Despite being favored by most of the advanced stats community to win this series, the Rangers find themselves down 2-0 to the Washington Capitals and have looked very sloppy in both losses. They outplayed the Caps in Game One and didn't come away with the results they were hoping for, but the Rangers were just bad yesterday. The Caps weren't much better despite having a massive advantage in shots on goal and 5v5 territorial play, but the Rangers were just flat out brutal for most of this game. The Rangers strong even strength play during the regular season is the reason why I picked them to win this series, and they ended up getting outshot by 10 by a team who is struggled with puck-possession.
As bad as the Rangers played, they may have been a goalpost or two away from stealing a victory thanks to the play of Henrik Lundqvist and the Capitals not being able to create many scoring chances out of their zone time. Washington seemed to revert back to their form in last year's playoffs and focused more on shutting down Rick Nash's line after he ran wild on them in Game One. They succeeded with this task, as they were able to contain the Rangers for most of the game and hold their offense to only 13 total scoring chances. I thought the Caps could have done a better job of generating better chances and testing Lundqvist during regulation, but from a defensive standpoint, they did a great job and the fact that they had the puck a lot more is never a bad thing in a playoff game .
The Rangers still have two home games to make a series out of this and the gameplan they had for today's game worked for the most part, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see more low-event games the rest of the way. It might suit them well to get more traffic in front of Lundqvist since they took a lot of shots from the point and from bad angles that were easily steered aside by the Ranger netminder. It's not a bad strategy since the Rangers had the scoring areas covered well, but those shots only do so much if there's no one going for the rebounds. The Caps might be able to make this a quick series if they can win the scoring chance battle on the road but I'm expecting to see a different Ranger team in Game Three.no comments