Rangers-Carl Hagelin: When Carl Hagelin is playing his best he is using his elite-level speed and his uncanny ability to win puck battles to his advantage in all three zones of the ice. In a nutshell, that was Hagelin in Game One on Thursday when he was without question the Rangers best player. Though he converted on only one of his three glorious scoring chances---hitting the cross bar once and being denied on a shorthanded breakaway by Braden Holtby another time---Hagelin was constantly on the puck and causing the Caps fits with his combination of speed and desire---both at even strength and on the penalty kill. The goal he did score was his first career post-season goal after being shut out in 17 playoff games a year ago. All of this should give him confidence moving forward in this year's post-season following a strong sophomore campaign in the NHL in which he played top-six minutes and scored 10 goals and finished with 24 points.
Capitals-Troy Brouwer: A true unsung hero in Washington's Game One win, Brouwer was an imposing physical force, finishing with a team-high seven hits in just under 20 minutes of ice-time. Brouwer had a thunderous give and take with Ryan McDonagh in the first period in the Rangers zone with each player delivering big hits along the wall at a time both teams were trying to establish which would be the more physical club. A Stanley Cup winner in 2010 with the Blackhawks, Brouwer is a true leader in the Caps dressing room as much as he is a prime player on the ice---as shown by his 19 goals and 33 points in 47 games played this season. Brouwer is a key example of why Ryane Clowe and Brian Boyle---and their size and physical play---were dearly missed in Game One against Washington.