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Caps look to clean up errors, go up 3-1 on Rangers

by Corey Masisak

(Washington leads best-of-seven series, 2-1)


Big story:
The Rangers will try to level the series in front of their home crowd while the Capitals will try again to take control by being the first team to win away from home.

Team Scope:

Capitals: Washington took eight penalties in Game 3 and the Capitals were still less than two minutes from getting to overtime on the road before Brandon Dubinsky's goal went off two defenders and in for the game-winning goal. The Capitals felt they were outworked, and matching New York's effort might be the biggest key to Game 4.

Finding some offense, which could be a product of more hard work, would also help. The Capitals have scored two goals in each of these three games, and only nine total in their past six playoff contests dating back to Game 5 of the Montreal series last season.

"I think it is very important for us to get pucks deep and make it a physical-style game against their D," Alex Ovechkin said. "We don't have lots of shots in the first two periods and when you don't have shots you can't score. If we have the shots we have to find the rebounds and make some chances."

Rangers: New York finally found some offense in Game 3 and now the Rangers have a chance to make this a long series with another win. Erik Christensen scored a power-play goal to get things started -- it was only the team's second extra-man goal in the past 12 games.

The Rangers have only allowed 43 shots in the past two games after yielding 33 in the first contest of the series. New York's top defensive pair of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi have slowed Washington's top line -- Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble have combined for three goals. That goal-per-game average is probably one the Rangers would be happy with if they continue to hold the role players in check as well.

"It's still 2-1 for them, but I think that's definitely a step in the right direction to get a little momentum here," Girardi said. "We just have to come out hard (in Game 4)."

Who's hot: Ovechkin leads all players in this series with 4 points and is the only guy with more than one goal. Defenseman Mike Green has an assist in each game. … Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi is tied for the League lead with 14 blocked shots.

Injury report: Washington will be without defensemen Dennis Wideman (leg) and Tom Poti (groin), but the Capitals might also be without Mike Knuble. He missed practice for the second straight day, though coach Bruce Boudreau said he expects him to play. … The Rangers are without Ryan Callahan (ankle), Alex Frolov (knee) and backup goalie Martin Biron (collarbone).

Stat pack: The goaltenders have dominated this series. Washington's Michal Neuvirth leads the postseason in goals-against average through three games (1.22) while his counterpart Henrik Lundqvist (1.84) is sixth. Neuvirth is also third in save percentage (.951).

Puck drop: Boudreau's comments to local radio station about Madison Square Garden added some off-ice spice to this series, but a day later he was trying to downplay the "story." Boudreau said MSG is not as loud as Verizon Center, and also took aim at some of the amenities in the arena like the visiting dressing room and the benches.

"I was waiting for it," Boudreau said Tuesday when the first question about his comments from the day before was asked. "You know, you guys mustn't have a lot of work to do, because they're making improvements to the arena. Are they not? Are they not making $800 million worth of improvements to the arena? It's a fabulous place to play, the atmosphere is great -- it's the world's most famous arena. All I said was that the conditions in the dressing room were not up to par."

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