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Fresh off OT win, Capitals seek 2-0 lead on Rangers

by Dave Lozo

(Washington leads best-of-seven series, 1-0)


Big story:
The Capitals rallied with a late goal from Alex Ovechkin, then got the OT winner from Alexander Semin to prevent the Rangers from stealing Game 1. It was an evenly played game that could've gone either way, so expect both teams to play another hotly-contested Game 2.

Team Scope:

The talk all season was about the Caps' new-found dedication to defense, how if they wanted to advance deep in the playoffs and avoid another early exit, defense needed to take precedence over offense.

That belief was put to the test in Game 1 when the Caps were held without a goal for 54 minutes and faced a potential 1-0 loss to the eighth-seeded Rangers. But Ovechkin and Semin came through with huge goals, rewarding the team's faith in their new system.

"This is the game we've been preparing for," defenseman Mike Green said. "We've done it a lot throughout the course of the year and I think it has given us some experience here. It paid off. We expect to be in these games in the rest of this series and as we move on … you don't want to be in this position, but we're prepared for it."

Rangers: Consistent scoring has been a problem all season, and the Rangers' offense was the problem in Game 1. They had just 25 shots in nearly 80 minutes of hockey, so coach John Tortorella tinkered with his lines at practice Thursday.

Marian Gaborik, who hasn't scored a goal in 10 games, practiced on a line with Vinny Prospal and Erik Christensen. Tortorella didn't discuss Gaborik specifically, but said the Rangers need more scoring chances if they want to go deep in the series.

"Certainly, I'm not putting Erik in there for defensive purposes," Tortorella said. "I think we need to create some more offense. He is a skilled guy and has given us some good minutes at certain times during the year. After Game 1, there needs to be some improvements with our game. Certainly, creating more offense is one of them."

Who's hot: With an assist in Game 1, the Rangers' Wojtek Wolski has 1 goal and 3 assists in his last four games. … Ovechkin has 4 goals and 5 assists in his final seven games. Semin has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last five games.
Injury report: Forward Ryan Callahan (leg) is out indefinitely, but the Rangers have no new injuries to report. … Caps defensemen Tom Poti (groin) and Dennis Wideman (leg) aren't likely to see time in this series.
Stat pack: The Rangers aren't just 1-for-29 in their last 10 games on the power play -- they haven't scored a 5-on-4 goal in their last 30 chances. … The Caps blocked 32 shots in Game 1 after averaging 15.3 per game in the regular season.

Puck drop:
"It is great. It shows everybody that we're ready and it gets the crowd into the game. We get a lot of energy from the crowd and from the bench and that's the way we expect [Ovechkin] to play. He's a physical player and I think you can expect more of that this series." -- Jeff Schultz, on Ovechkin throwing his body around early in Game 1

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