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game recap

Kevin Shattenkirk debuts, Capitals defeat Rangers

Defenseman plays first game with Washington since trade, coach Barry Trotz gets 700th NHL victory

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Kevin Shattenkirk made his Washington Capitals debut and coach Barry Trotz got his 700th NHL win in a 4-1 victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Shattenkirk had four shots on goal in 17:16 of ice time in his first game with the Capitals since he was traded from the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

"It's still a work in progress," Shattenkirk said. "There's a couple moments where I have some habits that I have to change into the team habits here. There's just great positivity on the bench from the coaches and a lot of help from the rest of the [defensemen] as well."

 

WATCH: All Capitals vs. Rangers highlights

 

Trotz, who is 700-536-126 with 60 ties, is sixth among NHL coaches in wins behind Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars (726) and third among active coaches to Ruff and Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks (840).

"It means I've been around a long time," Trotz said. "I've been blessed, coached a lot of great players and been with two wonderful organizations and surrounded myself with really smart people, the assistant coaches and the associate coaches over the years."

Marcus Johansson scored twice and had an assist, and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen each had two assists for Washington (42-13-7).

The Capitals are 29-6-4 since Dec. 5 and have points in 25 of their past 29 games (22-4-3).

Johansson's 20th goal tied it 1-1 at 7:28 of the second period. Johansson completed a give-and-go with Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov by putting in a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist's outstretched glove.

Video: WSH@NYR: Johansson slams home rebound to tie the game

The Rangers (40-21-2) initially regained the lead on Michael Grabner's tip-in at 12:06 but Trotz's challenged that Grabner was offside and the goal was overturned. Brett Connolly scored 4:20 later to make it 2-1.

"It was a long time but it's both teams there," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "You've got to find a way to get yourself back into it emotionally and execution-wise. For whatever reason, maybe it did fall off a little bit there but they had to wait through it too."

Johansson scored his second of the game at 1:15 of the third when he redirected Kuznetsov's pass over Lundqvist's right shoulder. It was Johansson's 21st goal of the season, passing his previous NHL career high set in 2014-15.

Nicklas Backstrom's 19th, a power-play goal at 17:57, gave Washington a 4-1 lead.

Brady Skjei gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a redirect off Adam Clendening's pass for his third goal at 5:08 of the first period.

Braden Holtby made 29 saves to extend his streak of 19 consecutive games (17-0-2) with a point, the third-longest in Capitals history behind Jose Theodore in 2009-10 (20-0-3) and himself last season (20-0-2).

Lundqvist made 34 saves for the Rangers.

Video: WSH@NYR: Johansson finishes Kuznetsov's feed in 3rd

 

Goal of the game

Connolly scored the decisive goal on a backhand. Niskanen stickhandled through traffic before losing the puck but Connolly beat Skjei to it and swept the puck past Lundqvist.

Video: WSH@NYR: Connolly beats Lundqvist from in close

 

Save of the game

Lundqvist snared Alex Ovechkin's rising shot from the left circle with the Capitals on the power play to keep it 1-0 at 1:58 of the second.

Video: WSH@NYR: Lundqvist robs Ovechkin with a great snag

 

Highlight of the game

Skjei started a rush out of his own zone before finishing a tic-tac-toe sequence with J.T. Miller and Clendening to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Video: WSH@NYR: Skjei tips Clendening's feed into the twine

 

Unsung performance of the game

The Capitals' top defense pair of Karl Alzner and John Carlson helped shut down the Rangers. Alzner blocked seven shots in 23:41. Carlson had an assist, five shots, a block and a takeaway while leading all skaters in ice time (24:35).

 

They said it

"There's no panic in his game, that's what I really like about him. You can tell he's a veteran hockey player who has good sense, distributes the puck really well. He was making the right reads." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Kevin Shattenkirk

 

"We started real well. Really liked our first period. Thought we competed, thought we executed. In the second period, their top players seemed like they took their gear to another level, and we didn't follow. Our top players didn't execute and compete as hard as theirs. They dominated, without a doubt, the second period. And in the third, we had a couple opportunities, our power play had a couple opportunities, and our guys didn't get it done." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Need to know

The Rangers acquired defenseman Brendan Smith in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. "Real competitive defenseman, can skate well, make a good first pass," Vigneault said. "He competes real hard, and we're going to need that." … Niskanen played 18:19 after missing two games with a lower-body injury. … Rangers center Mika Zibanejad was a late scratch after taking warmups. Zibanejad took a shot off his left wrist during a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. … The Capitals were without forward T.J. Oshie (upper body) and defenseman Brooks Orpik (lower body).

 

What's next

Capitals: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NESN, MSG, NHL.TV) 

 

Video: Johansson, Holtby lead Caps to 4-1 win over Rangers

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