Caps Put Up a Touchdown Against Rangers

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Posted December 20, 2015

Justin Williams scored twice on Sunday. (Caps Outsider)

This felt like a video game. Am I sure I wasn’t just playing NHL 16 on my PlayStation 4? Well, either way, the Washington Capitals scored six straight goals, chased Henrik Lundqvist out of the game, and dominated the Rangers for a 7-3 win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

It was a tale of two periods. The Rangers scored 3 goals in less than five minutes following a Justin Williams goal to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the first period. In the blink of an eye it felt like this was going to be another frustrating, mistake-filled thrashing in the Big Apple.

I can only imagine what Head Coach Barry Trotz told his Capitals team in the dressing room during the first intermission.

The second period was a completely different story. The Capitals arguably played their best hockey of the season in the second frame at Madison Square Garden. They dominated the Rangers, firing 17 shots on goal, and outscoring the Blue Shirts 4-0.

It felt as though the Rangers were playing not to lose, rather than to win. As they say, a two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. New York fell into a shell in the second period, seemingly believing that a defense sporting two AHL caliber players in Dylan McIlrath and Chris Summers could support goaltender  Lundqvist and end the Rangers’ losing skid. They were mistaken.

In fact, the Rangers defense has been reeling as they deal with injuries to defensemen Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi. Prior to tonight, the team had allowed 4.8 goals per game in their last five. Additionally, Girardi typically makes up half the tandem that attempts to shut down Alex Ovechkin whenever the two teams play.

Although the Capitals failed to play a full 60 minutes for the second straight game, they still managed to pick up their fifth straight win. Does that mean they’re living dangerously, and that this type of play will come back to haunt them? Or does it mean that they’re so dominant that they don’t even need to play a full game to win? As of now, it’s the latter.

Honestly, can anyone remember a time when King Henrik was pulled during a game against these Capitals? I mentioned the Rangers have been struggling of late, but they’re still a force to be reckoned with at home (at least, before tonight). They donned a 13-4-1 home ice record prior to Sunday night’s affair. Their goal differential at home was second only to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tonight it really felt as though the Capitals separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference. They’ve beaten Montreal. They’ve beaten Tampa three times. They’ve taken two of three from Detroit. They’ve dominated the Penguins in Pittsburgh and the Rangers in New York. Who’s up next? Technically it’s Carolina, but I wouldn’t consider them a part of the upper-echelon of the East.

To add insult to injury to Rangers fans, the New York Giants suffered a heartbreaking loss this afternoon, while the Washington Redskins picked up a big win.

Also, if you missed it, check out who watched this game… Maybe he’s amazed.