Rangers Sweep

What We Loved From the Rangers in Round 1

In a display of sheer dominance, the New York Rangers swept the Washington Capitals in the first round. As the first team to win a series in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, they’ll have to stay sharp during their break.

In a series where only one game really left fans sweating, it’s guaranteed New York will face a tougher second-round opponent. In the first round they showcased their depth, balance, and formidable playoff experience. Without getting rusty waiting for the NYI vs. CAR series to wrap up.

Game 1: A Display of Depth and Defense

The first game put fans worries from the 2023 playoffs to rest, for now. After a scoreless first period, Matt Rempe scored the first goal for the Rangers postseason. I doubt anyone in the country placed that bet. Assisted by Jimmy Vesey and Barclay Goodrow, Rempe seemed surprised to score as the puck fell right on his stick in front of the net. 

Before I could read the reactions from my group chats, Artemi Panarin quickly doubled the lead, seizing a golden chance starting with Alexis Lafreniere’s relentless forecheck. Vesey added another to the tally, strengthening the Rangers’ lead to 3-0. Two goals from the fourth line was the biggest takeaway from Game One. The Rangers dominated the game with their ability to play structured defense and limiting the Capitals’ opportunities. This includes not even letting Alex Ovechkin get a shot attempt on goal. 

Game 2: Special Teams

The second game of the series relied on the Rangers bread and butter, the power play. After an early lead by the Capitals, Vincent Trocheck had a skillful tip-in goal off an Erik Gustafsson pass. This allowed the game to settle down, which set the table for special teams. Mika Zibanejad put the Rangers ahead with a power-play goal late in the first period. To cap off the power play efforts Jack Roslovic delivered an absolute laser in the second period. 

Whether short a skater or having a man advantage, the offensive effort on special teams was good enough to pick up the defensive effort. It was the only time we saw quality chances. The Caps scored twice on the power play but K’Andre Miller was able to score shorthanded as well to secure the 2-0 series lead.

Game 3: Killer Instinct 

The Capitals got another quick goal to start the game, but other than that Igor Shesterkin was he was nothing short of spectacular. The Rangers quickly counter-attacked, as they have all season long. Chris Kreider only made us wait 34 seconds, becoming the Rangers all-time playoff goal scoring leader. Continuing the trend from Game Three, Goodrow provided the lead with another short-handed goal, the teams second of the series. Trocheck finished the scoring late in the second period on the PP, allowing them to cruise towards a 3-1 victory.

Game 4: Bring Out the Brooms

Clinching the first sweep since 2007, the Rangers struck early and fast. Kaapo Kakko buried a brutal turnover by Nick Jensen just 57 seconds into the game. The game found its way tied at 2-2, but there were no plans for a game five. Trocheck drawing a tripping penalty early in the third set the stage for the brooms. This led to a Panarin power-play goal, giving the Rangers the edge they needed to seal the victory and the series with an empty-net power-play goal.  

Second Round Opponent 

Having swept the Capitals, the Rangers are now set to face the winner of the series between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders. The Rangers have an advantage of extra rest after wrapping up their series quickly. This break offers them a valuable opportunity to recuperate and strategically plan for either opponent. Given their recent performances and their records against both potential opponents, it appears the only team that can beat the Rangers thus far are themselves. 

Being the first team out of this round even provided fans a break. Anyone who has watched Rangers hockey over the past fifteen years knows they don’t always make it easy. Their depth, balance, and superstars were all on display in the first round. The New York playoff frenzy has been off to an exciting start. With the second round of the playoffs on the horizon, there is a special buzz in the air. 


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