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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:48 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps move on; Rangers go home

The Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist and got a goal with 31.5 seconds remaining when Wojtek Wolski tucked in a rebound. But all that did was enable the Rangers to avoid being shut out -- they hadn't scored since the second period of Game 4 -- nearly 138 minutes.

A post-goal scrum left the Rangers down a man, and the Caps missed the empty net a couple of time before mobbing Michal Neuvirth after their series-clinching 3-1 victory.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:42 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

That will put it away

With the Rangers pressing, the Caps broke out 2-on-1, and Marcus Johansson made a brilliant pass right onto Alexander Semin's stick as he cut to the net. Semin made no mistake, and it's now 3-0 with time running out on the Rangers' season.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:41 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Running out of time

It's an electric atmosphere at the Verizon Center. The 18,398 red-clad fans are ready to celebrate as the Caps continue to lead by two goals.

Michal Neuvirth is devouring what few shots the Rangers are able to get through his defense, but the Caps are being smart and not just sitting back -- third-period shots were 7-7 at the final TV timeout.

Barring a miracle, the Rangers are going to run out of time.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:24 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Desperate times for Rangers

The Rangers came out in the third period with the kind of desperation that would have helped them earlier in the game. But after having the Rangers control play for the first 60-90 seconds, the Caps answered by upping their own pace. Through the first 11 minutes, the Caps outshot the Rangers 3-2 -- New York isn't having any success finding time or space in the offensive zone.

With the defense pinching, the Caps wound up with a 2-on-1 midway through the period, only to see Game 4 hero Jason Chimera fire wide on what would have been the clincher.

Mike Green returned to the bench late in the second period after missing more than 20 minutes of playing time after taking a slapper in the helmet. But he has yet to play a shift since returning.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:56 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Rangers get some push

After more than 30 minutes of being dominated, the Rangers are starting to push back.

Beginning shortly after the halfway mark of the middle period, the Rangers began to pick up their tempo and get more pucks deep on Washington's defense, generating some heat on Michal Neuvirth.

But Neuvirth was up to the task, and his defense did a good job of funneling a lot of shots to the outside or getting in the way of them.

New York got its second power play when defenseman John Erskine was called for taking down Brandon Prust with 2:41 left. The Rangers were able to get some zone time and had a good chance on a tip by Brandon Dubinsky. But Neuvirth was able to see everything, and the Caps killed the penalty and the rest of the period, sending the teams to the dressing room after 40 minutes with Washington ahead 2-0 -- and the Rangers facing the prospect of seeing their season end in about an hour.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:46 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Green's back

Washington defenseman Mike Green returned to the bench with about 5:30 left in the second period. He missed just over a full period after taking a slap shot by Matt Gilroy in the helmet.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:31 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps extend their lead

Mike Green wasn't on the bench for the Caps at the start of the second period after taking a Matt Gilroy blast in the helmet with 6:11 left in the first. The team said the All-Star defenseman's return is questionable. Green would be missed -- he scored the first goal on Saturday and has points in all five games.

The Caps nearly scored 45 seconds into the period on a beautiful three-way passing play -- a brilliant defensive play by Marc Staal kept Ovechkin from being able to put the puck into the net. Staal got a stick on a little touch pass from Nicklas Backstrom, who opted to pass instead of shoot.

Alexander Semin missed another chance a minute later -- Henrik Lundqvist was in the right place to stop his wide-open backhander.

But the Caps continued to dominate play and made it 2-0 at 7:04 when Alex Ovechkin took advantage of a long shift by the D-pair of Staal and Dan Girardi. He raced up the right wing, cut in on a weary Staal and tucked a backhander past Lundqvist, who was left to fend for himself.

It's all Caps at the first TV timeout -- they're up 2-0 and heading to their third power play.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:06 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

It could have been worse

The Caps took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but if you're a Rangers fan, you're probably happy to get out of the opening 20 minutes down only one goal.

After the Rangers' flurry in the first 30 seconds, the Caps dominated play. Washington won the races to loose pucks, had little trouble breaking out of its own zone and generally made life miserable for the visitors -- especially Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced. Michal Neuvirth had to stop just six shots.

More indicative of the play are the shot attempts, rather than the ones that got through: The Rangers had 12 attempts (6 on goal, 5 blocked, 1 missed the net); the Caps had 36 (13 on goal, 13 blocked, 10 that missed). After the first shift, in which the Rangers dominated, Lundqvist spent the rest of the period surrounded by red jerseys trying to get in his way.

The one good piece of news for the Rangers: Defenseman Dan Girardi was back before the end of the period.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:54 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps push the pace

The pace is frantic, with Washington pushing the tempo as the Caps sense a chance to grab a two-goal lead that might be more than the Rangers can overcome. Lundqvist has faced a dozen shots in the first 13 minutes; Michal Neuvirth has seen just four and is spending minutes at a time all by his lonesome in the Caps' zone.

But the 18,398 fans quieted as one with 6:11 remaining when Matt Gilroy took a blast from near the right circle that dropped Caps defenseman Mike Green. Play was stopped immediately, and Green was helped from the ice, though he was able to skate off.

The Rangers were also missing a key defenseman -- Dan Girardi wasn't on the bench as the clock ticked down past the 5:00 mark.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:38 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps get the jump

Talk about coming out flying!

The Rangers came out like they'd been shot out of a cannon, forcing Michal Neuvirth to make an excellent stop off a scramble before the game was 30 seconds old.

Then it was the Caps' turn. Alex Ovechkin came down right wing on a 2-on-1 but fired wide. Henrik Lundqvist also had to make a pair of fine glove stops. John Erskine, not known for his offensive skills, also tested Lundqvist twice.

After the initial flurry, the Caps are carrying the play, forcing the Rangers to defend rather than attack. They earned the first power play when Bryan McCabe got his stick between Marcus Johansson' legs and tripped the rookie center as he raced down the right wing.

The Caps wasted no time taking advantage. With the Rangers in full disarray, Mike Green took a rip from the slot that Lundqvist stopped. But the All-Star defenseman followed his shot and poked the puck off defenseman Dan Girardi and into the net at 5:59 for a 1-0 lead. It's only the second time in the five games that the Caps have scored first.

Even worse for the Rangers: They wound up with the extra penalty after a scrum behind the net when New York's bench was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. They nearly wound up with a second minor seconds later when a clearing attempt went out of play -- but NBC's Pierre McGuire knew before anyone that the puck hadn't gone over the glass ... because he caught it.
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