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Rangers lose heartbreaker in the final seconds; Ovechkin dominant for the Caps

Bobby Bevilacqua

rick nash and ovechkin 4-30

It was a hard-fought Game 1, but Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals came out on top thanks to Joel Ward’s goal with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

In an emotional, hard fought game that saw the Rangers tie the game with less than five minutes to go, the Garden crowd was left stunned following a questionable no call, and a Rangers’ defensive lapse allowed Joel Ward to score with less than two seconds in regulation, sealing a victory for the Capitals.

The Rangers came out of the gates blazing, and it looked like they were ready to totally take over the game. They were controlling possession, getting shots on net, and came close on a few occasions, but Holtby stood tall and the team defense from Washington was strong.

Eventually, Hart trophy finalist Alex Ovechkin took over the game, and the Rangers did not do a great job of containing him. Ovechkin dominated possession when he was on the ice, with a 71% corsi for during the first two periods. He also scored on the power play, again, the fifth time that he has scored on the man advantage against the Rangers this season. Going forward, Vigneault needs to do a better job of limiting his influence. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers aim to open series against Capitals strong: Klein and Sheppard ready to go

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan girardi 12-23

The Rangers will have to be responsible defensively when going up against Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, something that will be a focal point of this series. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Following the conclusion of the final game in the first round, with the Tampa Bay Lightning advancing to face the Montreal Canadiens, the Semifinals matchups can commence. The New York Rangers open up their Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup against the Washington Capitals, a team they are very familiar with, at Madison Square Garden.

This is the first playoff meeting between these two rivals since 2013, but the fourth since the 2011 playoffs. Some players from both the Capitals and Rangers have remained with their respective squads, so there is definitely some familiarity and bad blood between these two teams.

Washington has had less rest than New York since their first round series concluded, with only two days off, but they did have to travel to Manhattan as well. They took out the Islanders in a grueling seven game series full of hard hitting, tough defensive play, and intensity. Read the rest of this entry

5 Keys to the Rangers taking down the Washington Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua

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The Rangers were victorious in round one, and now face off against the Washington Capitals. Here is what they need to do to win. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

In the first round of the playoffs, the Rangers were able to execute their game plan and eliminate the Penguins in five games, advancing to the second round of the playoffs to take on the Washington Capitals, emerging victorious following a grueling seven game series against the New York Islanders.

Unlike the Penguins, the Capitals are a fully healthy team, with all of their wingers and defensemen ready to play. They too have a solid goalie in net in Braden Holtby, a name familiar to the Rangers and their fans in the postseason.

Following the tiring series against the Islanders, with little rest as well as travel, the Capitals are coming into what will be another extremely hard fought series against another very good team in the New York Rangers. With Game 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have another good opportunity to pounce on what could be a tired Capitals team as they try to reach the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in as many seasons. Read the rest of this entry

Series Preview, Round 2: Rangers vs. Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua

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For the fourth time in five years, the Rangers and Capitals will faceoff in the playoffs again. The Rangers won the last meeting in seven games back in 2013. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals will face off in the playoffs. If the past matchups are indicative of this year’s playoff series, Rangers and Capitals fans are in for a treat.

After a grueling seven game series with the New York Islanders, the Capitals were able to come away with a 2-1 win in the final game of the series, limiting the Islanders to just 11 shots on goal and advancing to face the New York Rangers.

The last time that the Rangers and Capitals met in the postseason was back in 2013, with the Rangers coming away with the series win in seven games. With the Capitals up 3-2 heading into Game 6, Henrik Lundqvist came through in the clutch, delivering back-to-back shutouts to give New York the series win. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Practice Report; Zuccarello out indefinitely, Klein in, Hartford Call Up

Bobby Bevilacqua

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The Rangers will be without Mats Zuccarello for the time being, sidelined with what seems to be a concussion. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mats Zuccarello was struck in the head by Ryan McDonagh’s slap shot. Play continued, and Zuccarello seemed a bit woozy getting back to the bench. A few minutes later, he headed to the locker room.

This afternoon, the Rangers announced that Zuccarello would be out “indefinitely” with an upper body injury, not specifying any type of injury or the length that he would be sidelined.

While it’s probably not smart to jump to conclusions, Zuccarello could be dealing with a concussion. It would answer the question of why he didn’t return to Game 5, and is a logical possibility when someone is struck in the head by a piece of vulcanized rubber traveling at 85+ miles per hour. He also had no visible injuries, so a concussion seems to be the only logical explanation for an “upper-body injury.” Read the rest of this entry