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Rangers Best the Caps, Breadman Strikes Twice

Rangers Drop NHL Best Washington Capitals in 4-1 Home Win. “Breadman” continues 12-game point-streak with two goals contra Caps.

The Rangers triumphed over the Washington Capitals 4-1 Wednesday night. The visiting Caps came into Madison Square Garden as the top team in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Rangers’ leading-scorer Artemi Panarin led the way with two goals—one on the power-play—and kept his 12-game point streak alive. Panarin was in the right place at the right time and fired two loose pucks into the net. Pavel Buchnevich and Brett Howden scored important insurance goals that sealed victory for the Rangers.

Brendan Lemieux was the Rangers’ most physical checking forward against a very physical Capitals team. Tom Wilson is one of the toughest players in hockey and gives the Capitals an intimidation factor, however, it is Lemieux who leads the league in penalty minutes this season with 52.

Right from the start of this Metropolitan division rivalry game, Tom Wilson and the Caps were finishing hard checks on the Rangers. Radko Gudas had an open ice hit that knocked Jacob Trouba to the ground in the first period. The Rangers did not retaliate and played smart. In the third period, Tom Wilson skated up to Brendan Lemieux who was tied up with Ovechkin and hit Lemieux into Ovechkin. It was a hard hit and Lemieux did not like it one bit. The 23-year-old did not hesitate to get up and drop the gloves to fight one of the toughest players in the NHL.

Lemieux dodged and twisted away from Wilson, who started the fight throwing some heavy punches. Lemieux was clearly overmatched by Wilson but managed to stay in the fight. Wilson then wrestled Lemieux to the ground and that ended a fight. Lemieux stood up for his teammates against Wilson, who had challenged the Ranger bench after Howden scored to make it 4-1.

Brett Howden had been incognito the last ten games. The 21-year-old had earned just one assist in his last ten games. Lias Andersson was sent down to Hartford after going 17 games without a goal. However, Howden is not in the NHL for his scoring ability, because he is a defensive center who can take a hit and move the puck. In this victory over the Caps, Howden took the brunt of the Caps physicality early in the game. Wilson landed an open ice hit on Howden in the first period that sent the young center down to the ice hard. Howden was knocked over several times, but he continued to rise.

In the third period, Howden parked himself in front of the Capitals net, while three Capitals went to check a Ranger in the corner with the puck. That player then passed to Howden. Howden received the pass all alone in front of Washington goalie Braden Holtby and sniped the top-left corner. Howden had not scored in ten games.

This game could be a momentum swinger for the Rangers, who rebounded off a two-game-skid to beat a Caps team who still has the most points (36) in the NHL. The Capitals started out the game on the offensive. D-man John Carlson fired a one-time slap shot off the cross bar and out of play in the first period. Henrik Lundqvist made a pad save on a breakaway chance from call-up Beck Malenstyn. The Rangers played a smart game and thanks to good goaltending, were able to weather the early and respond in the second half of this game.

The Blueshirts’ next game is on the road tonight in Ottawa. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM, when the Rangers face a hot team who is 6-2-0 in their last eight games.
The Blueshirts played poorly on Friday night in Ottawa and lost 4-1. Early in the game the Rangers took too many penalties and gave up a goal from ex-Ranger Anthony DuClair—his tenth of the season. As is the case with young teams, the Rangers will be up and down this year as they work towards developing their young talent.

The Blueshirts and Canadiens face-off tonight at 7:30 in Montreal.

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Anthony has been a sportswriter at In The Zone since Sept. 2019. He graduated from Montclair State, where he was assistant Editor of the student newspaper's sports section. He also co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on the campus station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.
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