Carl Hagelin didn’t need 17 minutes to do what he couldn’t do in 17 playoff games last season.

The second-year Swede shook the weight of three playoff series off his shoulders just 16:44 into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday night, scoring his first career playoff goal and giving the Rangers a short-lived lead, but his effective energy was unable to help the Blueshirts avoid a 3-1 loss to the Capitals at Verizon Center.

“I think last year I played with confidence, too, but the experience definitely helped,” Hagelin said. “It’s loud in there and you know the momentum swings are going to be there and it’s a matter of staying calm and sticking with it.”

After the Capitals dominated play for most of the first period, taking the first nine shots of the game, Hagelin finally smacked the pendulum in the Rangers’ favor after coming up with a loose puck behind the boards.

The 24-year-old wrapped around the net and fired the puck directly off the left skate of defenseman John Erskine and past goalie Braden Holtby to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.

“[Hagelin’s] got to be a huge part of our success here if we’re going to get rolling,” Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “He’s got that speed, and it’s hard to defend him. That’s the strength of his game and we got to get the puck to him more often.”

Just over one minute into the second period, with the Capitals on a power play, Hagelin got the puck for himself, stealing a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and jetting out to open ice with no opponent in sight aside from Holtby, but the Swedish speedster was unable to convert, as his shot sailed high.

“I started skating down, I wasn’t sure how close the other guys were, but I kept skating and I tried to go high blocker and he made a good save,” Hagelin said. “Obviously we’ve got to score on our chances, but other than that I thought we played a pretty strong game.”