goaltender who won his first National Hockey League game.
But according to Washington Capitals left winger Jason Chimera, the word fits goaltender Philipp Grubauer perfectly.
"He was awesome. He looked really calm back there," Chimera said after Grubauer made 30 saves in only his second National Hockey League start to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
"When a goalie looks calm, he usually saves a lot of pucks. He made a lot of saves at key times in the game."
Chimera, defenseman Steve Oleksy, center Mikhail Grabovski and defenseman Nate Schmidt scored for Washington, which has won two in a row.
"We've got to get some ugly goals against (New York goaltender) Henrik (Lundqvist)," Chimera said. "We've got to get goals like that, for sure. Everyone really played well and defensively we played really well."
Lundqvist stopped 32 of 36 shots for New York, who has lost consecutive games for the fifth time in the 2013-14 season.
Washington scored twice in a 25-second span of the second period to take a 2-0 lead. Chimera poked a loose puck past Lundqvist 2:28 into the period. Oleksy's slapshot at 2:53 increased the lead to 2-0.
"It's big," Oleksy said of the two quick goals. "I think you could feel it on the bench. We felt them deflate a little bit too. It was nice."
Before the end of the period, Grabovski pushed the advantaged to 3-0 when he ripped a slap shot on a penalty shot past the New York netminder. Grabovski was given the penalty shot after New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh hooked him on a breakaway.
"I just kind of decided right away to shoot," Grabovski said. "He is a good goalie moving side to side, so it's really hard to score. You have to shoot. I was happy I scored against a great goalie."
Washington's lead grew to 4-0 on Schmidt's second of the season.
New York was headed for its sixth shutout loss until left winger Benoit Pouliot redirected defenseman Michael Del Zotto's point shot with 1:53 left.
The game mostly resembled a track meet as the teams skated up-and-back, but did not generate much in terms of sustained time in the attacking zone. The Capitals finished with 36 shots while New York only generated 31.
"We didn't get what we wanted (done)," New York left winger Rick Nash said. "I don't know the specifics. I have to go back and watch video, but it was one of those nights where it wasn't good enough."
Heading into the third period with a 3-0 lead, Washington intensified its defensive effort. New York did not generate a shot on goal until 8:01 into the period.
The Rangers' best chance to get back into the game came when Olesky was called for holding New York center Derick Brassard 10:53 into the third. But the Rangers were only had four shots on goal in the two-minute power play.
All five goals came at even strength. Washington was 0-for-2 on the power play while New York went 0-for-2.
"We did a really good job early in the third to stifle them and the place was kind of quiet, which is a good feeling on the road," Washington coach Adam Oates said.
"I talked after the second about we have to close the door. Let's work on being a better team and playing a good third period and continue what we do to have success tonight. I thought the first 10 minutes and then we let the game get easier."
Washington improved to 16-12-2. New York dropped to 15-15-1.
"Right now we are a .500 hockey team," New York coach Alain Vigneault said. "When the other team scores a goal we don't seem to have much of a push. I firmly believe this group is much better than that but we are not showing it. We can talk all we want behind closed doors but it's up to everybody to find it. I thought our compete level is a .500 compete level. It's not consistent enough."
NOTES: Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist entered Sunday night's match against the Capitals with a 180-minute shutout streak against the Capitals. He had shut them out in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series last May, and blanked Washington 2-0 on Oct. 16 at the Verizon Center. ... Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin came into the game trailing Peter Bondra by one on the franchise's all-time list for power play goals. Bondra scored 137 power-play goals in 891 games with the Capitals. Ovechkin played in 628 NHL games prior to Sunday night and had scored 136 goals on the man advantage. ... Vigneault said before the game D Marc Staal had "symptoms" due to a check from New Jersey Devils RW Reid Boucher in the third period of New York's 4-3 overtime loss Saturday night. Michael Del Zotto dressed in place of Staal. ... Washington scratched D Alexander Urbom, D Patrick Wey and C Brooks Laich.

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