Resting players appears to be all the rage in the National Basketball Asssociation these days.
Left with little or nothing to play for, the New York Rangers pulled a similar tactic on Wednesday night. Their replacements, while playing well, fell to the Washington Capitals 2-0. With the loss, the Rangers are officially locked into a first round matchup with the Montreal Canadiens, the Rangers owning the first wild card spot.
Six regulars for the Rangers (47-26-6) rested for the evening, as captain Ryan McDonagh sat out for the third consecutive game, and he was joined by Rick Nash, Brady Skjei, Nick Holden, Mats Zuccarello and Jesper Fast, as the Rangers prepare for their seventh consecutive playoff appearance. With the exception of John Carlson, Washington (54-18-8) played all of their regulars en route to the win. The Rangers even outplayed Washington in the first period, outshooting them 9-6, overall keeping the shots close at 25-24.
Despite the effort, Washington clinched their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, awarded yearly to the team with the best regular season record. It’s their third trophy overall, first winning it in 2010. The Capitals got their first goal via Justin Williams on a 4-on-3, as Brendan Smith was sent to the box for holding an opposing stick. The Caps got their other goal in the third, as Williams assisted on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal. With the loss, the Rangers spilt their season series with Washington, with whom they have met in the postseason five times over the past eight seasons.
The Rangers will begin to wrap their regular season, playing the first of a back-to-back finale on Saturday night in Ottawa (12:30, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.