It's the best time of year!
Everyone knows that come playoff time in the National Hockey League, goals are harder to come by. When you are a team that does not have a pure finisher, it is even harder to put the puck in the net. This is what happened in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, which was won by the Caps 2-1 in overtime.
The score sheet may say that the Rangers had 25 shots, but it certainly did not seem that way. The team had trouble generating quality scoring chances and whenever they did manage to get an open shot on Capitals netminder Michael Neuvirth, either Neuvirth was there to stop the puck or the Blueshirts’ missed the net entirely.
This season, the Rangers were a team that found way to score goals. In fact, the club had five players with 20 or more goals and as whole, the team was 16th in the NHL in goals for, average 2.73 goals for a game.
With that said, Marian Gaborik, a 42-goal scorer last season, only managed to score 22 this season. He had a great chance in overtime in front of the net but ended up shooting the puck right into Neuvirth’s chest. The Rangers also struggled on the power play in Game 1 as well. They did a great job of moving the puck, but they were not able to generate quality scoring chances from the areas where most goals are scored from.
Yes, the Capitals’ defense did a great job overall in the game both on even strength and the penalty kill. On even strength, the Capitals were able to limit the Rangers’ shots from the outside and on the penalty kill, the team did a great job of staying in a box formation and taking away the shooting lanes.
This is the most important time of the season and the Rangers need to figure out a way to create more room for themselves on the offense; because if they do not, this could end up being a short series.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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