R1, Gm1: Capitals @ Rangers Recap

NEW YORK -- Matt Rempe scored the first of the three goals for the New York Rangers in a 2:06 span in the second period in a 4-1 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Jimmy Vesey had a goal and an assist, and Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider scored for New York, which is the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division and won the Presidents' Trophy as the top team during the regular season (55-23-4). Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves.

"I'll always remember it. It was awesome," Rempe said. "It didn't really kick in and then you hear the crowd. It was a dream come true. It was unreal. ... I know my game. I know I can skate well and be physical. I'm built for the playoffs, I think. ... I was happy with how tonight went."

Martin Fehervary scored, and Charlie Lindgren made 27 saves in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut for the Capitals, who are the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.

"The first period was OK," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. "The second period, a couple mistakes and they score goals, but we all understand it's a playoff game. Everybody has to play much better, so forget about this one and move forward."

Game 2 will be in New York on Tuesday.

Rempe gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 4:17 of the second, scoring from the left post for his first NHL playoff goal.

WSH@NYR R1, Gm1: Rempe buries opening goal in the 2nd period

"I think any game he's in the lineup he's had an effect on the game," Vesey said of Rempe. "I think it's been fun playing with him. He shows up every night for the team, and it's great to see him get that goal. It was a big goal in the game, obviously, but the look on his face was pretty cool, too."

Panarin put New York ahead 2-0 at 4:50 with a wrist shot from the right circle. He led the Rangers and was fourth in the NHL with 120 points (49 goals, 71 assists) during the regular season.

"They're opportunistic. They're a good team," Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. "We know they're going to be able to bury chances. We know we can't be giving them 2-on-1s in the middle of the ice and stuff like that. It's nothing we didn't expect, nothing we haven't talked about. We have a chance to play a lot better, and I think for us just regroup and put our heads down and get back to work like we always have."

WSH@NYR R1, Gm1: Panarin tucks it home to double Rangers' lead

Vesey increased the lead to 3-0 at 6:23 when his shot deflected off Carlson past Lindgren. He and his linemates Barclay Goodrow and Rempe combined for two goals and three assists.

"They've been good for us all year and it was big for them to play as well as they did tonight, score a couple goals for us," Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. "I think we have really good depth throughout our lineup and each line can score goals and defend and play solid hockey. That's the strength of our team, so I don't think anybody in here is surprised by that."

Fehervary got the Capitals to within 3-1 at 7:31 by deflecting a pass from Tom Wilson past Shesterkin. It was his first NHL playoff point in his ninth postseason game.

Kreider scored on a breakaway at 16:17 of the third for the 4-1 final.

"You're here to win games, and so it's obviously good to get the first one," Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. "… Everything ratchets up a little bit more (in the playoffs) and we're going to need to be ready, but you can only do one at a time. You need to win one at a time, so for that the result was good."

WSH@NYR R1, Gm1: Kreider tucks it home on a breakaway

Washington only had six shots in the third period and did not get its first on net until there was 7:44 remaining.

"It makes the game pretty easy when everyone's going like that," New York defenseman K'Andre Miller said. "I think we had our foot on the pedal all night and made it really hard on their defensemen, didn't give them much. "

The Capitals were 2-for-2 on the penalty kill but 0-for-4 on the power play.

"They've obviously got very good special teams over there, and to shut them down on the PK was big momentum for us," Carlson said. "We had plenty of chances to grab it through those kills, through the power plays, but when you let it blow in the wind, you never know what's going to happen."

NOTES: Kreider played in his 108th playoff game to pass Marc Staal for sole possession of third place Rangers history. Only Dan Girardi (122) and Henrik Lundqvist (130) have played in more. … Capitals defenseman Vincent Iorio sustained an upper-body injury in the second and did not return. Coach Spencer Carbery did not have an update. Washington was also without defensemen Nick Jensen (upper body) and Rasmus Sandin (upper body), and Carlson played a game-high 27:24. … Panarin has 121 points in the regular season and playoffs combined. The only Rangers players with more in one season are Jaromir Jagr (125 in 85 games in 2005-06) and Vic Hadfield (122 in 94 games in 1971-72). … Ovechkin was held without a shot on goal for the fourth time in 148 postseason games. He is second among active NHL players with 72 playoff goals, one behind Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski.