Post-game Xtra: Stepan's PPG the winner in 2-1 defeat of Caps

The Rangers celebrate a third-period goal scored by

The Rangers celebrate a third-period goal scored by Derek Stepan during a game against the Washington Capitals. (Feb. 17, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

There's a main game story and notebook with the key storylines elsewhere here on newsday.com.

Here's more quotes, stats and observations:

So the Rangers are 8-3-1 after losing the first two games of the season, and had a season-high 20 shots on goal in the first, a very good sign. 

But the key was the sixth PPG of the year, by Derek Stepan, his second goal in the last three games, and he had this to say afterward:

“We had a lot of really great looks, We only scored one but I think we had a bunch of chances. It’s three great passes, after Nash’s spin-o-rama at the blueline. I’ll take a bunch of those this year.”

“We just wanted to keep shooting and try to keep bodies in front of him (Braden Holtby)…When they started to surge a bit, we didn’t get hurt like in the last few games (when they blew 2-0 and 3-0 leads against the Bruins and Isles).

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Carl Hagelin, who has scored five goals in the last four games on a line with Stepan and Rick Nash, was voted the first star. “He can outskate anyone,” said Nash, who has a four-game point streak, “so it’s easy for me and Stepan to find him.”  Nash by the way, as I wrote in the main and the notebook in Newsday, had eight shots on goal. He’s going to have a multi-goal game at some point soon. 

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Torts: “The most important thing is that we stayed with it. I thought it was the most pace we played with in the first half of the game.”

Torts on Del Zotto, who had a team-high 24:17 on ice. The power play “has been in his hands for the past couple of years. Sometimes he’;s really good at it and sometimes he’s really bad at it. He makes a great play there tonight and has played really well the last couple of games.”

Random Thoughts…

Ryan Callahan set the gritty tone again, with six hits and six blocks….Brian Boyle had five hits and two shots in 17:52 and was more assertive…J.T. Miller, 19, who played in his sixth game, had no shots and one hit in 13:52….Washington is 5-9-1 after having their three-game win streak broken…The Rangers will practice tomorrow at noon, and we’ll learn Darroll Powe’s status. I suspect he has a concussion and Chris Kreider will play against Montreal here on Tuesday. How that affects the third and fourth lines is unclear. Arron Asham played just 3:36….Former Rangers Tom Poti (9:46) and Wojtek Wolski (one shot, minus 1) were ineffective.  

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