The puck glanced off New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s glove, and Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen didn’t hesitate. “Don’t screw it up,” he thought to himself.
He swatted in the rebound, and on a night the power play had boosted Washington, that three-on-three score in overtime secured a 4-3 win that marked the end of the Capitals’ two-game losing streak.
“Hank almost got a glove on it, too,” Niskanen said. “I almost didn’t score that one. Thankfully it went in.”
The Capitals’ even-strength scoring cheap nhl jerseys china
remains a concern — the team has just two five-on-five goals in its past three games — but the power play remains a weapon. Washington has scored nine power-play goals through its first six games, and the contributions have been varied. Because Evgeny Kuznetsov, considered a pass-first center, has scored four of those goals, penalty kills have had to guard him more closely, making Washington’s man-advantage that much more dangerous. There’s also T.J. Oshie in the slot to consider and then defenseman John Carlson’s slap shot from the point.
But against the Rangers, the production came from a predictable source. Alex Ovechkin, who has scored more than a third of his 600-plus goals on the power play, scored twice from his beloved left faceoff circle.
“I don’t think many teams have played him like they did tonight. They gave him a lot more space,” Carlson said.
“To completely take him away, other guys are just too open and they’re good enough to score,” Niskanen said. “Are you going to leave Osh open in the slot from the hash marks to cover Ovi? Our power play is set up well with what hands guys are and their skill sets, so we have a lot of different options. Guys are good at reading what’s open. It’s pretty lethal.”
Wednesday’s mistake-prone game went as the whistles did. Ovechkin’s two power-play goals had given Washington a 3-2 edge going into the third period, when forward Nathan Walker was called for holding in the offensive zone. New York then tied the game with a man-advantage strike from Chris Kreider, the Rangers’ second score on the power play.