Rangers takeaways from Wednesday's opening night loss to Capitals, including a shaky penalty kill

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Ovechkin about to score on Rangers in DC
Ovechkin about to score on Rangers in DC

The Rangers opened their season with a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Here are the takeaways.

1. Sammy Blais and Trevor Vans Riemsdyk got into a scrap right after Hendrix Lapierre got called for a high-sticking less than two minutes into the game, setting the Rangers up for a power play. The Rangers couldn’t convert, and as soon as it ended, Patrik Nemeth was called for a slash. It proved costly as TJ Oshie scored on a scrum in front of the net to give the Caps a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers attacked early and often, putting five shots on goal in the first five minutes of the game. But they only had four for the rest of the period. The Capitals thought they had a goal after a 3-on-2 midway through the first, but it was called back due to an offsides. Chris Kreider was sent to the penalty box for a slash with 1:04 to go in the first, but the Rangers were able to stave it off through the end of the period, and they finished the kill in the second.

2. The Rangers got back on the power play 1:59 into the second after a tripping penalty by Lars Eller, but had just one shot on goal. Washington went over 10 minutes without a shot on goal, but just as they started to challenge Alexandar Georgiev, they went on the power play with a little over eight minutes to go after Alexis Lafreniere was called for a trip. Sixty-nine seconds into the power play, it was a 2-0 game off the stick of Justin Schultz. Thirty-six seconds later, Lapierre made it 3-0 on his first NHL goal. To make matters worse, the Rangers went over 12 minutes without a shot.

Tom Wilson was called for a tripping penalty on Blais with 4:24 to go in the second, but again the Rangers couldn’t find the back of the net. Through two periods, seven of the Rangers’ 13 shots were on the power play, and they had just five shots on goal in the second.

3. In the third period, the Rangers had to kill another penalty, but Alex Ovechkin tied Marcel Dionne for the fifth-most goals in NHL history to make it a 4-0 game. On their fourth power play of the night, the Rangers finally got on the board with a goal by Kreider at 9:13, but Ovechkin and the Capitals got it right back on a shorthanded goal to make it 5-1. That put Ovechkin in sole possession of fifth place on the NHL all-time goals list.

4. Georgiev stopped 22 of Washington's 27 shots, while Vitek Vanecek stopped all but one of the Rangers' 24 shots on goal.

4. Ryan Reaves made his impact known in his first game with the Rangers. In the first period, he had four hits, one of which sent a Capital into his own bench. The team had 11 as a whole through one. It was a good sign after a perceived issue with the team last year was their toughness. The Rangers outhit the Capitals in the game, 26-12.

Highlights

What's next

The Rangers' are back at it on Thursday in their home opener against the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

It will be the first full-capacity home game since prior to the coronavirus pandemic.