Capitals blank Rangers at Garden

Erik Gustafsson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Erik Gustafsson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals dominated the New York Rangers from start to finish in a 4-0 win behind a 32 save performance from Darcy Kuemper.

The Caps were on the power play and got a poke in from Marcus Johansson for his ninth goal of the season. The goal was assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Erik Gustafsson.

The Caps were outshot 13-8 but were leading when it mattered, 1-0. And they wouldn’t look back.

The Gus Bus went round and round as Gustafsson rebounded in a shot from Conor Sheary with Dylan Strome providing the secondary assist. It came at 17:01 for his fifth goal of the season a little over a week after his hat trick.

“He’s playing so well right now. Another goal and assist for him, he’s been unbelievable for us but that’s going to have to happen. We’ve got guys out. He stepped up with not only some good offense but defense,” said Capitals Head Coach Peter Laviolette.

Lars Eller made it 3-0 off a give and go from Anthony Mantha entering the zone for his seventh goal of the season at 19:23.

“I thought they were excellent. Lars was real good. Johansson and Kubel have been a really good combination for us. They were good on the forecheck,” said Laviolette.

The Caps outshot the Rangers 15-7 and led 3-0 after two.

Conor Sheary put the game away with a shorthanded empty net goal at 16:58 for his 11th of the season. 4-0 was the final. The Caps were outshot 12-7 in the third and 32-30 overall but Kuemper stopped everything.

“I thought everybody chipped in with the way everybody was scoring and moving around, the penalty kill chipped in, the power play scores a goal, goals from different lines and good goaltending effort,” said Laviolette.

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The Caps return home to host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. They’ll be home for three straight games.