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Capitals vs Rangers

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Capitals vs Rangers - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Special teams help Rangers get back in series

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

NEW YORK – Special-teams play helped swing momentum in the Washington Capitals' favor in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the New York Rangers. But after the Capitals rode their power play and penalty kill to a 2-0 series lead, a sudden flip may have salvaged this series for the New York Rangers.

Washington took Game 1 of the series thanks to a power-play marker from Alex Ovechkin and a penalty kill that shut out a Rangers' man advantage that enjoyed 56 second of 5-on-3 play midway through the second period. Mike Green's power-play tally in overtime then gave Washington a 1-0 win in Game 2.

But in Game 3 Monday night, New York scored a power-play goal and notched another tally just as a Capitals' penalty expired before killing off a last-minute 6-on-4 power play.

Just like that, Washington's apparent special-teams advantage was flipped, and the Rangers reaped the benefits in a 4-3 victory.

Rangers' Powe leaves Game 3 with injury

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Darroll Powe left Monday's Game 3 of the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Washington Capitals in the first period.

Powe appeared to be in great pain after taking Capitals forward Joel Ward into the boards in the Rangers' zone 8:23 into the period. After spending a few seconds prone on the ice, Powe skated in obvious discomfort to the bench and did not return after playing only 2:33.

Rangers activate Staal off injured reserve

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have activated defenseman Marc Staal off injured reserve, the team confirmed Monday.

Staal has missed the past 29 games with an eye injury. The team has not said if he will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals on Monday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).

Staal was injured on March 5, when a shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen was deflected directly into his right eye.

Tortorella: Despite 0-2 deficit, Rangers close in series

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are down 0-2 and they've scored one goal in the series -- a goal that went in off the skate of a Washington Capitals' defenseman -- and yet John Tortorella says the series is close.

"I think they [Games 1 and 2] have been a hell of a lot more even than a lot of other people think," Tortorella said Monday morning from Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers will try to win Game 3 against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2). "It really doesn't matter. We need to win a game."

Tortorella pointed to Rick Nash hitting the post with 3:44 left in regulation of Game 2 as a difference in the series.

Rangers look for new ways to generate offense

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH -- While Braden Holtby's telling comment following Game 2 Saturday was meant as a compliment to his defense, it was also an unintentional criticism of the New York Rangers.

"It wasn't a very straining game on a goalie," a relaxed Holtby said of how he felt following the Washington Capitals' 1-0 overtime win at Verizon Center.

The Rangers made it that way. They know it, too.

"If he's thinking that then we've gotta be better, go to the dirty areas, make it hard, make it so he can't get out of his crease," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said after practice Sunday. "That's one area we can focus on that might help us to have a puck deflect in off somebody or something like that. In this series it's tough for both teams to get goals, so maybe we just need to put a couple more bodies around the net and throw it there."

It's obvious the Rangers will have to score in Game 3 Monday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2) if they're going to close in on Washington. The Capitals' win on Saturday gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series.

Capitals find success with better penalty kill

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Shooters pinned to the outside, all the lanes covered, forwards diving in the way of shots, pucks getting cleared down to the other end -- this is not what a 27th-ranked penalty kill looks like.

But it is, and the Washington Capitals lead the New York Rangers 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals because of it.

As critical as the Capitals' power play has been in the first two games against Rangers (2-for-7), the best-of-7 series would be tied or reversed as it shifts to Madison Square Garden for Game 3 Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2) if Washington's penalty kill didn't go a combined 7-for-7 in Games 1 and 2 at Verizon Center.

Oleksy getting face time in playoffs with Capitals

Ben Raby - Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy was with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League last season -- his sixth minor-league team in three years -- when he and his face had a practice they probably could have done without.

Steve Oleksy
Defense - WSH
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 2 | +/-: 1

"I already had stitches in my mouth from a fight a few nights earlier," Oleksy said Friday, "and then at practice I took two pucks off my face. One was a shot from the point and one was a pass that got deflected."

That was just the half of it.

"Then we were doing 1-on-1 [drills] and I took two high sticks. So in the same practice, I got hit four times in the face, and I already had the stitches in my mouth. My face was just swollen and I had cuts all over. I was a mess."

One year later, Oleksy admits his face is still a mess -- "It's a magnet for pucks and sticks," he said -- but his future in professional hockey is much clearer. It continues Saturday with Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the New York Rangers (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, RDS, TSN).

Rangers need special teams, top players to be better

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals wasn't a total washout for the New York Rangers. There were some positives to take from their 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Thursday.

The Rangers generated some sustained offense, enough to fire 36 shots on goal and have 79 attempts at the net. They nearly scored a shorthanded goal and overall killed penalties well, save for one power-play goal scored by Alex Ovechkin in the second period. Henrik Lundqvist was sharp in goal, except for the Jason Chimera goal that he'd want back.

"There are definitely a lot of positives to build off of," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "We need to correct some things, but we're happy overall with our game."

Clowe not ruling out Game 2 return for Rangers

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe was back on the ice Friday, for the first time since April 25, when he was injured in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Clowe said there is a possibility he could play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals on Saturday at Verizon Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, RDS, TSN).

Washington leads the best-of-7 series 1-0 after a 3-1 win in Game 1 on Thursday.

"I'm not going to rule out [Saturday]," said Clowe, who would not disclose the nature of his injury. "It's tough to watch this time of year, the playoffs. It's the time of year in hockey I look forward to the most, so it was hard to watch [Thursday]. But I'll discuss it with the trainers and the proper people today and let them know how I felt out there. So we'll see."

Capitals use special teams to take Game 1

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- If the Washington Capitals are going to add a strong penalty kill to an already dangerous power play, it could spell doom for the New York Rangers.

Washington won the special teams battle Thursday night to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with a 3-1 win at Verizon Center.

Not only did the Capitals finally convert on their fourth power play of the game, they preserved what at the time midway through the second period was a 1-1 tie by killing off a Rangers' power play that lasted 3:04, including 56 seconds of 5-on-3.

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