Matt Rempe and Rangers’ fourth line comes up big in Game 1

Matt Rempe and the New York Rangers’ fourth line made their presence felt in the opener of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.


Jimmy Vesey had a goal and an assist, home-crowd favorite Rempe also scored, and Barclay Goodrow had two assists in the Rangers’ 4-1 win.


“Throughout the playoffs you need all four lines,” Goodrow said.


“If we can chip in a goal or two, obviously that’s huge for the team. So it’s a good way to start, we’re just going to keep it going.”


The physical line got into it early as Rempe was whistled for charging to give the Capitals a power play 2:07 into the game.


After a tightly played opening period in which the Rangers outshot the Capitals 7-4, Rempe got the Rangers on the scoreboard at 4:17 of the second.


He got a deflection across the front of the goal from Vesey and swept it in past goalie Charlie Lindgren.


It was Rempe’s first goal in his first playoff game after he had a goal and an assist in 17 games during the regular season.


“I try to play my hardest every game,” Rempe said.


The 21-year-old rookie who has garnered a lot of attention for his physical play and fights drew chants of “Rem-pe! Rem-pe!” from the Madison Square Garden crowd.


“Obviously everybody knows his story and what he has brought to this team,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said.


“The energy, the excitement. The building is going crazy. It’s big for our team — that line playing like that and contributing. It’s good for us.”


New York coach Peter Laviolette also noted the lift Rempe’s goal provided.


“That was a big goal to put energy in the building, maybe because it was him, too, put a little more extra juice in the building,” Laviolette said.


“And then be able to get another one right after that. That was a turning point in the game.”



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Laviolette couldn’t come up with another player who has had the kind of effect that Rempe has had.


“I can’t think of a player that’s come in and have that impact on a team, on a fan base, on a city,” he said.


“If you just watch him, look at him, he just smiles. He’s just happy, loves being here, loves to play the game.”


After a goal by Artemi Panarin 33 seconds later, Vesey got the puck off a draw in the right circle and fired it past Lindgren at 6:23 to make it 3-0.


Rempe knocked down Capitals forward Beck Malenstyn in front to give Vesey some space for his shot.

“(Rempe) scoring sent the fans crazy, and we scored two more goals in the next few minutes,” Vesey said.


“I can’t say for certain that it is why we scored three goals but he definitely gets everyone into the game.”

Vesey had a great chance at another goal in the opening minute of the third period.


However, Lindgren made a pad save on his attempt on the left doorstep, and the rebound deflected off Vesey and went wide with Tom Wilson knocking it away.


The Capitals’ Dylan McIlrath ran into Rempe near the goal line and began jawing at him with about seven minutes left in the game.


The two fought previously in the minors but Rempe skated away this time.

As the Capitals were skating off the ice at the end of the second period,


Washington’s Trevor van Riemsdyk got into a verbal spat with several Rangers players. There was some pushing and shoving.


“They want to play physical, we want to play physical,” Goodrow said. “It’s playoffs. It’s kind of what it’s all about.”


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