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Rangers hope to contain Capitals' top line in Game 3

by Staff /



Best-of-7 series tied 1-1

After a split in the first two games of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals return to Verizon Center for Game 3 on Monday looking to continue their success on home ice.

Washington won its final three home playoff games against the New York Islanders in the first round, outscoring them 11-5. After failing to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series and losing 3-2 in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, the Capitals aim to bounce back with a win.

"It was good to get that first win [Thursday] but we felt as a group, we kind of let one get away from us in Game 2 and we had a chance to come out hard," forward Jay Beagle told the Capitals website after practice Sunday. "[The Rangers] came out hard and played a good first period. We knew it was going to be a battle in Game 2 but it's behind us now and we're just looking forward to Game 3, especially at Verizon Center."

Washington has won all three games following a loss this postseason. The Capitals will try to avoid another fast start by New York, which outshot them 15-4 in the first period and had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes in Game 2.

"We really don't know what to expect," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said. "We will see when we get on the ice. We know they are going to come out hard. They've been successful in other series in the first period and we know they will come out strong tomorrow and we have to make sure we do our best to meet their push and cause them to get back on their heels."

The Rangers, who did not practice Sunday, were more concerned with containing Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin has a goal in each game in the series; Backstrom has one assist.

"We’re trying to do everything we can to limit their opportunities," coach Alain Vigneault said at the Rangers' hotel Sunday. "Our challenge in the series before was to stop Pittsburgh and their two key elements, [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin. Our challenge in this one is sort of the same. We’re trying to stop Washington and their two key elements, which in our books are Ovechkin and Backstrom. They’re a tough challenge. We’re trying to do the best we can."

Washington recalled defenseman Nate Schmidt from Hershey of the American Hockey league as a precautionary measure in case Tim Gleason (undisclosed) is unable to play. Gleason did not practice Sunday, but is expected to be in the lineup.

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