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Capitals vs Rangers

Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 7:50 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

No lineup changes for Rangers or Capitals

WASHINGTON -- There will be no changes to either lineup for Game 7 at Verizon Center between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Both Capitals coach Adam Oates and Rangers coach John Tortorella are sticking with the same forward lines and defense combinations from Game 6.

The Capitals are confident having Game 7 in their own building, where they are 3-0 in this series and 10-1 against the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Game 5 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Laich, Erat will not play for Capitals in Game 7

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said there may be one change to his lineup for Game 7 Monday night at Verizon Center, but he did not disclose what it would be.

"We're waiting to see," Oates said.

However, Oates did confirm that injured forwards Brooks Laich and Martin Erat will not play. He also said Mike Green, who was roughed up in the scrum after the final buzzer in Game 6 Sunday, is fine.

The Capitals are confident having Game 7 in their own building, where they are 3-0 in this series and 10-1 against the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Game 5 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"We're going to talk about trying to control our emotions," Oates said. "It's our building, our crowd, it's going to be exciting and you know what, you've gotta be able to try and take that energy in and just control yourself."


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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers ignoring past Washington woes

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is fond of saying home-ice advantage doesn't mean anything unless you get to a Game 7.

Well, the Rangers are in another Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, only this time it's on the road at Verizon Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), where they lost Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

So how does Tortorella feel now?

"I think there is an advantage to the home team," he said Monday morning, "but quite honestly we're the visiting team and we really don't care."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 9:15 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

In tight series, bad bounces play large role

NEW YORK -- In the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals' evened-up Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Capitals hold a slim 12-11 scoring advantage in what has been the closest series so far of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Two games have ended overtime and most contests have been decided by the slightest of bounces.

Heading into Game 7 Monday night in Washington, that likely means that one player's bad bounce could mean the difference between advancing to the second round and going home for the summer.

That was the case in Sunday's Game 6, as Derick Brassard's point shot deflected off the glove of Capitals rookie Steve Oleksy and into the Capitals’ net. That one bad bounce would be the deciding play in New York's 1-0 victory.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 4:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Kreider returns to Rangers' lineup, replacing Clowe

NEW YORK -- Chris Kreider is back in the New York Rangers lineup to replace injured forward Ryane Clowe for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

The Washington Capitals lead the best-of-7 series, 3-2, and can advance to the conference semifinals for a third straight season with a win Sunday.

Kreider played in Game 1 of the series against the Washington Capitals but has been a healthy scratch since. He had five goals in 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games last season.


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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 3:24 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Capitals look to withstand early Rangers attack

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates revealed on Sunday that he would not be making any changes to his lineup heading into Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers.

Sporting mostly the same lineup that has given the team a 3-2 series lead, Oates acknowledged that the Capitals' chances of closing out this opening-round series could hinge on the opening moments in front of what figures to be a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd.

"Obviously it's their building. They're going to feel good in front of their home crowd. We need a good start to get into the game," Oates said. "We expect them to come hard. We just need to handle all the decisions you need to make early to get into the game. We can't give them any more ammo."


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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 3:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Clowe, Powe, Staal all likely out for Game 6

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers likely will be missing three players when they face the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (4:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN).

Forwards Ryane Clowe and Darroll Powe, each out with an undisclosed injury believed to be related to a concussion, did not practice Saturday and no update was provided on their status from the team. Clowe was injured in the first period of Game 5 Saturday and did not return. Powe has missed the past two games after leaving in the first period of Game 3.

Defenseman Marc Staal (right eye) practiced for the second straight day but told NHL.com nothing has changed in his status and he remains day-to-day because of the vision problems he is having.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:44 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Staal not in lineup for Rangers in Game 5

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal returned to practice Friday morning in advance of Game 5 against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2) but is not playing for the second straight game.

Staal also missed Game 4 on Wednesday after returning to action in Game 3 following an absence of 29 games. Staal didn't want to go into details about what is holding him back and instead said he simply isn't fit to play right now because of his right eye injury, which occurred March 5 in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I'll wake up [Saturday] and go at it again," Staal said. "With this thing, the way I've been dealing with it is I wake up in the morning and take it from there. I couldn't speculate one way or the other."

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:44 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Wilson replacing Erat in Capitals' lineup

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Prospect Tom Wilson is making his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals Friday in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers (NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

The Capitals' first-round pick (No. 16) in the 2012 NHL Draft was recalled Thursday from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and is skating on Washington's fourth line alongside Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle in Game 5.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Oates wants Capitals to get off to fast start

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals Adam Oates admitted prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday night that he's "worried" about how his team will be at the start of the game.

He pointed to the starts each team had as being a difference between the Capitals winning Games 1 and 2 at Verizon Center and losing to the New York Rangers in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Hart honor nice, but Ovechkin focused on winning

ARLINGTON, Va. -- When the Washington Capitals were faced with a 10-point deficit in the Southeast Division standings in mid-March and were in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years, Alex Ovechkin turned his season around.

Beginning March 14, Ovechkin had a League-high 23 goals and 36 points in the final 23 games of the regular season as the Capitals went 17-4-2 to clinch the division title.

Ovechkin's efforts were recognized Friday when he was named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded annually to the "player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team." Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the other finalists.

"It's nice and I'm sure I'm going to have time to celebrate later, but right now it's all about business and focus on the game," Ovechkin said as the Capitals prepared Friday for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"It's big. It means like I'm still [a factor]," he said of his fourth career Hart Trophy nomination, his first since 2009-10. "It was a hard year, it was hard season for all of us, and I'm happy to be in that kind of position."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 1:33 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Capitals' Erat to miss Game 5

ARLINGTON, Va. -- According to Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates, forward Martin Erat will not play in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers on Friday.

Erat left Game 4 on Wednesday with an upper-body injury with 1:34 remaining in the first period after a collision involving teammate Alex Ovechkin and Rangers forward Derek Stepan.

Erat was favoring his left forearm as he returned to the Capitals dressing room, and Oates said Thursday the team is awaiting results on an MRI exam.

Erat's injury means that the Capitals' lineup will have a different look for Game 5 at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), but Oates would not confirm who will draw a sweater.

The first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series is even at two games apiece.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 10:22 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Capitals recall Crabb, Wilson from AHL Bears

The Washington Capitals have recalled right wings Joey Crabb and Tom Wilson from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, and they will participate in Thursday's practice with the team.

Martin Erat left Game 4 against the New York Rangers on Wednesday with 1:34 remaining in the opening period and appeared to be favoring his arm following a hard collision involving Rangers center Derek Stepan and Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin.

After the game, Washington coach Adam Oates said Erat was dealing with an upper-body injury and would be re-evaluated Thursday.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 12:06 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers' McDonagh praises Staal for deciding to sit

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal didn't play in Game 4 Wednesday night, and still fellow blueliner Ryan McDonagh found a way to heap praise on him for helping the team.

"I think it's an honest and humble decision by him knowing he didn't want to put the team in any jeopardy," McDonagh said. "It takes a lot of guts to do that."

Staal's absence from the Rangers' lineup was surprising only because he showed no indications that he wouldn't play for a second straight game after missing 29 in a row with a right eye injury.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 7:30 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers have Clowe in lineup; Staal out

NEW YORK -- Ryane Clowe returned to the New York Rangers lineup for Game 4 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden after missing the previous four games with an undisclosed injury.

Defenseman Marc Staal is not in the lineup after playing in Game 3 Monday, his first game since March 5.

The Rangers trail the Washington Capitals in the best-of-7 series, 2-1.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Holtby's puck-handling proving key in series

NEW YORK -- As in any series, the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers has come down to the play of both teams' starting goaltenders. Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby have come up with remarkable saves at the timeliest of moments, but when it comes to one aspect of this series, which Washington leads 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Wednesday (NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), Holtby does hold one sizeable advantage over the defending Vezina Trophy winner.

Against an aggressive Rangers team that has been keyed by its energetic forecheck, Holtby's puck-handling skills have been vital to the Capitals' potent breakout. While Lundqvist never has been known for playing the puck, Holtby occasionally has seen fit to fire a two-line pass down the wing, squashing any opportunities for the Rangers to set up in the Capitals' zone.

"It's been huge," defenseman Mike Green said of Holtby's puck-handling. "He's been great at it all year. Especially being a defenseman, it really helps out. It's another utility that we can use. Also, we don't have to go back and pick up pucks behind the net. He's making plays. Not many goalies can do that. It's impressive."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 1:54 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Laich skates, still no timetable for return

NEW YORK -- After being limited to nine games this season and dealing with an aggravation of an injury that held him out of the first two months of the 2012-13 season, Brooks Laich's first practice in over a month didn't get off to a smooth start.

The Washington Capitals forward, who hasn't played since April 4, lost an edge and stumbled into the boards at the beginning of the team's morning skate prior to Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers, which the Capitals lead 2-1.

Laich and his teammates got a nice chuckle out of the fall.

"That was the first contact I've taken in a while. It felt good to get into that," Laich said following the skate. "It was a bit of a wake-up call, maybe. The guys had a good laugh at it. I had a good laugh at it too."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers know Lundqvist is their 'backbone'

NEW YORK -- How do Henrik Lundqvist's teammates feel about him?

"He's the backbone of this team," New York Rangers forward Rick Nash said Wednesday from Madison Square Garden.

What about the coaching staff -- how do they feel about Lundqvist?

"He's the backbone of our club," coach John Tortorella said Wednesday in advance of Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

Sensing a trend here? For good reason, of course -- Lundqvist, who won the Vezina Trophy last year, again is a finalist for the award given to the NHL's best goalie.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:51 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Clowe continuing to improve; Powe misses practice

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe finally got to test himself in some battle drills Tuesday afternoon and said he felt good, but there is still no indication if he is going to play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Clowe has been practicing since last Friday but has missed the past four games dating to the regular season with an undisclosed injury.

"I was hopeful for Game 2, but that's just how I think," Clowe said. "Sometimes you've gotta be smart when you've got an injury, you don't want to push it. If you asked around to people who know me, I don't like missing games, and if it's an opportunity to play I'm going to play"

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Home ice has served Capitals, Rangers well so far

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr said he feels the first team that's able to break serve in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals might have the best chance at taking the series.

Fehr spoke to reporters Tuesday morning outside his hotel during a rare off day to discuss how important home ice has been for his club and the New York Rangers in the opening three games of what has become an intriguing showdown between two very evenly matched clubs.

"I don't think there was any difference in the way the Rangers played [on Monday], but they played with the crowd behind them which is what we did at Verizon Center and that's a big difference," Fehr said. "Momentum plays a big part in the games and when you have the fans cheering you on, it's a lot easier to play."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Oates puts premium on rest for Capitals

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is a firm believer that the best weapon this time of the year is rest.

So after a tough 4-3 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the New York Rangers on Monday, that's exactly what Oates gave his players in preparation for Game 4 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"At this time of the year I'm not worried about conditioning," Oates said. "It's more fatigue and getting better prepared mentally. So we'll take [Tuesday] off and recharge the battery."

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 11:34 PM

By Davis Harper -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Brassard's three-point night sparks Rangers

NEW YORK – Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Derick Brassard.

After two consecutive disappearing acts to start the series against the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers’ center broke out with a goal and two assists – his first career postseason points – to help the Rangers cut the series deficit to 2-1 in Monday’s 4-3 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Since the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Brassard has added valuable offense, scoring five goals and six assists over 13 critical games that helped New York finish sixth in the Eastern Conference.

But in the first two games of this series, Brassard managed just three shots – and little else – in 28:38 of ice time as the Capitals raced out to a 2-0 series lead.


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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 7:34 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers’ Marc Staal returns for Game 3

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is in the lineup for Monday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2). He will replace Steve Eminger.

Forward Ryane Clowe remains out of the lineup. He will miss his fourth straight game.

Staal missed the past 29 games with an eye injury. He was injured on March 5, when a shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen was deflected directly into his right eye. Staal has said he is still has blurred vision in the eye.

"As soon as I'm not second-guessing myself or hesitating and doing things I normally do become automatic is when I can jump into a playoff type game," Staal said prior to Game 1. "You go out there in a playoff game and you're thinking too much you're going to get yourself in trouble and the team."

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 1:11 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Capitals stick with winning lineup for Game 3

NEW YORK -- After eliminating the New York Rangers in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of the previous four seasons, the Washington Capitals now bring a two-game lea in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series to Madison Square Garden.

But there was no talk Monday of how a road win in Game 3 would give the Capitals a series stranglehold on a team that beat the Capitals in seven games in last year's conference semis.

"We're just thinking about tonight, we can't get too far ahead," Capitals coach Adam Oates said following Monday's morning skate. "The crowd will be crazy and you've got to enjoy that. As a player, you've got to want that feeling and be prepared for them to be excited about it. You've got to be in control and make good decisions with the puck."

If any NHL coach should be familiar with the MSG crowd during the playoffs, it's Oates. As an assistant with the New Jersey Devils last season, Oates went against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, which New Jersey won in six games. Prior to that series, Oates and the Devils coaching staff scouted New York's second-round series against - of all teams - the Washington Capitals. All those games and all that scouting has sharpened Oates' familiarity with his first-round opponent.

"I think it's very similar," Oates said of this year's Rangers squad compared to last year. "The type of style they play, it's hard hockey, so your team has to be ready for hard hockey. The first two games [in this series], the margin of error was really slim. Both teams played well, both goalies played well."

The Capitals will ice the same lineup for Game 3 in New York that won the previous two games in Washington. Forward Brooks Laich, who has been out of the lineup with a groin injury since April 4, did not participate in the team's practice and remains out, although he did work out on a stationary bike following the skate.

Here is the projected Washington Capitals lineup for Game 3 Monday night against the New York Rangers:

Marcus Johansson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Alex Ovechkin

Martin Erat -- Mike Ribeiro -- Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera -- Mathieu Perreault -- Eric Fehr

Matt Hendricks -- Jay Beagle -- Joel Ward

Karl Alzner -- Mike Green

John Erskine -- John Carlson

Jack Hillen -- Steve Oleksy

Braden Holtby

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Jeff Schultz, Wojtek Wolski, Aaron Volpatti, Tom Poti

Injured: Brooks Laich (groin)

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Clowe calls himself 'game-time decision' for Game 3

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe isn't sure if he will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday.

Clowe, who missed the first two games of the series against the Washington Capitals with an undisclosed injury, called himself a "game-time decision." Rangers coach John Tortorella does not provide lineup or injury updates during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Obviously you guys [the media] want to know if I'm going to play," Clowe said after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "I'm still not sure about that."


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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 12:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Clowe hoping to return for Game 3

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Just as he was prior to Game 2, injured New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe is hoping he's able to play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

The Washington Capitals lead the Rangers, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series.

"When I spoke to you guys [Friday] I said I wasn't ruling out that game and I'm not sure either [about Game 3], but it's a possibility," said Clowe, who has missed three straight games dating back to the last game of the regular season. "That's kind of where we're at right now."

Clowe skated on his own prior to the game Saturday and practiced Sunday in a regular contact jersey. However, it was basically a non-contact practice so he still isn't sure if he's able to take a hit or give a hit, which is likely going to be the deciding factor in if he plays or if he sits again.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 12:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Dorsett, Boyle part of Rangers' Game 2 lineup

WASHINGTON -- The New York Rangers got two of their four injured players back in the lineup for Game 2 against the Washington Capitals on Saturday at Verizon Center.

Forwards Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett were inserted into the lineup for Chris Kreider and Kris Newbury. However, defenseman Marc Staal (eye) and forward Ryane Clowe (undisclosed) remain out of the lineup.

The Rangers trail the best-of-7 series, 1-0.


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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:17 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Tortorella talks Moore no-goal in Game 1 third period

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella agreed with the decision to not award John Moore a goal late in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night against the Washington Capitals even though Tortorella thought it was a goal.

"It's the right call," he said. "I think it's a goal, but it's the right call."

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:06 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Nash felt good with play, now needs a win

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers forward Rick Nash felt strong and fast in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, his first game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009 and his fifth career NHL postseason game.

The problem is Nash's 16 shot attempts, including eight on goal, didn't equate to anything tangible for the Rangers, who lost to the Washington Capitals 3-1 and fell behind 1-0 in the best-of-7 series.

"I thought I had some good opportunities but they didn't go in," said Nash, who is now 0-5 in the playoffs dating to 2009, when his Columbus Blue Jackets were swept in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings. "That's the difference. In big games you've got to bear down and make sure you score on your opportunities."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 8:15 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Ward's return adds depth, experience for Capitals

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Forward Joel Ward returned to the Washington Capitals lineup Thursday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers.

Ward missed the final nine games of the regular season with a knee injury he suffered after blocking a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo on April 7.

"I get a chance to play," Ward said. "I'm excited, for sure, and I get to reunite with my buddies, so I'm pretty happy about that."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 1:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Staal practices, but isn't ready to return yet

WASHINGTON -- The New York Rangers will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday against the Washington Capitals without their four injured players.

Defenseman Marc Staal (eye) and forwards Brian Boyle (knee), Ryane Clowe (undisclosed) and Derek Dorsett (clavicle) all will be watching Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Staal, Boyle and Dorsett skated Thursday morning. Clowe did not, though he did travel to Washington with the team.

Staal, who has been out since March 5 when he was struck in the right eye by a deflected shot, said he had another good day Thursday. He said he's getting closer but still doesn't feel ready to play.

"As soon as I'm not second-guessing myself or hesitating and doing things I normally do become automatic is when I can jump into a playoff-type game," Staal said. "You go out there in a playoff game and you're thinking too much, you're going to get yourself in trouble and the team."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 12:58 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Ward could play for Capitals in Game 1

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said there would be a good chance for Joel Ward to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers on Thursday provided he can manage any discomfort he might still be feeling in his left knee.

Ward missed the last nine games of the regular season with a bruised left knee.

"It would depend on how much the discomfort is," Oates said when asked about Ward's availability. "Can he fight through it or not?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 12:41 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Quick start from top line has been key for Rangers

Any line featuring a captain partnered with the squad's leading scorer and one of the NHL's fastest skaters would be looked to for scoring and leadership on every shift. But for the New York Rangers' top line of captain Ryan Callahan, leading scorer Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin -- who won the Bridgestone Fastest Skater competition at the 2012 All-Star Game -- a good start has been just as critical as a good finish.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 3:08 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Capitals hoping to have Ward back for opener

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Forward Joel Ward could return to the Washington Capitals' lineup for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to coach Adam Oates.

Ward missed the final nine games of the regular season with a left knee injury he suffered April 7 after blocking a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo.

Ward is targeting a return for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday against the New York Rangers and practiced with his teammates Tuesday for the second straight day.

"You know what, it was really encouraging that he took a full practice at full speed," Oates said. "He said he felt good. As long as there are no setbacks [Wednesday], yeah, I expect him."

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Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead