Washington Capitals dismantle the New York Rangers in dramatic final meeting

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals met up with the New York Rangers for the final time this regular season in what very well may have been the most viewed hockey game of the entire year. Of course, the story entering this game had nothing to do with the actual hockey being played. Everyone had their eyes on what would happen with Tom Wilson after his attack on Rangers’ superstar, Artemi Panarin.

Wilson received a $5,000 fine for the incident (actually it was for his roughing on Pavel Buchnevich seconds earlier), which many believed was not enough for the repeat offender. This, of course, led to the Rangers releasing a statement which called out the Department of Player Safety, specifically George Parros, for not bringing the hammer down hard enough on Wilson. Following that, the Rangers’ owner, James Dolan, relieved President, John Davidson, and General Manager, Jeff Gorton of their duties earlier. So, naturally, everyone wanted to tune in to see what the response would be from the blue shirts.

In addition, the Caps were without Daniel Sprong in this one as he was dealing with an illness (non-COVID related). Daniel Carr made his way into the forward lines.

Well, viewers didn’t have to wait long. One second into the game, the entire forward units for both clubs dropped the gloves and fought. Garnet Hathaway took on Phil Di Giuseppe, Nic Dowd took on Kevin Rooney, and Carl Hagelin took on Colin Blackwell.

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After everyone went to the penalty box and we assumed it was settled for now, Wilson stepped on the ice and was jumped by Brendan Smith. Wilson objectively got the better of Smith in this one and he was sent to the room for repairs after the bout.

Then, off of another faceoff, Michael Raffl got in his first fight as a Capital when he fought Anthony Bitetto in a spirited tilt.

Okay, the dust has settled, Wilson has fought, it’s over…right? Wrong. The tiger, Lars Eller, then scrapped with Ryan Strome off of a faceoff to make it six fights less than five minutes into the hockey game.

The Capitals were left with six players in the box and Brenden Dillon playing forward.

After some other minor infractions that ensued (and the Capitals killing off a 5-on-3 penalty), and misconducts involving Wilson and Rooney, there were a total of 100 penalty minutes dolled out by the end of the first period.

In the final minute, it appeared as though Raffl had scored to make it 1-0, but it was called off for high-sticking.

The period ended 0-0 with shots tied 11-11.

The second period saw more hockey being played for sure, but not by much. This could have something to do with Wilson not returning to the game as a result of an upper-body injury.

However, there was still some rough stuff. But first, let’s talk hockey.

T.J. Oshie, who missed last game after his father passed away, opened the scoring for the game just 12 seconds into the second period when he went five hole on Alexander Georgiev of the Rangers.

But, hockey had to be put on hold so the rough stuff could continue.

About five minutes into the second period, Ant Man (Anthony Mantha) took exception to a hit from Buchnevich and went back at him. As he did, Buchnevich proceeded to jump and cross check him in the face. Mantha was fine, and Buchnevich received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the cross check.

Back to hockey!

It would be Oshie who struck again, as he buried his 20th of the season on a rebound in front of the net. Assists came from Dmitry Orlov and Nick Backstrom.

The Capitals would strike one more time in the second frame as Nic Dowd scored his 11th of the season on a deflected John Carlson shot to make it 3-0. Orlov had the secondary assist on this one.

Then, with roughly five minutes remaining in the second period and during a TV timeout, Zdeno Chara, who had been silent all night (thankfully for the Rangers), went over to the Rangers’ bench to confront their blue-liner, Smith. Chara was given a ten-minute misconduct as a result and headed to the locker room.

The Capitals outshot the Rangers 14-3 in the second period.

In the third period, the Rangers decided to try getting involved in the hockey game. They scored to make it 3-1 less than two minutes into the period.

A little while longer, Ryan Strome tripped Hagelin before slashing Hathaway. This landed him a two-minute penalty for tripping and a ten-minute misconduct (which the refs were giving out like gum in a school yard).

Then, to put a bow on this insane series of games with the Rangers, Oshie shoots the puck from his own zone to bury the empty-net goal for a hat trick in his first game back since the passing of his father. Although it seemed impossible for there to be any good to come out of this game, Oshie’s performance was definitely something.

Everybody in the Capitals’ community was thrilled for Oshie because his dad is a legend in the area and Oshie has become one himself. Congratulations to T.J., and we also wish him and his family the best during this extremely tough time.

The Rangers would score shortly after, but it would end 4-2 for the Capitals.

The Capitals outshot the Rangers 10-7 in the third period, and 35-21 overall.

Although this game started in a pretty crazy way, this game was #ALLCAPS before the puck even dropped. The Rangers franchise essentially self-destructed before the game, and the Capitals ran their show during the game. They outshot them, outscored them, and got the upper hand in almost all of the rough stuff. The Rangers made no fans around the league by trying to “get back” at the Caps, at least in my eyes, especially since they really didn’t do much damage aside from Wilson leaving the game with an upper-body injury that doesn’t seem all that serious (we will see). Not to mention, they were severely shorthanded. This was a dismantling of an organization if I have ever seen one.

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Catch the Capitals this Friday when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.