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Playoffs Tonight: Rangers look to bounce back vs Capitals

May 6, 2013, 7:59 AM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 04: Derick Brassard #16 of the New York Rangers shoots the puck in overtime against the Washington Capitals in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) Getty Images

We have some critical games for you today. Three of these teams could end up just one game away from elimination before this night is done.

Please remember that in addition to the channels listed below, you can watch the Capitals-Rangers, Red Wings-Ducks, and Blues-Kings games online.

Game 3: Toronto Maple Leafs host Boston Bruins (7:00 p.m. ET)
Series tied at 1-1

For the first time since 2004, an NHL playoff hockey game will be played at the Air Canada Centre.

The Boston Bruins have an edge in experience, but the Toronto Maple Leafs made a statement in their 4-2 win on Saturday. The Leafs are capable of rising to the occasion in the playoffs, especially goaltender James Reimer, who stopped 39 shots.

This hasn’t been the most physical of the series, but there have been some controversial hits. Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is eligible to return after serving a one-game suspension for his hit on Mikhail Grabovski. Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf will also be available after the decision was made not to punish him for his hit on Paille.

Game 3: New York Rangers host Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Capitals lead series 2-0

After Game 1, Rangers coach John Tortorella said his team couldn’t afford to take as many penalties as they were and in Game 2 he talked about their “stagnant” power play.

The Capitals have dominated the special teams battle through two games, but it’s hard to put too much emphasis on that when the Rangers have scored just one goal overall. The Rangers quite simply need to figure out goaltender Braden Holtby and the Capitals’ defense soon, or they will be eliminated.

With that in mind, Rangers forward Rick Nash will be an interesting player to watch tonight. He has no points despite 11 shots on goal in this series and, at the age of 28, the superstar is still looking for his first playoff win.

Game 4: Detroit Red Wings host Anaheim Ducks (8:00 p.m. ET, CNBC)
Ducks lead series 2-1

The Ducks put the pressure on the Red Wings with their commanding 4-0 victory in Game 2.

“We feel we can be better,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in a Detroit News report. “The whole thing with (playoff) series is about mental toughness, they’re battles of will.”

The Red Wings have lost a number of key veterans over the last couple of years and that might have taken its toll on them in that regard.

One player to watch is Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg. He played a huge role in Detroit’s final push for a playoff spot, but has just one assist in three playoff games.

Game 4: Los Angeles Kings host St. Louis Blues (10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Blues lead series 2-1

The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings put themselves back in this series with a 1-0 victory on Saturday.

These have been goaltending and defensive battles, with the two teams combining for just seven goals over three games. All of the contests in this series have been decided by just one goal.

“I don’t think either team has had much momentum in this series,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter told LA Kings Insider. He added, “The players are confident on both teams, so you just kind of go shift-to-shift.”

It’s worth noting that in this defensive series, the Kings top goal scorer and points leaders, Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar respectively, have combined for just one point — an assist — through three playoff games.

  1. hockeywithdrawal - May 6, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    I hope the Caps keep winning, if for no other reason than to keep Torts silent.

    • ibieiniid - May 6, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      i hope the caps keep winning, if for no other reason than to win their first ever cup.

  2. ravenscaps48 - May 6, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    The only way that Tortorella keeps his job, is if the Rangers win the series. And the stats indicate otherwise, I think the Capitals have been a much better road team than playing at VC. So he’s to knocking the dust off the broom after this evening. Good Luck, Ranger Fans. Lets Go Caps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. tfaltin - May 6, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Rangers-Caps should be another good game. The better team has won both but the games have been close. If Torts doesn’t let the Rangers open up the Caps will sweep him out of a job. I’m a huge Rangers fan but I am so frustrated with their style of play. They don’t skate and ask Hank to make 45 brilliant saves per night. They have the talent on the roster to score but they’re just not allowed to take the chances.

    • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 6, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      Torts may be out of a job but lets give him a little credit. His defensive style forces the opposition into a high amount of very low percentage shots and blocks the majority of the high percentage ones. Other than being a goaltender’s dream coach, he an arrogant prick who is being out-coached the first two games and will lose the team and his job if this path continues.

      • ravenscaps48 - May 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Oh, it’s a great style. But not for that team. That team would thrive under an offensive coach

  4. c1md6 - May 6, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    The rangers goal scoring has been anemic but please don’t say “the rangers haven’t figured out holtby” because they hit about 5 posts and two crossbars which could’ve easily made this series 2-0 the other way.

    • brianforster - May 6, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      another inch the other way and they would have missed altogether, bottom line you have to put the puck in the back of the net.

      • coopjr - May 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        Did they try the triple deke?

    • jpelle82 - May 6, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      by your goal post logic, the pens should be up 3-0 in their series and yesterday’s game wouldnt have went to ot either. bottom line is you have to score to win. the better point would be that the rangers have had plenty of chances, and they should be able to keep it interesting because they are getting those chances…they just need some puck luck.

    • valoisvipers - May 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      “The Rangers haven’t figured out Holtby”
      Sorry couldn’t resist. The Rangers are offensively challenged under Tort’s system but that doesn’t explain their pitiful power play, and that bad is also on Torts and his staff. Slats has given Torts the horses but he can’t get them to drink the Koolade.

      • daniel10017 - May 6, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Wrong. The blame also lies at Sather’s feet. There’s a saying: never take players from losing organizations, they have the losers mentality. That’s what you see in Nash. He’s not a winner. If the Rangers lose in the first round then BOTH Tortarella and Sather (cancer or no cancer regarding his health) MUST be fired.

      • valoisvipers - May 6, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Nash is about the only one trying up front. He must feel like he is still in Columbus and has to do it himself. As we all know, one player can’t do it alone.
        Has anyone seen Brad Richards this year or know his whereabouts?

      • jpelle82 - May 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        hagelin has had good speed and some chances this series. he seems like the only one skating to me…hopefully clowe will be the shot in the arm they need tonight.

  5. jayreiterman - May 6, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Both games were very close. It’s stupid to say that the caps are the better team.

    • ibieiniid - May 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      looking at the outcomes of the two “very close” games… no, it’s not stupid to say that. they won both. even if they’re just better by enough to pull out the Ws, they’ve been better.

      • jpelle82 - May 6, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        exactly, all that matters is w’s

  6. rpiotr01 - May 6, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I’m a big Rangers fan but this team is headed nowhere. There has been a parade of players in and out of here to ‘fix’ the power play and yet somehow they wilt like plants in the dark when they play under Torts and staff. Slats isn’t going to fire Torts this year but he may force a shake-up of his coaching staff… which we all know is the first step before being fired.

    Sad, Hank wastes another year…

    • tfaltin - May 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      I would loan Hank to the Blackhawks for the spring to see him win a Stanley Cup. Possibly even to the Penguins so he can get what he deserves.

  7. c1md6 - May 6, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Lol relax pht police, I simply disagreed with the fact that holtby is the reason why the rangers aren’t scoring since they haven’t “figured him out” yet. Holtby has seems shaky at best when the rangers finally do get pressure and a descent scoring chance, he’s turned the puck over numerous times, literally threw a puck at his on dman to play the puck (which I’ve never seen in my life) and has been out of position quite a few times which he was saved by the posts and cross bar numerous times. All I’m saying is the rangers lack of scoring is a testament to the speed on defense by a hungrier hard working caps team and not so much holtby, don’t make him out to be Craig Anderson and what he did to the rangers in the first round last year.

    • theclaim - May 6, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Are we watching the same series? Game 2 was a GOALIE BATTLE. Great saves at both ends! Holt by has been STONING opponents. Maybe he doesn’t fit YOUR idea of a good goalie with his style of play, but he IS a good goalie. The Rangers better try and BUY some offense to get the biscuit in the net.mits looking GOOD for my Caps! Rock the Red!

  8. dglelite - May 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    For all those saying the Caps Rangers series could be 2-0 Rangers if for a couple of shots that went off the post and crossbar, Game 2 was such a blowout in terms of chances and ice time in the offensive zone that the Caps should have won that game probably 5 or 6 to 2 (giving the posts as goals for the Rangers). But, as it has been said before above, it comes down to actually putting the puck in the net.

    Hank has stood on his head and been phenomenal…and kept the Rangers in these games so far. Props to him for bringing his “A” game. Honestly can’t say that about many of the other players so far.

    Tonight i expect the Rangers to come out hard. it will be interesting to see if the Caps can weather the storm in the first 10 minutes.

    Go Caps!

  9. helladonks - May 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    All I have to say is that Torts needs to be fired. He’s a d-bag to everyone, including Rangers’ fans

  10. capsrockva - May 6, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Let’s Go CAPS CAPS CAPS

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