Rangers blank slumping Caps in return east
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - It turns out the New York Rangers left their defensive game in the Eastern time zone.
Henrik Lundqvist needed to make only 22 saves in the Rangers' 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.
Brad Richards set up goals separated by 1:46 in the second period for the Rangers, who won for only the second time through six stops thus far on a season-opening, nine-game road trip.
After splitting games in Phoenix and Los Angeles to begin the trek, New York had lost three straight at San Jose, Anaheim and St. Louis by a combined 20-5 margin.
Lundqvist picked up right from last May's first-round playoff series with Washington, notching his third consecutive shutout against the Capitals after blanking them in Games 6 and 7.
Braden Holtby stopped 34 shots for Washington, which is off to an equally slow start with five losses in seven games.
"The preparation in the locker room has to get better. It's as simple as that," Holtby said.
The Capitals entered Wednesday's game with the league's top power play, but the unit couldn't convert during a 55-second long two-man advantage in the first period.
"I was a little more aggressive today, and I felt good, but we really set the tone in the first period (with) the way we killed off the penalties," Lundqvist said.
New York carried the momentum of the successful kill into the second period, where it held a 21-6 shot advantage and struck for a pair of goals.
With the clubs skating 4-on-4, Holtby fanned with the glove on defenseman John Moore's quick wrister from the high slot at the 12:05 mark.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan then drove to open ice outside the crease and skillfully batted in a feed from Richards out of mid-air at 13:51.
The Capitals were 0-for-4 on the power play ... The Rangers were without defenseman Michael Del Zotto (flu) ... Washington defenseman John Erskine missed a third straight game with an upper-body injury.
10/16 23:43:44 ET