WASHINGTON -- The New York Rangers won Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals because they established their forecheck and were able to create offense off it, limiting the effectiveness of Alex Ovechkin.
The Rangers didn't do any of that in Game 5 Friday at Verizon Center, and it's a big reason they are heading home down 3-2 to the Washington Capitals following a 2-1 overtime loss.
Game 6 is Sunday at Madison Square Garden (4:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN).
"We didn't have a forecheck, which means our 'D' faced a lot [Friday night]," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "They were coming hard and we didn't do enough to keep the puck in their end and take the pressure off."
Washington overcame a sluggish, penalty-filled start to establish the way it wanted to play 5-on-5. The Capitals were particularly effective in the third period, when they outshot the Rangers 13-4 and didn't give up any memorable chances.
The Rangers had one shot on goal until they finally started to get some zone time and chances late in the period. They managed three shots on goal over the final 2:11 of regulation.
"For our team, it did go downhill [after the first period]," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We had a couple of chances in overtime, [but] the third period we didn't have much. That's the way it worked out."
The Rangers aren't too concerned because they know how they played at Madison Square Garden in Games 3 and 4, when they were able to be physical and establish their forecheck. They scored a combined eight goals in those games; they have two in the three games at Verizon Center.
"I think our game plan is right on mark," said forward Rick Nash, who was held without a shot on goal through regulation. "We've played them five times now. We know exactly what is going on. It's just a matter of executing it and creating more forecheck, more offense."