NEW YORK —Vitek Vanecek wasn’t meant to be element of the Washington Capitals’ goaltending duo to start the time. The prepare had Ilya Samsonov sharing time with Henrik Lundqvist, the previous Rangers star regarded about the league — and particularly close to New York — as “The King.”
But those options altered when Lundqvist, who signed with the Capitals in Oct, introduced in December that a heart situation would pressure him to skip the period. Vanecek was thrust again into the photograph.
So it was fitting that Vanecek observed himself in net Thursday night time on the ice that Lundqvist arrived to get in touch with his own although creating his legend above 15 years in a Rangers sweater. The Capitals rookie was reliable, turning apart 27 of 30 pictures, but Washington’s offense struggled in a 4-2 reduction at Madison Square Back garden.
“I imagined we were a small sluggish acquiring out of the gate,” Capitals Mentor Peter Laviolette explained. “Possibilities were being rather even, but just zone time I believe went a minimal bit extra to them. . . . Just created a oversight right here or two during the course of the video game and ended up costing us.”
The Capitals dug them selves a 2- hole midway by the second interval and never ever ended up capable to get even, even with Alex Ovechkin’s 709th job goal halfway by means of the last time period that reduce their deficit to 3-2.
The reduction was the 2nd straight for the Capitals (6-2-3), who went undefeated in regulation by their first 9. The Rangers enhanced to 4-4-2.
[Thrust into a starting role, Capitals rookie goaltender Vitek Vanecek is off to a stellar start]
Vanecek, even though obtaining his share of well timed will save, was not flawless. The rookie has allowed three or a lot more ambitions in seven of his 9 starts.
The Capitals continued to be hamstrung by their penchant for using penalties. They took 4 all through regulation, all minors that took away from their offensive energy, right before Brenden Dillon and Kevin Rooney were whistled for combating just after the remaining horn.
Reverse Vanecek was fellow rookie Igor Shesterkin (3-2-1), who built 31 will save on the night time. Shesterkin is splitting time with 24-year-outdated netminder Alex Georgiev. The Rangers had opted to go with two young netminders to replace Lundqvist right after the group bought out the final calendar year of the star’s deal in late September. Sidelined mainly because of his coronary heart problem, Lundqvist is now much absent from hockey, four weeks taken out from open coronary heart surgical procedure, and Vanecek has the reins with Samsonov even now in the NHL’s covid-19 protocols.
Nonetheless, he will not have a whole lot of tested aid behind him.
With Samsonov out, 39-year-outdated Craig Anderson is the Capitals’ No. 2 netminder. Anderson, though he spent the previous 10 many years with Ottawa, has nonetheless to make an visual appeal for Washington. Vanecek has created eight straight begins relationship back to Jan. 19 towards Pittsburgh.
When asked if the workforce was worried about Vanecek’s workload, Laviolette downplayed any get worried, noting Vanecek’s age and the team’s perception in his capability.
The Capitals, in the very first of 8 matchups in opposition to their division rivals, arrived out sluggish, and their defense was caught flat-footed on a number of situations. It commenced early, when Rangers heart Ryan Strome place the hosts on major 1:41 into the initially period with his deflection purpose off Adam Fox’s place shot. Washington failed to have adequate offensive zone time and the Rangers held a steady 15 to 8 photographs on target advantage in the opening body.
The second interval available extra of the same from the guests. Washington unsuccessful to develop early in the offensive zone, and when Garnet Hathaway was assessed a tripping call only 5 minutes into the period of time, the Capitals had been by no means ready to regain their footing.
The Rangers doubled their direct when defenseman Anthony Bitetto defeat Vanecek with a crafty backhand at 9:15 of the next interval. It was only Bitetto’s 3rd target in his 185 job game titles. His previous intention? Nov. 18, 2017 — when he performed for Laviolette in Nashville.
Carl Hagelin’s first goal of the time with 1:03 remaining in the 2nd time period gave the Capitals slight momentum, but the Rangers built it 3-1 with Strome’s second intention of the night off an odd-male hurry 7:55 into the third period of time. Jakub Vrana’s dismal turnover in the offensive zone led to the hurry the reverse way — and the eventual match-winner.
“If you never have 100 per cent energy or if you are not into the video game whole, it is heading to be a challenging period,” Hagelin reported. “We have performed that much too considerably. We haven’t performed a 60-minute recreation nevertheless. It is time to regulate and figure that one out since I know if we do we are a very successful team.”
Ovechkin struck about three minutes later on to make it 3-2, but the Capitals would get no closer. Pavel Buchnevich’s empty-netter closed out the scoring.
[Alex Ovechkin transformed his legacy and shattered our expectations — and he isn’t finished]
Ovechkin is now in sole possession of seventh on the NHL’s all-time ambitions list, passing Mike Gartner. Up coming up is Phil Esposito at 717.
“Not finished however,” Ovechkin reported on passing Gartner. “Just check out to love my time suitable now and test to delight in this second. Staff, definitely it sucks we did not get the position, but, you know, beginning of the year just check out to uncover our video game. . . . At any time we end actively playing, it costs us some factors, and it costs us the activity.”
The depleted Capitals experienced to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the reason that of accidents. Following Conor Sheary endured a reduce-overall body personal injury Monday night and was ruled out Thursday, the Capitals did not have plenty of salary cap room to call up a 12th forward to the lively roster.
Ovechkin finished up using several shifts with the shorthanded fourth line and had 27:17 minutes of ice time.
Five Capitals have been unavailable in New York: Samsonov, Sheary, centre Evgeny Kuznetsov, centre Lars Eller and defenseman Justin Schultz.
Samsonov and Kuznetsov continue to be on the covid list with no timetable for their return. Eller missed his fourth activity with an upper-overall body harm. Schultz skipped his third game right after getting a puck to the confront last Thursday towards the New York Islanders.
“All people goes through it, so there’s no excuses listed here tonight,” Laviolette stated. “We needed a distinct final result, we didn’t get it, and we will go on. I am not confident what is out there to us next match, but as we go as a result of a pair days listed here, we are going to see what our lineup seems to be like. But we predicted to come in below and get, so which is what’s disappointing.”
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