NHL Playoffs – New York Rangers Love Game 7, Washington Capitals Blow It

New York Rangers players celebrating after Derek Stepan's overtime goal
New York Rangers players celebrating after Derek Stepan’s overtime goal

Despite having a 3-1 lead in the series, the Washington Capitals won’t be in the conference finals, losing three games in a row, including 2-1 in overtime against the New York Rangers, saved by Derek Stepan with the clutch goal off the rebound to seal the game and the series.

The Capitals took the lead through Alex Ovechkin after the face off in the first period, his fifth goal of the postseason. Washington were the busier, more dangerous team in the first period, pushing Henrik Lundqvist into some impressive saves, but that pressure and pace didn’t last, falling back and allowing the Rangers to take over the game in the second and third period.

Kevin Hayes scored the equalizer off a great J.T. Miller assist, making the most of the second period power play, and from here until the goal from Stepan, it was mostly Braden Holtby making some close range saves and keeping the Rangers frustrated, although he got very little support from his teammates, managing just 13 attempts t goal in the second and third periods.

In overtime, Washington seemed to gain some steam, but the ending was sad for them, as Ovechkin’s “guarantee” didn’t hold out. Holtby made a stop off of a shot from the blue line, but left Stepan wide open and the goalie completely out of position, letting the ball slip past him and put the Rangers in the conference finals despite, needing three one-goal wins, including two in overtime to climb out of their 1-3 hole.

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