Neuvirth blanks Rangers, Capitals take 2-0 series lead

Jason Chimera and Jason Arnott scored within a 1:57 span in the second period and Michal Neuvirth made 22 saves to lift the Washington Capitals to a 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

Chimera opened the scoring 2:11 into the middle frame with a nice one-timer in front of the net from Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich, who fought his way from behind the net to get the pass away.

Arnott extended the lead on a power play at 4:08 to make it 2-0 and it was more than enough for Neuvirth, who stopped 22 shots for his first career playoff shutout.

The Rangers outshot the Capitals 22-18 but could not find a way to beat Neuvirth. At the other end of the rink, Henrik Lundqvist made 16 saves for New York.

In the first period, the Rangers piled 13 shots on goal but the 23-year-old Neuvirth was impressive once again as he frustrated the Rangers all night long.

Neuvirth has been a big reason for the Capitals success so far this series, stopping 46 of the 47 shots he’s faced in the first two games.

WASHINGTON, NEW YORK BOXSCORE

Game 2 was a bit more physical than the first game, mostly because Sean Avery was back in the lineup for the Rangers after being a healthy scratch in Game 1. The teams combined for 29 hits in the first period alone.

Washington got off to a slow start as it took them more than six minutes to record a shot on goal. Their best chance in the first period came on a penalty kill when Mike Knuble missed an empty net from a pass by Brooks Laich.

After the first, the Capitals dominated the Rangers the rest of the way as New York was only able to muster nine shots in the final two periods.

The Rangers didn’t get a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes at one point in the second and were only able to get three shots on net in the period.

If New York wants to get back into the series, they’ll have to find a way to solve Neuvirth and the Capitals’ stingy defence. The series shifts to New York for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.