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Rangers ignoring past Washington woes

by Dan Rosen

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is fond of saying home-ice advantage doesn't mean anything unless you get to a Game 7.

Well, the Rangers are in another Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, only this time it's on the road at Verizon Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), where they lost Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

So how does Tortorella feel now?

"I think there is an advantage to the home team," he said Monday morning, "but quite honestly we're the visiting team and we really don't care."

That means the Rangers also don't care about being 1-10 at Verizon Center in the Stanley Cup Playoffs dating to Game 5 of that 2009 series. Or that in this series they are 0-3 with two goals in the Capitals' home building. Or that their power play is 2-for-26 in the series, including 0-for-11 at Verizon Center.

"We haven't had the success we've wanted here, but it doesn't really matter now," Rangers center Brian Boyle said. "It's 3-3 and we'd play them anywhere. It's desperation time."

Boyle added that he thinks the power play is close to coming around despite going 0-for-5 in Game 6 Sunday, including a failed first-period 5-on-3 opportunity that lasted 44 seconds.

"I think we've gotten some good support, gotten in the zone pretty good," he said. "I think we had some looks [in Game 6] where Michael [Del Zotto] found a lane, shot it down and I tried to get a deflection. We'll hopefully get some more deflections. It's close. We've gotten some momentum off of it.

"Obviously it's not the percentage that [the media] or people think is what you want, but we're aware of that. We want to score on the power play. I don't think we're as far off as some might think."

If the Rangers are going to produce on the power play in Game 7, it may have to come from some of their top-six forwards who haven't produced in the series. Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan have combined for no goals and three assists. Brad Richards was demoted to the fourth line for Game 6 and played less than 10 minutes.

"Here we are now in Game 7; I think a few of our guys are due," Tortorella said. "I'm sure they're saying the same thing over on their side. I think that's very important as we enter [Game 7]."

Another thing that is vitally important for both teams is discipline. The Rangers had it in Game 6 and didn't give Washington any power plays. The Capitals lost their composure a few times and wound up having to kill off (successfully) five New York power plays.

"It kills a lot of the energy and the momentum when you have to kill penalties, but it's probably going to happen tonight," Rangers center Derick Brassard told "Our penalty kill has been awesome. The guys have been paying the price, and if it happens the guys are going to be ready to go. I think it's going to be a plus for us."

The Rangers held an optional skate Monday morning. The only players expected to be in the lineup that participated were Richards and Chris Kreider. Marc Staal, Roman Hamrlik, Matt Gilroy and Kris Newbury also were on the ice, along with assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld.

Washington did not hold a morning skate.

Here is a guess at what the Rangers' lineup will be for Game 7:

Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan

Mats Zuccarello - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash

Taylor Pyatt - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett

Chris Kreider - Brad Richards - Arron Asham

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

Scratched: Matt Gilroy, Roman Hamrlik, Kris Newbury, Micheal Haley

Injured: Marc Staal (eye), Ryane Clowe (undisclosed), Darroll Powe (undisclosed)


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