Washington Capitals lost 4-1 to New York Rangers in Game 1

NEW YORK – Jimmy Vesey had a goal and an assist, Artemi Panarin also scored, and the New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Matt Rempe and Chris Kreider also scored, Barclay Goodrow had two assists and Igor Shesterkin finished with 20 saves to help the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers start the postseason on a strong note.

The Rangers, seeking their first Stanley Cup championship in 30 years, won their third straight and 11th in the past 14 games. New York’s Peter Laviolette became the first coach in NHL history to take six teams to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Martin Fehervary scored and Charlie Lindgren stopped 27 shots for the Capitals, who had won three straight and four of their previous five games to earn the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night.

With the Rangers leading 3-1, Vesey had a great opportunity to extend the lead in the opening minute of the third period. However, Lindgren stopped his first attempt from close range and the rebound was deflected off Vesey and went wide, with Tom Wilson punching the ball clear.

Kaapo Kakko got a shot off the goal post about six minutes into the period.

Kreider made it 4-1 when he put a backhander past Lindgren on a breakaway from the right side with 3:43 left. It was his 41st postseason goal, extending his franchise record.

The Rangers stopped Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, who had no shots on goal. He was held without a shot just five times in 79 games during the season.

After a scoreless first period in which the teams combined for eleven shots on goal, four goals were scored in the second period.

Rempe got the Rangers on the scoreboard first, sweeping the puck in from the left side after a deflection over the front of the net by Vesey at 4:17.

Panarin, who scored a career-high 49 goals in the regular season, made it 2-0 just 33 seconds later at the 4:50 mark when he fired a shot past Lindgren from the right circle. Alexis Lafreniere knocked defenseman Vincent Iorio off the puck and shoulder-first into the boards. Lafreniere then sent the puck to Trocheck, who sent it to Panarin for the goal.

Iorio went to the locker room after the match and did not return.

Vesey made it 3-0 when he grabbed the puck from a draw in the right circle and fired it past Lindgren at 6:23. Rempe in front knocked down Beck Malenstyn and gave Vesey some space for his shot.

Fehervary deflected a Wilson shot off his foot and past Shesterkin to get the Capitals on the scoreboard at 7:31.

Rempe was whistled for giving the Capitals a power play 2:07 into the game. The Capitals managed just one shot on goal during the lead and had several shots blocked.

After a Nic Dowd shot at 4:50 for their second of the game, Washington failed to get another shot on goal until Dylan Strome’s attempt with 2:01 left in the period and Wilson’s follow-up rebound.

Both teams had two power plays in the first period and neither was able to capitalize.

The Rangers improved to 21-9 in the openers of a seven-game series at home.

Eastern Conference First Round, Game 2

Capitals at Rangers

Tuesday, 7 p.m