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Rangers, Capitals don't want to change too much

Saturday, 04.18.2009 / 8:00 AM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals want more traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist. Other than that, they don't want to change a thing about their game, and maybe not their goalie either.

The New York Rangers would like to stay out of the penalty box and win more than 30 percent of the faceoffs, but they can't complain too much considering they're taking a 1-0 lead into Game 2 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS).

The chess match between these two teams resumes Saturday afternoon with a number of story lines to follow:

Will Rangers captain Chris Drury play?

He sat out Game 1 with an undisclosed injury, but practiced the last two days, including Friday when he skated with his normal linemates, Markus Naslund and Ryan Callahan.

"It (means) a lot to have our captain on the ice and also in the locker room," Lundqvist said of Drury.

Will Washington coach Bruce Boudreau stay with Jose Theodore or turn to 20-year-old Simeon Varlamov?

Theodore is under some scrutiny now after giving up four goals on 21 shots Wednesday night, but the Capitals say they hung him out to dry on some of the plays. Boudreau hinted Friday that Theodore will play, but wouldn't give a 100-percent guarantee.

Theodore assumes he's going to play.

"Every time a guy, or myself, had a tough game (in the regular season) we never gave up, we bounced back and that's pretty much why we finished with 108 points," Theodore said. "Everybody believed in each other and it's the same thing in the playoffs."

What about Alex Ovechkin? Is he going to find the back of the net or will the defensive pair of Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival, two defensemen who were getting a lot of heat for their play in New York this season, shut him out again?

The Rangers started Game 1 with Marc Staal and Dan Girardi matching against Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov. Ovechkin had six shots on goal in the first period and Rangers coach John Tortorella switched to his more veteran pair.

"They're going to have to be better when we play Game 2," Tortorella said. "Red's been under some heat from some people in New York, from everybody I guess, but he has to accept it. The responsibility we gave him in Game 1, we thought he played very well."

Finally, what about the back and forth between the two coaches?

Tortorella complained Thursday that the referees missed some calls that should have gone against the Caps in Game 1. Boudreau said on Friday that if the officials saw everything, the Caps could have had 12 or 13 power plays instead of seven.

"It's tough for referees to get them all," Boudreau said, "but I definitely think they got the benefit of them."

Also on Friday, Tortorella questioned the legality of some of the Capitals' faceoff wins, saying he thinks after watching the tape that the Capitals, specifically Sergei Fedorov and Backstrom, were "tying up and kicking" before the puck hit the ice.

Washington won 46 of the 66 faceoffs.

"I guess my biggest concern is that I just want to make sure that the faceoffs are legal," Tortorella said. "A number of them I don't think were."

The series is only one game old, but it's ready to boil.

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com.
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