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Rangers take first shot at putting away Capitals

by Dave Lozo

(New York leads best-of-seven series, 3-2)

Big Story:
If the Rangers can become the first team in this series to win consecutive games, they will make their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals since 1997. The Capitals staved off elimination in the first round by defeating the Boston Bruins on the road in Game 7, and they'll need to do it twice more in this series to keep their season alive.
Team Scope:
Rangers: Following a comeback victory in Game 5, fueled by a Brad Richards goal with 6.6 seconds left in regulation and a goal by Marc Staal early in overtime, the Rangers turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory.

They have a chance to close the series, but they are entering Game 6 acting as the team that needs to treat the game as a must-win.

"I've been on teams that have lost being up 3-2 and 3-1 I've been on too," forward Mike Rupp said. "You get a feeling sometimes if it's 3-1 and you're going into that Game 5, you have a feeling of, no matter what, you're going to see another day. I think we've done a good job here. We don't feel that now and I don't anticipate that being the feeling tomorrow."

Capitals: Perhaps Caps teams of the past would've been more likely to wilt after such a crushing defeat, but Brooks Laich said before the game that the "wow factor" of playing in tight games all the time has made them stronger.

That mindset will be put to the test in Game 6, after Joel Ward's double minor for high sticking allowed for the power-play goals by Richards and Staal.

"You can't say it was his fault," Alex Ovechkin said. "We all lost the game. We win as a group and lose as a group. … Unfortunately it was close, but not close enough. Tomorrow's going to be a new day and (the next game) is going to be a new game. We've just got to play our game."

Who's Hot:
Staal has a goal and two assists in his past two games for the Rangers. … Capitals defenseman John Carlson has two goals in this series.
Injury Report:
Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky remains out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.
Stat Pack: The team that has scored the first goal in each game has gone on to win that game. Game 5 was the first game in this series in which both teams had a lead in the same game.
Puck Drop:
"It's pretty cool. I watched the highlights a few times. Sometimes once is good enough, but I definitely watched it a few times last night and this morning. We enjoyed it, but now we forget about it and move on." -- Rangers forward Brandon Prust, on what he did after the Rangers' 3-2 OT win in Game 5

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