Washington Shuts out New York to Stay Alive
The Washington Capitals decided they weren't ready for their summer vacation just yet. In the only round 1 NHL playoffs action Friday evening, the Caps blanked the New York Rangers 4-0, to force a game 6 in New York on Sunday afternoon.
The scoring started on the penalty kill for the Capitals. Matt Bradley capitalized on a Rangers turnover to grab a shorthanded goal just five minutes into the game. Seven minutes later he scored again, this time from a sharp angle in the corner. With a 2-0 lead, in the second period the Alex's went to work. Semin and Ovechkin each added a goal to extend the lead to the final score of 4-0.
The Rangers scratched Sean Avery from the lineup for Friday's game after his excessive penalty taking began to take too heavy of a toll on the club and its play. After the Capitals scored four times in two periods of action, John Tortorella pulled Henrik Lundqvist from net and placed Steve Valiquette into the lineup.
Lundqvist has been the main reason for the Rangers success in this series, and if they are to win another game it will be due to a bounce back performance from the net minder. Game 6 is shaping up as a potential must win for the Rangers on home ice. The club does not want to travel back to D.C. for a game 7 on the road, with the Capitals having won two games in a row to steal all of the momentum.
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While the Rangers still hold a 3-2 lead in the series, it is the Capitals who have the goal differential advantage. Both of their wins came in 4-0 routs, while the Rangers squeaked by in three one-goal games. The Rangers have scored 7 goals in the series, compared to the Capitals 12 goals.
Round 1 of the NHL playoffs continues its more usual pace on Saturday with three games. Pittsburgh will have another chance to finish off Philadelphia and Anaheim will be looking to complete its astounding upset over San Jose.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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