Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season, Brandon Dubinsky added a Gordie Howe hat trick, and the Blueshirts dominated from the opening faceoff to hand Washington its sixth consecutive defeat.

Getty Images

From the first drop of the puck, the Rangers controlled the game. Brandon Prust, whose blue-collar hard work is really paying dividends, scored the only goal of the first period – which was just the start of the party.

A close 1-0 game after one was broken wide open in the second period where the Rangers scored three goals in the first 4:30, engineered by goals from Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik and Dubinsky.

After the Rangers increased their lead to 3-0 early in the second period, Caps’ coach Bruce Boudreau was irate on the bench after calling a time out. Soon after, with the Rangers up 4-0, Alex Ovechkin decided to take matters into his own hands. Ovechkin took a run at Dan Girardi with a clean, strong hip check; then sought out Dubinsky for a fight at center ice. Dubinsky obliged and after the two traded punches, with Dubinsky landing a couple more, Doobie took down the Caps’ captain and the Garden faithful erupted.

Ovechkin was looking to give his team a lift, but it certainly didn’t work. Marc Staal scored a shorthanded goal by joining the rush just over a minute after the fight to put the Rangers up 5-0. Later Ryan Callahan added two goals in the third period to put the sixth and seventh nails in the metaphorical coffin.

Ovechkin, who has just three goals in Washington’s last 16 games, was limited to four shots in 16:01 of total ice time while being matched up for most of the night against the Rangers’ defensive pairing of Girardi and Staal.

With 37 points, the Rangers are seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and six points behind the Philadelphia Flyers, the top two teams in the East’s Atlantic Division. But, the Rangers have the sixth-most points in all of the NHL and have achieved it through their hard work and their willingness to grind – things that are becoming a trademark of this team.

The Rangers will visit the League-leading Penguins on Wednesday night and we will likely see captain Chris Drury return from a broken finger.

Here’s the highlights from tonight’s game:

Interesting Facts:

With his fifth shutout of the season tonight, King Henrik is now tied with the Bruins’ Tim Thomas for the NHL-lead in shutouts.

Dubinsky leads the Rangers with 14 goals so far this season.

Rangers’ Three Stars:
First: Marc Staal – 1 Goal (SH), 1 Assist, +/- 3, 2 Shots, 25:01 TOI
Second: Henrik Lundqvist – 31 Saves, 31 Shots Faced
Third: Brandon Dubinsky – 1 G, 1 A, 5 PIM, +/- 4, 3 Shots