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Capitals vs Rangers

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Capitals vs Rangers - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Ribeiro in right place at right time for Capitals

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Mike Ribeiro felt he was due for a lucky bounce, so the Washington Capitals center wasn't totally surprised that the puck ended up on his stick and eventually in the back of the net for the overtime winner Friday night.

"I think our line, especially [Friday], we were buzzing around," Ribeiro said roughly 15 minutes after his goal gave the Capitals a 2-1 victory against the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. "Since the beginning of this series I think we were buzzing around and having chances and couldn't score, but finally that bounce came at the right time, right moment."

Clowe leaves Rangers game after one period

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe left Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals on Friday midway through the first period and will not return, according to the team.

Clowe played one shift after he was boarded by Capitals forward Jason Chimera 4:40 into the first period. Clowe played three shifts totaling 1:55.

Clowe missed the first three games of the series and the last game of the regular season with an undisclosed injury.

Sustaining hard forecheck on road key for Rangers

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Hit totals rarely are the best statistic to gauge why one team won and the other lost, but what showed up on the score sheets in Games 3 and 4 does provide yet another example of how the New York Rangers were able to break even in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals.

The Rangers owned a 71-42 advantage in hits in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden, including a 38-20 edge in Game 4. They won both by identical 4-3 scores and know part of the reason why is because of how physical they were against the Capitals, particularly on their top forwards and defensemen with an aggressive and improved forecheck.

"In playoff hockey you've got to be physical, earn momentum that way, finish checks, key in on their top guys," Rangers forward Rick Nash said. "It's definitely one of the reasons for our success in the last two games."

Rangers to rely on consistent forecheck to contain Ovi

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It was in the third period Wednesday when John Moore, watching from the New York Rangers bench, took note of how and why Ryan McDonagh was effective in limiting what easily could have been a quality scoring chance for Alex Ovechkin.

"Ovechkin got the puck in his own zone and was kind of winding it up, but [McDonagh] was right in his face," Moore told Thursday. "He's using his skating to stay in his face and be physical with him. That's really critical with those players. You can subconsciously give them time and space by respecting them a little too much, but if you look at the way [McDonagh and Dan Girardi are] playing them, they're right in their face, good stick, bodying up on them every chance they get. I've definitely noticed that."

It's good that he has, because Moore, Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman and perhaps Steve Eminger (if Marc Staal doesn't play) should plan to see more of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson in Game 5 against the Washington Capitals on Friday at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

Nash not letting lack of puck luck frustrate him

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rick Nash hasn't exactly had it easy through four games against the Washington Capitals.

Rick Nash
Left Wing - NYR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 17 | +/-: -1
He couldn't score in Game 1 despite 16 shot attempts, including eight on goal. He hit the post late in Game 2 -- an inch to the right and maybe the New York Rangers have a 3-1 series lead instead of it being 2-2 going back to Washington for Game 5 on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

Nash backed his way into a scoring chance in Game 4 by posting up defenseman Steve Oleksy, but his whirling backhanded shot was stopped by Braden Holtby. Nash had two shots on goal and was a minus-2 in the game.

Yes, Nash had the assist on Derek Stepan's game-winning goal in Game 3, but through four games leads the series with 17 shots on goal yet hasn't put a single puck past Holtby. Nash was limited to five shifts and 2:51 of ice time in the third period of Game 4. It was the least he has played in any of the 12 periods so far in the series.

Ovechkin line remains cold in Game 4

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- After being held pointless and to just two shots in the Washington Capitals' 4-3 Game 3 loss Monday night, Alex Ovechkin was again contained by the New York Rangers, who tied their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series at two games apiece Wednesday in another 4-3 decision.

And it didn't take long for the Capitals’ captain to see exactly how the Rangers would look to shut him down.

Just seconds into his first shift of Game 4, Ovechkin was bowled over by a hard hit from Taylor Pyatt. That big hit set the tone for Washington's top line of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backtrom and Marcus Johansson, who collected one goal and no assists in Games 3 and 4 after combining for two goals and three points in their 3-1 series-opening victory last Thursday.

"We just didn't play well tonight, bottom line. They didn't do something special," said Ovechkin, who finished the regular season by scoring 23 goals in 23 games. "Pressure is all the time there. We have to handle it and have to play simple. Sometimes we had an opportunity to make a big play, but we didn't."

Capitals' Erat suffers upper-body injury

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Following his team's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates revealed that wing Martin Erat was dealing with an upper-body injury and would be reevaluated on Thursday prior to Game 5 on Friday in Washington.

Erat left the game with 1:34 remaining in the opening period and appeared to be favoring his arm following a hard collision involving Rangers center Derek Stepan and Caps winger Alex Ovechkin.

With Stepan rushing towards the net, both Ovechkin and Erat initiated contact on Stepan. Ovechkin and Erat were both assessed two-minute minors on the play, with Jason Chimera serving Erat's hooking minor.

Moore's play big reason Rangers won Game 3

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- John Moore was frustrated when he was traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 3. He didn't see it coming, and in a way felt cheated because his opportunity in Ohio never truly came to pass.

"You're not sitting there going, 'I hope I get traded,'" Moore told Tuesday. "It's like a breakup, is the best way I can put it."

He's not frustrated anymore. He's not complaining about being shipped to the New York Rangers now.

Carlson-Alzner split aided Capitals and players

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- On a team featuring some of the world's biggest hockey stars, few players are as deeply connected to the Washington Capitals as defensemen John Carlson and Karl Alzner.

The two have been a fixture on Washington's blue line, and neither has missed a game over the past three seasons. But after roughly five seasons of playing on the same defensive pair, Carlson and Alzner may not be as synonymous with the Capitals as they are with each other.

"[People] always ask me, 'What are you guys going to do together today? Where did you guys go eat on the road together?'" Alzner told "If they were talking to me, they would ask about him. If they were talking to him, they would ask about me. It was pretty weird. You start thinking, 'Is this going to happen for the next 10 years?' It's really strange."

Rangers get a boost from Staal's return

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Ryan McDonagh could sense Marc Staal was jittery long before the opening faceoff Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

"He rode with me to the game and I could tell he was nervous, but that's to be expected," McDonagh said. "He's coming back in a big situation. But he's an assistant captain and I thought he stepped up and played a tremendous game."

Staal played his first game since being struck in the right eye by a deflected shot in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 5. He missed 29 straight games and admits that he still has blurred vision, but he played a relatively mistake-free 21 shifts totaling 17:17 of ice time to help the New York Rangers get back in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals with a 4-3 win.

Washington leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Wednesday at MSG (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

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