May 2, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Will a happy Alex Ovechkin translate into team success?
Last year, when the Capitals faced the Rangers in the second round, Alex Ovechkin — one of the NHL’s biggest stars — played just 13:36 in a 3-2 Game 2 victory. The reason? Then-Washington coach Dale Hunter didn’t trust his captain defensively, often leaving Ovechkin on the bench when the Caps held a lead. This year, Ovechkin has thrived under new coach Adam Oates, moving from the the left wing to the right and leading the league in goals, with 32. But Ovechkin has gone into the playoffs as the league’s top sniper before, and it hasn’t translated into anything better than a second-round defeat.
Will Rick Nash make his mark?
Rick Nash has scored lots of goals in his career, but he’s still only played four playoff games. In his first season with the Rangers after being traded from Columbus, Nash had 21 goals in 44 games. Now comes the opportunity for the 28-year-old to make his mark in games that count. “It’s something all the great athletes have done,” he said. “It’s time to step up now.” With his big body and ability to shield defenders, Nash will also be key for a New York side that will want to control the puck in the Washington end as much as possible.
Will Marc Staal be back?
The Rangers’ defenseman has been out of the lineup since being struck in the eye with a puck in early March. It’s unlikely he’ll be ready for Game 1, but the fact he’s been practicing with the team is a sign he may be ready to play soon. Not only is Staal a good defensive defenseman, his return would mean fewer hard minutes for Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. Last year, two of the seven Caps-Rangers games went to overtime. By the time New York met the Devils in the conference finals, fatigue appeared to be a factor, even if John Tortorella refused to admit it.
Can the Rangers stay out of the penalty box?
Because the Capitals have the NHL’s best power play. Washington — armed with the likes of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green — scored on an impressive 26.8 percent of its man advantages during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Rangers’ had only an average penalty kill (15th, 81.1%). Of course, the best way to negate a good power play has always been to avoid taking penalties. New York is normally a disciplined team, and would be advised to remain that way.
Holtby was rock-solid in goal for the Caps down the stretch. In April, the 23-year-old had nine wins against just one regulation loss, registering a save percentage of .937. Still, he only has one postseason of experience compared to Lundqvist’s six. What does he think about that? “There are things that you can gain from experience in terms of your play but when it comes down to it that stuff is thrown out the window,” said Holtby. “You just have to perform, you have to believe that we’re the better team and you go from there. You throw experience out the window and you just play.”
Mar 10, 2014, 8:09 PM EDT
Warning: it’s a bloody scene for Ceci.
Mar 10, 2014, 7:55 PM EDT
He was last seen at practice in Saginaw, Mich.
Mar 10, 2014, 6:38 PM EDT
Nathan MacKinnon slides into his center spot vs. Winnipeg.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
Canucks GM pens letter to ticket holders.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:14 PM EDT
Click for a video explanation.
Mar 10, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT
All the latest from the blue paint…
Mar 10, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
Dallas seems to be a good fit for the 22-year-old former Bruin.
Mar 10, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“We have to keep scoring goals. We have to keep playing this way,” said Adam Henrique.
Mar 10, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
He meant he doesn’t want to be traded.
Mar 10, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Fire up the comments section!
Mar 10, 2014, 2:26 PM EDT
But how does creating a long change in overtime sound?
Mar 10, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
Starting tonight in Anaheim.
Mar 10, 2014, 1:49 PM EDT
A home game vs. Washington, which will also mark Dustin Penner’s return to Anaheim.
Mar 10, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT
“It’s a bad position, I guess.”
Mar 10, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Veteran winger won’t play tonight vs. Phoenix.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT
The 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
Tough blow for Montreal.
Mar 10, 2014, 11:56 AM EDT
With Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson.
Mar 10, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT
Deadline deal could end up being a masterstroke.
Mar 10, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT
Columbus is fighting hard for a spot in the postseason.
- Gillis pleads his case: ‘We are enduring a challenging period’ 16
- Nolan gets a game for punching ‘unsuspecting’ Joensuu 24
- It doesn’t sound like 3-on-3 overtime is going to be a thing 34
- Blues finish night on top of NHL standings after shootout win 15
- Kings’ Nolan gets double-minor for punching Oilers’ Joensuu 54
- Extended overtime likely to be on agenda in GMs’ March meeting 42
- Lundqvist shuts out Red Wings to claim 300th victory 11
- NHL on NBCSN: Hawks know they can’t take Sabres lightly 11
- NHL on NBC: Red Wings, Rangers fight to cling onto playoff spots 2
- Video: Flames score center-ice goal against Canucks’ Lack 19
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (68)
- Report: Flyers table ‘substantial offer’ for Kesler, also inquiring about Edler (59)