WASHINGTON -- In the absence of injured Marc Staal, the top Rangers defensemen need to shoulder the burden. On Sunday, it was Ryan McDonagh's turn to shine in his team's 4-1 win.
McDonagh was on the ice when the Capitals went ahead at 2:16, and his demeanor changed. "I got stuck out there a little long in the first five minutes, and they score that goal; it kind of woke me up," McDonagh said. "It told me I had to get my legs going, use my legs to beat people up the ice, try to create when the time is right."
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The 23-year-old ended up with two assists, his seventh and eighth, in a team-high 25:58, was a plus-two, took two shots and blocked three.
"It was as consistently as he has played in a while," coach John Tortorella said. "He was really confident with the puck, carrying it. The standard's set so high for him, if there's a couple little hiccups in his game, you start thinking, 'What's going on?' He played really well."
After misjudging Steve Oleksy's long goal, Martin Biron swore to himself. "I said a few French mumbles under my breath and went back to work," he said. "I came in after the first period [tied at 1] and I said, 'Boys, sorry about that one. We're even now, let's go for it.' "
Tortorella said big hits by Micheal Haley on Tomas Kundratek and Steve Eminger on Aaron Volpatti just after the six-minute mark, and another by Ryan Callahan on Kundratek before Derek Stepan's tying goal, "woke us up, and from that point on, I think we were really good through all three zones, grinded and did our job on the walls."
. . . Tortorella said he "had never seen" two penalties called on the same player on a shift, and was asking officials about why the faceoff wasn't in the offensive zone. "They need a new rule," he said.