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.”
Apr 23, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT
He made his series debut in the late stages of Game 3.
Apr 23, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT
“I do look cross-eyed for sure.”
Apr 23, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT
Patrick Roy made it official on Wednesday.
Apr 23, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT
There he is with Patrick Bordeleau’s glove in his face.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT
Physical battle starting to take its toll.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Are changes needed?
Apr 23, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT
All the goals came against Ilya Bryzgalov, which is worth mentioning.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT
All games can be seen on either NBC, NBCSN or CNBC.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
First time he’s been scratched in the playoffs in 10 years.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT
Two of the NHL’s best offenses have struggled with the man advantage.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
“That’s what made them successful because they believed in what they were doing.”
Apr 23, 2014, 11:53 AM EDT
A “real steady force back there” must now be replaced.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT
Colorado forward is expected to take home the honors.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT
“He didn’t get to play enough hockey this season, so he’s still eager to play.”
Apr 23, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Chicago’s been tough to beat at home in the playoffs.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:58 AM EDT
Can Columbus rebound from its Game 3 collapse?
Apr 23, 2014, 9:53 AM EDT
He spent three seasons with the Flyers.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT
He’s been out since April 10.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT
It’s that or hit the road down 3-1.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:17 AM EDT
They’ll be facing elimination on Thursday.
- Two years after winning the Cup, the Kings’ ‘mix’ comes into question 27
- Duck drama: Selanne to sit as healthy scratch in Game 4 13
- MacKinnon, Johnson and Palat named Calder Trophy finalists 10
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 42
- Rangers chase Emery, top Flyers for 2-1 series lead 56
- Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead 48
- And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated 86
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) 2
- Bettman says shootouts are staying, gives salary cap estimate 40
- Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question 65
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (127)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)