Takeaways: Capitals Break Out, Rout Rangers To Snap 6-Game Skid
The Washington Capitals snapped a six-game losing streak with a huge breakout performance against the New York Rangers. All the takeaways.
WASHINGTON — As the final horn rang out through Capital One Arena, the Washington Capitals felt a huge weight lift off their shoulders as they congratulated Darcy Kuemper. For the first time in two weeks, everything went right, and Washington powered its way to a much-needed win over the New York Rangers to snap out of a six-game losing streak.
T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov on a show en route to a huge 6-3 win for the Capitals over the Rangers.
Here are all the takeaways from the victory, which ties Washington for the second Wild Card spot.
Oshie & Kuznetsov Lead The Way, Washington Capitals Dominate & Break Out Offensively
The last time Washington had six goals in a game was back on Jan. 5 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. For well over a month, the Capitals had been struggling to score goals. That changed on Saturday, as T.J. Oshie, who was playing in his 500th game with the Capitals, kicked things off and sent a spark through the lineup.
For the first time in a long time, Washington had life, and the forwards were swarming and playing with purpose and drive.
Oshie scored team's first two goals of the game with a tip on a power play and then a rocket of a shot that made it past Igor Shesterkin. Not only that, but Oshie also had a fight following a big hit on Ryan Lindgren. He then had an assist on Sonny Milano's goal later in the second, giving him the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Perhaps even more impressive was Evgteny Kuznetsov's performance. He scored two highlight-reel breakweay goals and added two assists.
Tom Wilson also scored, marking his third goal in four games, while picking up an assist to boot.
Darcy Kuemper, Defense Bounce Back
With Washington struggling over this recent stretch, Darcy Kuemper has also had his fair share of tough showings. However, he bounced back with a standout performance in arguably the team's most important game of the year against a top Metropolitan Division opponent.
Kuemper stood tall in net and had some outstanding stops, including a great stop on a 2-on-1 break and back-to-back-to-back stops early in the second period to keep the team from falling behind. He ended up with 23 saves on 26 shots, and the goals against weren't on him.
The defense also clicked fairly well, with Erik Gustafsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk, Martin Fehervary and Nick Jensen and Matt Irwin and Dylan McIlrath on the same page. Without Dmitry Orlov, they stepped up to make sure that Kuemper was well taken care of, and there were some strong backcheck, hard battles and big blocks as well, while the forwards also helped out.
Craig Smith Makes Washington Capitals Debut
After arriving in the District on Friday night after being acquired for Orlov and Garnet Hathaway, Smith made his Capitals debut against the Rangers.
Wearing No. 16, Smith played on the second line with Conor Sheary and Nicklas Backstrom. The 33-year-old had a couple of solid looks and appeared to fit in fairly well.
Through 11:42, Smith was a plus-1 and had a shot and block.
Top Shelf Takes
– Alex Ovechkin picked up two assists, marking his first points since returning to action following the death of his father, Mikhail. Ovechkin also led the team with four hits.
– Erik Gustafsson picked up two assists and is on a three-game point streak. He also led the team with 22:!3 minutes of ice time.
– Trevor van Riemsdyk had a helper and was a plus-3 on the night while also leading the team with four shots.
– Marcus Johansson did not play due to a non-COVID illness.
– Lars Eller had a number of chances throughout the game.
– Milano's goal was his first in 13 games.
– Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a highlight-reel assist but skated just 9:02 minutes, the lowest total on the team.