RANGERS at CAPITALS
(Washington leads best-of-7 series, 1-0)
TV: NBC, RDS, TSN
Big story: The Washington Capitals will look to take a 2-0 lead before the series shifts to New York. Washington got 35 saves from Braden Holtby and second-period goals from Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera to win Game 1 at Verizon Center, 3-1. The New York Rangers, who got a goal from Carl Hagelin, couldn't convert on a 56-second 5-on-3 in the second period when the game was tied 1-1. Minutes later, Johansson and Chimera scored back-to-back goals 46 seconds apart to give Washington a 3-1 lead.
Rangers: It's possible the Rangers could get some reinforcements Saturday. Ryane Clowe (undisclosed) practiced Friday for the first time since playing April 25 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He wouldn't rule himself out to play in Game 2 even though he was in a non-contact jersey Friday.
Marc Staal (eye), Derek Dorsett (clavicle) and Brian Boyle (knee) also are getting closer to returning to the lineup. Dorsett practiced in a contact jersey Friday for the first time since he broke his clavicle March 7, when he was with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Other than the injured guys, the talk around the Rangers after Game 1 is all about special teams, most notably staying out of the penalty box to keep the Capitals' dangerous power play off the ice.
The Rangers were guilty of four penalties within the first 27 minutes of the game Thursday night, and after killing the first three they finally got burned on the fourth when Ovechkin scored to make it 1-1. New York also failed on its 5-on-3 and went 0-for-4 on the power play with eight shots on goal.
"They scored a goal on their power play and we couldn't get the job done on ours," forward Rick Nash said. "We have to be better. We have to get more shots. Once we do get the opportunities on the power play we have to make sure we bear down and beat their goaltender."
They had 36 shots on goal but got one past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. That one, from Carl Hagelin late in the first period, went in off of John Erskine's left skate.
Hagelin was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway early in the second period. Marcus Johansson scored on his breakaway later in the second period to give Washington a 2-1 lead.
"Fine line between winning and losing," coach John Tortorella said.
Capitals: Washington doesn't want or need to change much in its game. The Capitals won the territorial battles early and were able to capitalize in the second period.
Ovechkin scored on the power play. Johansson scored on a breakaway goal that was a direct result of Steve Oleksy's beautiful, tape-to-tape, home-run pass. Chimera scored 46 seconds later with a wild shot off the left-wing half-boards. Mathieu Perreault, who created the turnover that led to the goal, was in front of the net and may have fooled Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he tried to tip the puck.
Washington's penalty kill, which was ranked 27th in the regular season, also came through with a huge stop on the Rangers' 56-second 5-on-3. The Capitals were 4-for-4 on the PK.
Just as important was the play of Holtby, who never once looked like he was unsure of himself.
"The first goal was a tough goal for him, fluky bounce, and to me he didn't look rattled at all by it," coach Adam Oates said. "He didn't fight the puck at all. He looked pretty much in control."
Who's hot: Ovechkin carried his hot streak into the postseason and his goal Thursday night made him Washington's all-time leader with 31 postseason goals. He had 20 goals over the final 19 games of the regular season.
Injury report: For the Rangers, Clowe, Staal, Dorsett and Boyle are game-time decisions. … The Capitals are missing Brooks Laich (sports hernia).