Last night the Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. The game marked coach Barry Trotz’s 700th career win. After spending much of the season with a steady roster, this game featured some unfamiliar faces. As you probably heard, the Caps recently acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, and he made his debut. Additionally, the Hershey callups Riley Barber and Jakub Vrana played in lieu of an injured TJ Oshie and Andre Burakovsky.
The Caps started this game looking out of sync but managed to escape the first period actually up 16 to 15 in five-on-five shot attempts. From there they found their footing and finished the game up 58 to 42 in five-on-five shot attempts.
The youngster Jakub Vrana gets it for this game. With Zach Sanford traded as part of the Shattenkirk deal, it’s key that Vrana steps up for the Caps as a depth forward in case of injuries. Statistically, Vrana was quietly solid, which is exactly what is needed of him (for now). He finished the night plus-four in shot attempts and plus-two in scoring chances. He was also on for one goal for and none against.
During this game, the Caps matched up head to head with the Rangers, generally going power versus power. Well, it’s safe to say that the Caps came out more than a little bit on top, according to this chart by Muneeb Alam. The Caps’ top line went head-to-head against Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, and Jesper Fast – and they destroyed them. This isn’t always the case, as the Caps’ top line is actually one of their more middling in terms of possession. Let’s hope they can keep tilting the ice, even if they don’t find the scoreboard at five-on-five.
WSH-NYR–Great final 40 by Washington. Vigneault should be having nightmares about trying to match Stepan to Backstrom/Ovechkin. pic.twitter.com/HwzdgnMawr
— Muneeb Alam (@muneebalamcu) March 1, 2017
Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey and NaturalStatTrick.
Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI.