Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/8/13
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Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers’ mastery of the Washington Capitals dated from last spring, when the teams met in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. But after going 202 minutes 28 seconds without a goal against New York in their previous four meetings, the Capitals decided they had had enough. Washington scored twice, 25 seconds apart, in the second period Sunday night to create a lead it never relinquished in a 4-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It was the second dominant victory in as many days for the Capitals, who pulled three points ahead of New York for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Once the Capitals located the aggressive part of their game midway through the first period, New York fell a step behind and was unable to contain the rolling waves of pressure brought by each line as four players — Jason Chimera, Steve Oleksy, Mikhail Grabovski and Eric Fehr — scored goals. In the other end, rookie netminder Philipp Grubauer was sturdy in his second career start, only his fourth NHL appearance, finishing with 30 saves to capture his first win and outdueling Lundqvist, who made 32 stops. Grubauer’s only previous start came last season in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders on March 9. “When we use our four lines we feel fresh, everybody involved in the game and our goalie play well today,” said Alex Ovechkin, who recorded four shots on goal but was held without a point. “Gruby do unbelievable job and give us the confidence to score goals.” Washington didn’t put a single shot on goal until 9:56 had passed in the first period but once the Capitals broke the ice, they found the pulse of their offense and dictated the flow of the contest. Lundqvist survived several quality chances in the first, including a shot by Nicklas Backstrom as he drove the net, a scramble in front by the third line and then a tip by Joel Ward on the power play that clanked off the left post. The Capitals’ push continued in the second, though, and Lundqvist’s extended shutout streak wouldn’t last much longer.
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