The Washington Capitals are a step closer to making history under the Alex Ovechkin era, they are just one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals. Their 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers has given them the upper hand in the series, leading 3-1.
One of the heroes of this game was rookie Andre Burakovsky, the 20 year old scored not one, but both goals for the Capitals. Considering the Rangers scored first, both of those goals were needed. New York’s Derick Brassard put his team on the board in the second period, it was his fifth goal of the postseason. The Rangers played extremely well, out-shooting and out-hitting the Capitals early on before Washington responded. They also had a huge chance with a little over 11 minutes left in regulation, down one.
Washington’s Mike Green was called for hooking the Rangers Carl Hagelin on a breakaway, Braden Holtby had lost his shutout streak earlier in the game. The Capitals net minder hadn’t surrendered a goal since Game 2. Hagelin tried to beat Holtby with a backhander, but the goalie never fell for the deke and was able to make a glove save in a pivotal moment. It was the biggest save of the game, Holtby stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced on the night.
Washington has proven stars in Ovechkin and Backstrom and a number of other reliable veterans on their roster, it was evident during the regular season that their young guys could have an impact on games. To this point in the playoffs, it’s been Evgeny Kuznetsov making a mark, he’s scored four goals including a big one in Game 7 against the Islanders. This time it would be Burakovsky who would make an impact, as the 20 year old beat one of the best goalies in the league, twice in one game.
The go-ahead goal or what wound up being the game deciding goal was scored in the third period prior to Holtby stoning Hagelin on the penalty attempt. Burakovsky got the puck from Troy Brouwer who had just dispossessed New York’s Ryan McDonaugh, he then skated in on Henrik Lundqvist from the left. Andre who had missed a scoring opportunity a few plays before, didn’t let this moment pass him. He beat Lundqvist with a clever backhand to give his team the deciding goal. The two goals he scored in this game were the first two of his postseason career, he’s starting to live up to that 2013 first round billing.
Washington has shown it’s ability to fight all season long, going down a goal rarely bothers them at all whether on the road or at home. If the Capitals wish to make that history mentioned earlier, they have to close it out in Game 5 in New York Friday night in Madison Square Garden.