Jack Roslovic of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal...

Jack Roslovic of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals in Game Two at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The rap against the otherwise high-flying Rangers entering the playoffs was that their five-on-five play could be and probably would need to be better.

Maybe. It was fine in Game 1. Then came Game 2, and it wasn’t necessary.

The Rangers and Capitals combined for a borderline-comical array of 11 minor penalties so varied they read like a beginner’s refereeing manual.

So the Rangers did with that what they do, winning, 4-3, at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night thanks to their special teams work and taking a 2-0 series lead.

Of the Rangers’ four goals, two came on power plays, one shorthanded. Two of the Capitals’ three goals also were on power plays.

And the game ended with a wild sequence with the Capitals playing six-on-five after pulling their goalie, as the Rangers repeatedly tried and failed to clear the puck.

“A little bit of hot potato,” Jacob Trouba said. “Sometimes that’s how you have to shut a game down, a little dirty. Not the way you draw it up, but it’s a win.”

After being badly outplayed in Game 1 on Sunday, the Capitals got off to a strong start, took a 1-0 lead, and battled to the end, even with aging superstar Alex Ovechkin having another quiet game.

“We were expecting them to come out hard, and they did,” Trouba said.

But it is difficult to imagine these Capitals, a fringe entrant into the Stanley Cup tournament, winning four of five games to take the series.

The Rangers are too good, too deep and too versatile, at least for this opponent.

The special teams assault started with the score tied at 1 in the first period, when Vincent Trocheck found Mika Zibanejad, who scored off the leg of the Capitals’ Alexander Alexeyev.

Then it was 2-2, and Jack Roslovic put the Rangers back in front with a sweet top-shelf wrister from a tough angle late in a power play.

“Having our second (power play) unit chip in, too, it’s always great to see and great to be a part of,” he said.

Finally, late in the second period, K’Andre Miller scored a shorthanded goal off a feed from Zibanejad to compete a nifty tic-tac-toe play, and it was 4-2.

It seemed inevitable that the Rangers would get a shorty at some point given how many chances they were generating when down a man.

Is this a sustainable formula for 14 more playoff victories? Why not? It got the Rangers this far.

They are not about to take anything for granted here, having blown a 2-0 series lead last season against the Devils before losing in seven games.

But they sure look like they are in position for a run. And it would help that cause to make quick work of the Capitals, a mediocre team fortunate to be in the playoffs at all.

The Rangers’ victory wrapped up a 4-0 stretch over four days at the Garden for the Rangers and Knicks.

Like the Knicks did against the 76ers on Monday, the Rangers proved capable of doing what had to be done in a frantic finish.

The fact they did it while one team had more skaters on the ice than the other was just business as usual for them. They seem to like odd numbers.

“I think it’s great to build confidence in that five-on-six game and be able to know that we can do it,” Roslovic said.

Goaltender Igor Shesterkin said, “Washington played great tonight, especially in the last minute. It was a tough for us.”

Tough nights that end well are what the playoffs are all about. The Rangers have a pretty win and a less-pretty one. Both count the same.

As Trouba spoke in the home locker room, there were two pucks sitting in a plastic Stanley Cup shell on the wall. Spots for 14 pucks remained.

“We’ll in come in here and not be overly excited after a win,” Trouba said. “We know we didn’t play our best hockey. But none of that matters right now. The only thing that matters is filling that thing up with pucks and getting wins.”


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