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How Caps, Rangers turned their seasons around

May 2, 2013, 12:52 AM EDT

callahanovechkingetty Getty Images

Being that this is their third consecutive playoff meeting, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers know each other pretty well. As it happens, both teams have at least one thing in common: they’ve turned things around from darker times.

The Associated Press breaks down some pivotal moments for each team.

In the case of the Capitals, it all started to turn around after a players-only meeting following a dispiriting 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 8. Defenseman Karl Alzner described that moment.

“We played terrible. Didn’t have any emotion. It’s one you needed to talk about instantly; can’t let things like that drag on,” Alzner said. “We had to get everything out in the open, hear what everybody was feeling, why we thought we weren’t playing with as much intensity as we normally do, and figure it out. Figure it out now.”

While the Capitals cleared the air, the Rangers brought in new blood via trades. John Tortorella noted that things picked up when the team made trades that (most notably) sent Marian Gaborik out of town while bringing in Ryane Clowe and Derick Brassard.

“I think it solidified our team,” Tortorella said. “We have kind of grown since then. We’re not always dead-on in our minutes in the game, but we have still found ways to win hockey games, and that’s what we’re going to have to do in the playoffs.”

“I thought it changed our team a little bit … And we took off.”

Of course, both teams will face their biggest tests in the next weeks … and maybe months.

  1. mp1113 - May 2, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    C A P S. fack the rags and all of ny

  2. operwapitsai - May 2, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    go caps!

  3. jaredo10 - May 2, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Please no double OT again this year. Let’s Go Rangerss

    • pfailp8 - May 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      No tripple OT games either.. please.

  4. rg3isvictory - May 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    These teams tend to beat up on each other to the point the 2nd round opponent has an easier time. I’d like the Caps in 5

    • pfailp8 - May 2, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      They do beat each other up quite a bit. However, I do not see the caps winning this series. If the rangers can keep the caps PP in check, which theyre pretty good at doing, then the Caps just ont have the depth to win this one.

      Rangers in 6; Wouldn’t be surprised to see it go 7.

      • psr179 - May 2, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        The Rangers PK ranks 15th in the league…not sure that qualifies as pretty good. Caps main weakness is their own PK but thankfully that’s not something the Rags excel at. Ovi & Co in 6, book it.

      • pfailp8 - May 2, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        I actually think that 15th would be right in the range of “pretty good”

      • tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        They’re pretty good at it in the sense of they are the lowest penalized team in the NHL.

  5. tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Don’t foget the impact of John Moore to the Rangers. He has been the second best piece brought in from the trades to Brassard.

  6. jaredo10 - May 2, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    John Moore for Mayor that goood

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