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Discuss: Rangers gut out close Game 7 win against Capitals

May 12, 2012, 10:11 PM EDT

rangerswingetty Getty Images

The New York Rangers needed all 14 games, but ultimately, they’re right where a No. 1 seed “should” be: the Eastern Conference finals. The Washington Capitals nearly beat them at their own grinding, defense-first game, but ultimately New York did just enough to win Game 7 by a score of 2-1. They’ll face local rivals the New Jersey Devils for the right to play in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.

Let’s get to the questions.

  • You’d think a gold medal would quiet doubters in the first place, but was Game 7 even sweeter for Henrik Lundqvist, who hasn’t had much playoff success in an otherwise remarkable career?
  • The Rangers haven’t earned many style points so far in the playoffs, but the bottom line is that they’re 3-0 in must-win games so far (two elimination contests against Ottawa, one against Washington). Will New York wear down or do the Rangers simply thrive amid that discomfort?
  • Shifting to the Capitals, is there anyone you’d “blame” in particular for falling in the semifinals? Alexander Semin received his usual round of critiques in some circles.
  • Did Dale Hunter wait too long to open things up in the third period or was he simply “dancing with the girl who got him there”?
  • Speaking of which, the Capitals have pleased many who believe in winning based on a certain style – defensive minded, shot-blocking and not very pretty – but the wide-open Washington teams peaked at Game 7 of the second round, too. Is a collapsing, more “conventional” style the best way to get the most out of this group?
  • The Capitals came into the season with Stanley Cup aspirations, then drastically reduced expectations before a solid playoff run. So, let me ask Caps fans: are you satisfied or wondering “What if?”
  1. highpowered350 - May 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Silly Russian

  2. caps247 - May 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Great game Rangers. I guess 3rd times the charm, eh?
    The caps didn’t deserve to win that game because of certain defensemen who shall not be named and should be dumped in the offseason…

    We’ll be back next year, count on it.

    • danphipps01 - May 12, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      I was thinking, if the Caps survived, of keeping a counter for times He Who Must Not Be Named screens his own goalie, but I have a full-time job and I also need to sleep on occasion.

    • broomballking - May 13, 2012 at 1:46 AM

      What was wrong with Backstrom, Green & Ovi tonight? Finally, Hamrlik realized that you had to move in from the point and SHOOT from close range on this guy!
      I really expected the Caps to show up for this one.

  3. polegojim - May 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Sorry. Ovi = no goals, no assists, 2 shots… -1… IN GAME 7???

    Clutch ??? Seriously???

  4. caps247 - May 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    And for the what I’d, there is that unforgettable “what if” if we’d won game 5, then 6.

    I’ve had nightmares about those last 6.6 seconds ever since, and I don’t see them stopping any time soon.

    • polegojim - May 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      The Caps have been TOO good NOT to win… for a number of years.

      I sincerely just don’t get it.

  5. polegojim - May 12, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    At what point to Caps fans get tired of answering…. “What If?”

  6. cruuuzcontrol - May 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!! Richards is the man.

  7. mydadyourmom - May 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Buh bye to Holtby’s dirty mama. Go Devs.

  8. ravenscaps48 - May 12, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Great Series Rangers Fans… I will find you guys Joel Ward’s Address so you guys can send him a Thank You Card… But all in all, the better team won tonight. We will keep a core of players. Green, Wideman, Schultz, and Poti (Finally) off of our books (Maybe Semin)… We have Cap Room, now get DEFENSEMAN, and we’ll be fine

  9. rg3isvictory - May 12, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Another great playoff series for the Caps but that doesn’t make it good enough to lose in the second again! At least they played their heart out in this playoffs!!! Game 7 looked like NY game early on and throughout most of the game! NY Rangers should be congratulated for an amazing series and good luck against the Devils! I’ll be cheering for the Kings here on out being that I grew up in LA but I won’t mind seeing the Ranger take care of business!

    In regards to the Caps, it’s time Ted consider giving George his pink slip. I’m not saying I want George gone but I would like to understand if this is the Caps style in the future and if so what is he going to do about acquiring the correct personel?

    What is George’s plan with Ovi, he is a great sc

    • rg3isvictory - May 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Ovi is a great scorer but a player that can’t get quality ice time because he skates circles in his defensive zone instead of playing D may not have a place on this team. I’m sure Semin will get most of the flack for dissappearing many times. But he plays much better D than Ovi and if Hunters system is going to be followed, Semin is a better fit.(that’s not saying much out either players D)

      Mike Green, Wideman and a few other cap defenders should be reconsidered! That’s all I can think of for the moment, except that George got the Vokoun decision wrong and should have given Holtby the opportunity he proved he was ready for last season!

      Man what a great series, thanks to Rangers and Caps fans for helping make PHT fun!!!

      • ravenscaps48 - May 13, 2012 at 9:07 AM

        Hopefully Green, Wideman, and Schultz will be gone so Orlov and Erskine can get back to playing… Missed those gents!

  10. grimlock410 - May 12, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Congrats to the rangers. I am proud of the grit the Caps displayed this year but we can’t feel like we’re close. We have alot to do this offseason.

  11. dannythebisforbeast - May 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    So far gotta go with the rangers. Devils fans to this point are as close to pens fans as there are. Total douchebags.

  12. danphipps01 - May 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Joel Ward is apparently the new Stephane Matteau. His was some of the clutchest play I’ve seen for the Rangers since the Messier days.

  13. DTF31 - May 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Semin deserved an award for how much he seemed to not want to handle the puck in the last 2 minutes.

  14. rgee3 - May 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    go to hell blue tops. series woulda been over in gm 6 if not for dummy Joel ward.

    • rg3isvictory - May 12, 2012 at 10:46 PM

      Disagree, Ward isn’t the reason the team lost! Rangers came out fired up after getting their a$$e$ handed to them in game 6! The Caps had an opportunity to punch NY in the mouth early in game 7 but lacked energy throughout the game! Ward, wasn’t great overall and got a pass after that huge goal against the B’s! Caps need more Hendricks and Beagles! Less Semin and Ovi’s!!!

  15. Stiller43 - May 12, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    WOOOOOOO

  16. sabatimus - May 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    There’s karma for you, Caps.

  17. capsfan19 - May 12, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Ovechkin gets the blame in my book. Probably the worst passing by the team ive seen all playoffs long.
    I dont understand its like ovi was like well im not sure we’re going to win so i’ll make awful passes. I think semin played better, at least he had some great chances.

    • polegojim - May 13, 2012 at 1:25 AM

      That has to hurt Capsfan19… and that’s been my point.

      He took the night off. It sums up all my disdain and disrespect for Ovi.

      • steeltuff - May 13, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        Year in and year out, Ovie underachieves . . . as does his team. All that talent and they haven’t been to the SC Finals since all these stars, who play so well in the regular season in a weak division, came aboard.

    • ravenscaps48 - May 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      I hate how Ovechkin always loses the puck in his skates… You are NOT a soccer player! Use your stick and the boards! And I don’t know what the deal is, but our two Russians whiff on the puck more than anyone in the league!

  18. tackledummy1505 - May 12, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Lol who didn’t see that coming? NHL is so funny but I knew it would be Rangers/Devils in east finals. Rangers win this in 7. Lol I just think its funny how all these games go

    • brian32556 - May 13, 2012 at 2:46 AM

      tackledummy1505 – May 12, 2012 at 11:22 PM
      Lol who didn’t see that coming?
      =========
      Oh, and you did?! Congratulations then on all the money you won in Las Vegas betting on your sure thing. Who knew we had a Nostradamus in out midst!

      • jimeejohnson - May 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Most likely one of the Boston whiners.

      • tackledummy1505 - May 16, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        lol the fix is in. Now no one will watch the Eastern Conference final lol. Lame.

  19. mrpigs - May 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Where are u caps fans with your “oh yeas”???? #losers

  20. babykaby - May 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Caps fans make me sick. All they do is find fault with their own team. If you think Ovi, Semin, Backstrom and Green are so bad, so uncaring, play without heart, then why don’t you just pick another team to cheer for? Do you honestly think they don’t want to win the cup? Are you really that stupid? I love the Caps. I’m so very proud of how they turned themselves around and started really playing as a team. They did a fine job. Would I have liked to see them go further? Absolutely, but I realize the cup is a very difficult thing to achieve. If it was easy so many people wouldn’t want it. The Caps faced a very disciplined defensive top seeded team on their home ice, but they didn’t lay down. They lost a game 7 by one goal. They deserve our respect and admiration for what they achieved. Congrats to the Rangers and their fans, they deserved the win. But I will always cheer on the Caps.

    • gaborik104life - May 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Honestly if they played like they did in game six who deserved to win would have been up in the air. The way Ov played in game six compared to game 7 it’s hard to say that it is the same player. With Holtby and Neuvrith who will be your 1,2 next year I am guessing it is a great duo. On top of that you look at the teams that are remaining and all of them win off their goaltending and defense the latter of which I think you guys are lacking. With Carlson, Alzner continuing their growth and Hunter changing the system you guys are going to be much better and a more efficient team. On top of that you guys have some great grinding players. I love Laich, Chimera, and Brouwer great players and seem like great locker room guys. On top of that you eliminated the Stanley cup Champs and gave the eastern conference champs hell. I no longer have nails from biting them so hard. Considering how they were up until half way through the season Washington and Hunter deserve tons of credit.

  21. tfaltin - May 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Game 7 was a bit of a statement for the Rangers. When it all was on the line, they were the ones that stepped up and took hold. I thought that it was Gaborik’s best game of the series. He seemed faster and more aggressive than earlier on in the series and it was great to see.

    The bottom line for the Caps is that if you’re going to play a defensive system (like the Rangers) then you need your star players to be mentally strong enough to make the difference with limited chances. I thought Backstrom and Ovechkin were intimidating all series, and even Semin had dangerous moments in the second period of game 7. In the end though, only 1 assist over 7 games for Semin, a -1 on the series and -2 in game 7 is just not good enough. If I were a Caps fan I’d want to see Ovi and Backstrom stay, and the Capitals get a physical power-forward type (like a Backes/Brown prototype) to do damage in front of the net. I know the Bruins have explored moving Lucic….

    I really hope Dubinsky comes back soon. Even though his offensive numbers have not been there as much this season, his defense, physicality, forechecking, and stellar PK ability are huge for the Rangers. Without him it looks like the Blueshirts are missing an important element that I think they will need to beat the Devils, because I’m sure Elias, Kovalchuk, and Parise will do a lot more damage than 8-19-28 did for the Caps.

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