Capitals beat Rangers to end skid, hand NY 4th straight loss
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Wilson scored against the team he's ruffled the most during his NHL career, T.J. Oshie had two goals with a fight mixed in and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 6-3 on Saturday, snapping their six-game skid.
The Rangers' rough run continued in their fourth consecutive loss, with a costly injury coming on top of another defensive letdown. Top-pairing defenseman Ryan Lindgren left in the first period after taking a hard hit from Oshie into the boards with his left shoulder first and did not return.
Lindgren's injury could affect New York's plans ahead of the trade deadline Friday and possibly open the door to acquire longtime Chicago winger Patrick Kane sooner rather than later. They also made a couple of off-ice moves during the game to set that process in motion.
But while Kane can produce plenty offensively — his 1,225 points rank fourth among U.S. players — the three-time Stanley Cup champion doesn't solve New York's problem of keeping the puck out of its own net. Even All-Star goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who denied countryman Alex Ovechkin and others with some big saves, couldn't save the day against the Capitals, giving up five goals on 22 shots before getting pulled after two periods.
Evgeny Kuzntesov scored two goals — one each against Shesterkin and backup Jaroslav Halak — and Sonny Milano had the other. Beyond scoring twice, Oshie fought Barclay Goodrow, who was unhappy with the hit on Lindgren, and assisted on Milano's goal to give him a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
The crowd erupted each time, silencing the many fans in blue who started “Let's Go Rangers!” chants early and had only Goodrow's deflection goal in the first period and one each from Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko in the third to celebrate.
There hasn't been much to be happy about for the Capitals lately, given their struggles and the trade Thursday of defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger Garnet Hathaway, though this game, with an offensive outburst and Darcy Kuemper's 23 saves, provided a much-needed respite.
Washington is still expected to trade more pending free agents before the deadline but with the win got to 64 points and remains in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild-card race.
The Rangers are solidly in as one of the top three teams in the Metropolitan Division, but another defeat hurt their chances of keeping pace with the second-place New Jersey Devils, who could also make a move or two before the deadline in advance of the teams' potential first-round showdown.
Rangers: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.
Capitals: Visit the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press