What it means: 20-year-old Chris Kreider tallied his second game-winning goal in three games and finished with his first multi-point performance of his young NHL career as he led the Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Caps in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The game started out slow, but the Rangers turned it on midway through the third period with two goals that ignited the restless crowd at Madison Square Garden and gave the team a 1-0 lead in the series. Kreider snapped a 1-1 tie at the 7-minute mark of the third and set up Brad Richards' insurance goal 90 seconds later. Rounding out a big effort from the Rangers' young guns, second-year center Derek Stepan also recorded his fifth point in three games with the primary assist on Kreider's second goal of the playoffs.
Not-so-great Number 8: Invisible in the first game of the series, Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet and taunted by the New York crowd. In a timed chant picked up from Senators fans last series, the Blueshirts faithful jeered the Russian star beginning at the eight minute mark of each series. Ovechkin has been limited to five points over the past eight games.
All tied up: Brooks Laich executed a perfectly-placed saucer pass to find Jason Chimera in front with less than four seconds remaining in the second period. Chimera buried the puck to convert on the 2-on-1 rush and tie the game heading into the second intermission.
A-OK: Artem Anisimov snapped a scoreless tie with 7:22 to play in the second, burying a wraparound attempt to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 12:38.
Scoreless first: Compared the frantic pace of Thursday’s Game 7 at the Garden, the opening frame of the second round seemed a little subdued. Both the Rangers and Capitals combined for only ten shots total in a scoreless period. Of the Rangers’ four first-period shots, none came from forwards: defenseman Ryan McDonagh had three while fellow blue-liner Marc Staal registered the other.
Boyle, Dubinsky out: The Rangers were without injured forwards Brian Boyle (concussion) and Brandon Dubinsky (leg) Saturday. Boyle, who returned to practice with the team Friday, has not played since Game 5 of the quarterfinals. Dubinsky appeared to suffer the injury in Game 7 against the Senators on Thursday. Coach John Tortorella said there was “no update” on either player.
Eminger up front: With the Rangers missing two forwards, defenseman Steve Eminger returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on March 15. The 28-year-old was used as a forward, however. He skated on the right wing with center John Mitchell and Mike Rupp.
Up Next: Rangers vs. Caps, Monday at 7:30 p.m.