The New York Rangers continued to show that their among the NHL's best -- currently they are by one points -- Sunday afternoon against the Washington Capitals. Not only did they win their third straight, 3-2, the Blueshirts improved to an impressive 7-1-1 on the second half of back-to-back sets. For the most part, nobody would've realized that in this game.
Ryan Callahans' blazing stretch carried on, as he began the scoring midway through the first period with an off-balance skate to back-handed goal for his 22nd of the year. The Blueshirts' captain has 22 goals, one of his career high, and five goals in his last three games. New York dodged a few bullets in the first period, despite outshooting the Capitals 8-7, but got lucky as the puck rung off a few posts and Henrik Lundqvist was his All-Star self. The King made 24 saves for his 26th win of the year.
Alexander Semin made things interesting in the second period, knotting it up at 1 on a blazing slap shot from the right circle that Lundqvist had next to no chance in stopping. Ryan McDonagh played another phenomenal game, blocking five shots, while logging a team-high 25:23 in ice time. He also put home a beauty of a goale, with a slick toe-drag move that squeaked by Michal Neuvirth. He also avoided a huge injury scare, tweaking his knee and needing help to get off the ice, but luckily was back on the ice minutes later for a penalty kill.
Brandon Prust scored his first goal since October -- third of the season -- when he converted a 2-on-1 penalty-kill opportunity with Brandon Dubinsky to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Dubinsky had two helpers in the game. The Caps would click it up a notch in the final 10 minutes of the final frame: John Carlson scored his seventh with two and half minutes left, but they weren't able to solve Lundqvist in the final minutes.
With a 36-13-5 record, 77 points, the Rangers hold a one-point edge over the Detroit Red Wings for the best record in the NHL. The Wings play the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, however, so that lead could be short-lived. The Rangers hope they remain second-best; beating an intra-division and conference rival is certainly more beneficial.