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Capitals using first round as blueprint for Game 6

by Katie Brown /

ARLINGTON, Va. -- For success in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers on Sunday at Verizon Center (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN), the Washington Capitals are looking back at another game for inspiration.

They're using Game 7 of the first round against the New York Islanders as a blueprint for how they want to play in Game 6 of the second round.

"I thought that [Game 7 against the Islanders] was our best game of the year and it's a good thing it came in playoffs," Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said Sunday. "It shows that we have the capabilities of stepping up in big games and we're going to have to do that again."

The Capitals were in a similar situation then too. After an overtime loss in Game 6 and failing to close the series on Long Island, they returned to Verizon Center and played what they call their most complete game of the season.

"We had a tough loss in Game 6 on the Island and we wanted to not go to a Game 7," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "You want to get it done as soon as you can and that didn't happen ... We responded with our best game. That's what we need to do. We need to respond with a strong game."

Holtby said part of what worked so well in Game 7 of the first round was keeping things simple and sticking with what they've done all year.

"I think all 60 minutes we played our game plan," he said. "We weren't trying to be fancy. We were just grinding away; killing the game, in a sense."

Washington has not lost back-to-back games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 4-0 after defeats. A win Sunday would send Washington to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1998. Game 7 of the best-of-7 series, if needed, would be Wednesday in New York.

"I think we need a bounce-back effort to show that we do have some killer instinct and some composure in these situations and use our home ice to our advantage," Holtby said. "I think we've played well at home throughout the playoffs and we need to keep building off that. And use that Game 7 against the Islanders as a measuring stick and try and realize what we did to give us success in that game and put it to use in this one."

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Martin St. Louis

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Jesper Fast

Carl Hagelin - Dominic Moore - Kevin Hayes

Tanner Glass - James Sheppard - J.T. Miller

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Chris Summers, Ryan Bourque, Matt Hunwick

Injured: Mats Zuccarello (upper body)


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Joel Ward

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Jason Chimera

Andre Burakovsky - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer

Curtis Glencross - Brooks Laich - Tom Wilson

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Mike Green - Tim Gleason

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: Michael Latta

Injured: Eric Fehr (upper body), John Erskine (neck surgery), Dmitry Orlov (wrist)

Status report: Fehr skated after the Capitals had their morning skate, but there is no timetable for his return.

Who's hot: Holtby has a 1.29 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage in his past nine games.

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