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Capitals vs Rangers

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Capitals vs Rangers - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Five reasons Rangers advanced to second round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series was tilted heavily in the Washington Capitals' favor after Game 2. The New York Rangers had one goal in 128 minutes and were trailing 2-0 when they returned home for Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden.

"I just didn't think we were that far off," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "I think a number of people thought down 2-0, you're not going to get this done."

Tortorella was right. Everyone who doubted the Rangers was dead wrong.

They won Games 3, 4 and 6 at Madison Square Garden. They went into Verizon Center for Game 7 and sent the home crowd to the exits early with a 5-0 romp.

How did the Rangers get it done against the Capitals to advance to the conference semifinals? Here are five reasons:

Five reasons Capitals were eliminated from playoffs

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- It's an all-too familiar feeling in this city.

The Washington Capitals, for the fifth time in six seasons, are left with the pain and the questions of what might have been after a Game 7 loss. For the fourth time in that span, Alex Ovechkin and Co. lost a Game 7 on home ice.

It is a difficult season to make sense of for the Capitals. They were terrible at the start, not having a full training camp to learn new coach Adam Oates' systems and philosophies. They started 2-8-1 and fell to 30th in the NHL standings.

The middle was so-so, steps forward followed by steps back, and the Capitals were 10-14-1 in mid-March before roaring to the finish line and capturing the Southeast Division flag for the fifth time in six seasons.

Now they are left with another first-round disappointment (their third in six years). Here are five reasons why the Capitals will not be part of the Eastern Conference Semifinals:

Ovechkin and Capitals lose scoring touch

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- No offense to New York Rangers forward Arron Asham, but it doesn't bode well for the Washington Capitals when a fourth-liner like him outscores Alex Ovechkin in a seven-game series.

Asham did just that in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Not surprisingly, Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are done.

Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet for the final five games of the series and was limited to one shot on goal in a 5-0 Game 7 drubbing on Monday at Verizon Center. He had a goal in Game 1 and an assist on Mike Green's overtime winner in Game 2, but nada, zippo, nothing after that even though he got 30 shots on goal in the series.

Despite seeing a lot of both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, Ovechkin gave all the credit for his lack of success to Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who went the final 120 minutes of the series without allowing a goal.

Lundqvist's shutouts lead Rangers into next round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Henrik Lundqvist
Goalie - NYR
RECORD: 4-3-2
GAA: 1.65 | SVP: 0.947
WASHINGTON -- When Henrik Lundqvist left Verizon Center on Friday after yielding an overtime goal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, he felt differently about how he had played than in the same situation after Game 2.

His ability to shrug off Mike Ribeiro's goal and produce back-to-back outstanding performances in Games 6 and 7 proved to be a big part of why the New York Rangers were able to upset the third-seeded Washington Capitals and advance to a second-round date with the Boston Bruins.

"The last couple of years, I've started to focus more and more on my own game and not so much about the team game," Lundqvist said after a 5-0 win in Game 7 Monday night. "I can't really control what we're doing out there. That's been helping me the last few years. Obviously in big games, if I can break it down to just what I need to do it is going to help. You're definitely nervous and you're feeling the pressure. As long as I'm focused on what I have to do, it is going to help me, but the way we've playing, especially the last two or three games, as a goalie it is a great feeling. You feel the confidence from them, and hopefully they feel my confidence as well."

With season on line, Caps can count on Brouwer

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- On Feb. 14, after winning three straight games and posting their first winning streak of the season, the Washington Capitals appeared to be turning the corner following a horrendous start under new coach Adam Oates. The winning streak improved the team's record to 5-8-1 and while star sniper Alex Ovechkin was still looking to recapture his world-class scoring touch, it was the less-heralded Troy Brouwer who was leading the way in Washington.

In that season-turning three-game streak, Brouwer scored four goals, two of them game-winners. At that point, the Capitals still had one of the worst records in hockey, but Brouwer, who was traded to the Capitals from the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 2011, was doing his part to right the ship.

A month into the season, Brouwer was leading the team with seven goals and enjoying a bounce-back season after a disastrous 33-point campaign, his first season in the U.S. capital.

Lundqvist assures Rangers of a Game 7 vs. Capitals

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- It was less than 24 hours after losing Game 5 in Washington when Henrik Lundqvist started talking about trying to enjoy the moment. He said that would be key for him to be successful in Game 6 Sunday.

Henrik Lundqvist
Goalie - NYR
RECORD: 3-3-2
GAA: 1.91 | SVP: 0.937
He was wrong.

Sure, Lundqvist attempted to enjoy some of the moments throughout Game 6, but it was the pressure to be perfect that kept him going and kept the New York Rangers breathing in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There will be a Game 7 Monday night at Verizon Center because of Lundqvist. It's really that simple.

New York's Vezina Trophy-winning goalie made 27 saves for his seventh career postseason shutout. Derick Brassard scored the only goal in the second period and Lundqvist made 12 saves on the Washington Capitals in the third period to make sure the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals returned to Verizon Center for an 8 p.m. ET opening faceoff Monday.

Penalties a problem once again for Capitals

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Heading into Game 7 Monday night in Washington, the New York Rangers have scored twice on 26 power-play opportunities. That 7.7 percent rate is only higher than the Minnesota Wild, who went 0-for-17 in their opening-round series loss against the Chicago Blackhawks.

New York went 0-for-5 Sunday afternoon against the Washington Capitals, exposing a glaring flaw. But those 10 penalty minutes, coupled with the Capitals’ inability to draw a single penalty in Game 6, stifled Washington's attack and played a large role in New York's 1-0 series-evening victory in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at Madison Square Garden.

Capitals goalie Holtby has played almost full season

Ben Raby - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Braden Holtby has heard all about the abbreviated 2012-13 NHL season, but the Washington Capitals goaltender has a unique perspective.

When Holtby and the Capitals face the New York Rangers in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series Sunday (4:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN), the 23-year-old will appear in his 67th professional game this season. It's the highest total of any goalie in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Everyone is saying it's a short season or whatever, but it's almost longer for us that were in the American [Hockey] League," said Holtby, who appeared in 25 games with the Hershey Bears during the lockout before returning to Washington in January.

"That feels like it was two or three years ago already," said Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy, who was teammates with Holtby in the AHL to start the season.

Rangers need Nash to step up in series

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rick Nash said his self-evaluation following games includes looking at his scoring chances, his blocked shots, his hits -- the typical stats that give a good indication for how he played.

"But the main thing is you look at the score of the game," he said.

The New York Rangers lost Game 5, 2-1 in overtime, and are trailing the Washington Capitals in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 3-2 in part because Nash, their leading goal-scorer in the regular season with 21, hasn't done enough to help them win. If he doesn't figure it out in Game 6 Sunday (4:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN), there's a good chance he won't get another opportunity this season.

Nash has no goals and one assist through the five games. He didn't have a shot on goal through regulation in Game 5 before registering two in overtime. He still leads the Rangers with 19 shots on goal, but eight of those came in Game 1.

Rangers' lack of forecheck led to Game 5 loss

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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.

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