WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals now have a chance to close out their second-round series against the New York Rangers in five games, after a 2-1 win in Game 4 on Wednesday gave them a 3-1 edge. The series shifts back to New York for Game 5 as the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers try to avoid making a hasty exit from the postseason.
What happened: The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the second period with a stunning sequence from their top line, but the Capitals' Andre Burakovsky then tallied twice to tilt the ice for the Capitals. A soft play along the wall by New York's Chris Kreider allowed Burakovsky to notch his first playoff goal in the second period, and a misplay by top defenseman Ryan McDonagh led to the second goal in the final frame. Speedy winger Carl Hagelin had a chance to knot the score at 2 with a penalty shot in the third period, but Capitals netminderBraden Holtby came though with a clutch glove save to preserve the Caps' one-goal lead.
What it means: The Rangers are in big trouble, staring down a two-game series deficit with confidence that seems to be waning by the game. Whereas the Capitals have dictated play throughout the series, the Rangers have failed to exploit their speed and skill against a jagged-edged Caps team that has been stingy in its own end. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has done his part; now he needs his teammates to step up and start winning those important one-on-one battles that the Capitals have dominated thus far in this series.
Player of the game: Burakovsky. The 20-year-old made a huge splash in Game 4, scoring both Capitals goals to seal the victory. And that wasn't all. The lanky winger was doing the little things right as well -- like when he got in a lane and blocked Kevin Klein's shot in the third period with the Caps keen on protecting a lead. Honorable mention here to Holtby (as per usual) and veteran forward Troy Brouwer, who has been an underrated yet impactful player throughout the first four games.
Stat of the game: Derick Brassard's beauty of a finish off the rush in the second period ended the Rangers' scoreless drought dating back to Game 2, a streak that lasted 100:05 minutes between goals. The goal prior to that one was also scored by Brassard, who leads the Rangers with five tallies this postseason.
Up next:Game 5, Friday at 7 p.m. ET, Madison Square Garden.
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