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Rangers Vs. Capitals, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 2: Caps Lead 2-1 After 1st Period

The Washington Capitals took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission against the New York Rangers in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden. The Caps jumped out to a two-goal lead, out-hustling the Rangers and taking advantage of turnovers to convert against Henrik Lundqvist.

The Caps opened the scoring 12 minutes into the first period, as fourth-line veteran Mike Knuble buried his second goal of the playoffs for the 1-0 lead. New York defenseman Stu Bickel coughed it up in the neutral zone and Round 1 hero Joel Ward was off to the races the other way with Knuble. Ward dropped it back to a trailing Keith Aucoin who gave it right back on a give-and-go. Ward then put a perfect cross on the stick of Knuble, who went charging to the back post. Knuble got his stick down on the ice and slammed it into the back of the net before Vezina finalist Lundqvist could rotate over.

Video of the goal below:

The Caps would take a 2-0 lead just five minutes later on Jason Chimera's third goal of the playoffs. Chimera, however, let the Rangers do the work themselves as New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh unknowingly knocked a loose puck in from across the goal line. Chimera, however, created the chance by hustling down the ice to challenge Lundqvist as he played the puck behind the net. Video of the goal below:

The Rangers would quickly get one back, however, on Brad Richards' second goal of the series which cut the lead in half. The goal was set up off a pretty feed from Marian Gaborik, as both he and Richards ran a perfect two-on-one break, with Richards beating the Caps' defense for a relatively uncontested shot. Video of the goal:

For more on the Washington Capitals, head on over to Japers Rink. For all the latest on the New York Rangers, make sure to visit Blueshirt Banter. Still not enough hockey? The SB Nation NHL Hub Page has all the lastest news from all 30 NHL teams.