Capitals win statement game against first place Rangers

Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals played what might have been their best game of the season against a first place Metropolitan Division team and their former bench boss. Peter Laviolette coached three seasons with the Capitals before the sides decided to mutually part ways when last season ended. He took the vacant job at the New York Rangers.

The final score was 4-0 in a game that saw them click from start to finish. Charlie Lindgren stopped all 31 shots he faced including 27 at even strength. The Caps penalty kill held the Rangers power play to just three shots on the night.

The Caps struck first 43 seconds in and never looked back on a goal from Sonny Milano that was assisted by Martin Fehervary and John Carlson. It was Milano’s fourth of the season after he was healthy scratched in Thursday night’s shootout loss to the Dallas Stars. The Caps outshot the Rangers 12-8 in the first period.

Anthony Mantha made it 2-0 at 1:43 for his sixth of the season. It was assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Rasmus Sandin. At 5:35 Rangers owner Tom Wilson made it 3-0 for his ninth goal of the season. He’s now second on the Caps in goals behind Dylan Strome.

Nicolas Aube Kubel made it 4-0 at 11:52 as Beck Malenstyn set him up. The Caps were outshot 15-7 in the second period despite scoring three goals. That’s in large part due to Lindgren as he continued his hot hand.

The Caps outshot the Rangers 10-8 in the third while they were outshot 31-29 overall. The Caps are now 13-8-3 with 29 points which is fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. While that’s still eight points behind the Rangers, the Caps proved to the hockey world the blue shirts can be beaten and it could come back to bite them if they go on a losing streak and the point lead in the division slips.

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The Caps are back in action tonight when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks which feature number one draft pick Connor Bedard. The game starts at 7 p.m. eastern on Monumental Sports Network.