Vesey scores 2, Rangers rally for 4-2 win over Capitals
WASHINGTON (AP) — New York rookie Jimmy Vesey says he’s getting more comfortable. The same can’t be said of defenses that face the Rangers.
Vesey scored the tying and go-ahead goals 3 minutes apart in the second period to lead the Rangers to their latest high-scoring victory, a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
“I’m still figuring out how to score goals in this league,” said Vesey, who spent last season as a college hockey standout at Harvard. “It’s the best league in the world. So just trying to learn every day and get better. Tonight was big for me I think.”
Rick Nash had a late empty-net goal and an assist for New York, which has scored four or more goals in all three of its victories.
Brandon Pirri also scored in a three-goal second period that began the Rangers’ comeback from two goals down.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves for New York, including 19 in a row after Alex Ovechkin gave Washington a 2-0 lead late in the first.
“We just stuck with it and made some plays that we needed to make with the puck,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of his team’s comeback. “And in the third period, we did everything we could to shut them down. Hank made some big saves. We’ll take the two points and we’ll go home.”
New York has now won six of its last eight games in Washington.
Lars Eller added his first goal with the Capitals, who had a three-game win streak snapped and failed to earn at least a point for the first time this season.
Washington still led 2-1 when it failed to put a shot on goal during a four-minute power play, its only man advantage of the evening.
“We was so casual,” Ovechkin said. “We couldn’t stay in the zone. So obviously it’s blame on us, and we can’t play like that.”
After Pirri’s goal early in the second period cut the deficit in half, Vesey’s two goals put New York up 3-2 with 5:38 left.
On the first, Nash took a rebound off Holtby’s pads in front of the crease and found Vesey on the right for a simple wrist shot. It was New York’s first power-play goal in three attempts on the night, and third in 17 chances this season.
Vesey did most of the work himself on the second, taking Mats Zuccarello’s pass on the left, circling around defender Karl Alzner and then beating Holtby with a backhander from in close for his third of the season.
“That was a power move from a young player that everybody can see has got a lot of potential,” Vigneault said.
Washington’s best chance to tie came just before the midpoint of the third period, when Lundqvist denied T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin in quick succession from in close.
“I loved the way we win this game,” Lundqvist said. “The way we battled back. The way we believe in ourself and our system. . Being down two after the first, it was tough, but I think we all thought we could do it.”
NOTES: Washington has now scored first in all five of its games this season. ... New York D Dan Girardi (groin strain) and LW Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) were scratched again Saturday and remain day-to-day. ... Eller scored his first goal since joining the Capitals from Montreal in an offseason trade. ... Referee Kelly Sutherland officiated his 1000th game.
Capitals: At Edmonton on Wednesday night in the opener of a four-game trip against Canadian teams.
Rangers: Host Arizona on Sunday to complete its first back-to-back set of the season.