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Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Ovechkin-Less Capitals Make Late Push, But Fall To Rangers

The Washington Capitals got goals from Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Matt Irwin, but missing Alex Ovechkin and Sonny Milano hurt as they fell to the New York Rangers, 4-2. Here are all the takeaways from the defeat.



Things didn't look good for the Washington Capitals to kick off Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers, as the team was without captain Alex Ovechkin and left winger Sonny Milano and also found themselves trailing 3-1 after the first. Then, an unsung hero in Matt Irwin provided a spark, and a rally ensued in the final 40. However, it wasn't enough, as that rough start set the stage for a disappointing defeat.

Irwin had a multi-point outing and several players stayed hot, but the Ovechkin-less Capitals couldn't overcome the Rangers in a 5-3 loss. Washington is now 0-6-0 this season without Ovechkin and has dropped the last nine games overall without their leader in the mix.

Here are all the takeaways from New York:

Alex Ovechkin-Less Washington Capitals Get Off To Poor Start, Sonny Milano Sits Out

The Capitals got rough news pregame, as the team announced Alex Ovechkin would not be playing due to a lower-body injury. Not only that, but Sonny Milano was also out with a non-COVID illness. Aliaksei Protas and Joe Snively suited up in their place, but without two key forwards, Washington couldn't find its footing.

Just 4:09 minutes in, the Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Mika Zibanejad after Rasmus Sandin misread things in front of Darcy Kuemper. While Nicolas Aube-Kubel evened the score soonafter, Zibanejad responded with his second goal of the game just 16 seconds later. Patrick Kane added a power-play goal later in the frame to make it 3-1.

It was a rough opening frame for D.C., who was outshot 19-9 and spent the majority of the time struggling to keep up with New York's impressive arsenal and speedy youth. And, with no Ovechkin or Milano to help find a spark, the team looked deflated and got little going in the offensive zone.

Matt Irwin & Nic Dowd Give Washington Capitals Life, Sandin, Oshie & Strome Stay Hot As Rally Comes Up Short

While the Capitals failed to generate a lot early, Matt Irwin stepped up to chip in offensively.

He assisted on Aube-Kubel's goal in the first and then in the second period, scored his second of the season. It marked Irwin's first multi-point game of the season and the 11th of his career.

T.J. Oshie and Sandin assisted on Irwin's goal, giving Sandin his ninth point in five games since coming to the District. Sandin now has a point in all but one game following the trade.

Oshie is also on a hot streak of his own with points in three straight and eight of his last nine overall.

Then, in the third, Nic Dowd scored his second goal in as many games and set a new career-high in tallies as he pulled Washington within one with regulation winding down.

Dylan Strome got the primary helper, extending his point streak to five games. He is also

Following Dowd's goal, the Capitals made quite the push to try and tie things up. They ended up with 31 shots, but the push came too little, too late as a Jimmy Vesey empty-netter ultimately sealed the deal with just over two minutes left in regulation.

Additional Ice Chips

– Aliaksei Protas picked up his eighth assist of the season on NAK's goal and added to his career-high total of 11 points in a season. It was his first game since Feb. 12.

– Alex Alexeyev led with five shots on goal.

– Irwin and Sandin were tied for the team lead in hits (3).

– Sandin also led in ice time, logging 25:59 minutes.

– Darcy Kuemper did the best he could, coming up with some big saves on a rather busy night and stopping 32 of 36 (.886 save percentage).

– The Capitals went 0-for-4 on the man advantage.

– Stick taps to the NHL and Disney Channel for making the game fun with animation based on puck tracking. Super fun and enjoyable experience for kids who saw their first animated NHL game.

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