- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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With one of the most thrilling wins in franchise history Monday night, the Rangers are in the driver's seat with a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 in D.C. Wednesday.
And after letting the Capitals off the hook Saturday following a dramatic, triple-overtime stunner in Game 3, the Rangers want to drop the proverbial hammer.
"It's backing up these big wins," said alternate captain Brad Richards, who tallied the game-tying goal with 6.6 seconds left in regulation to send it into overtime. "We didn't do a good job coming out after Game 3. That'll be a focus. We want to back this up and at least give ourselves a lot better chance, especially to start."
Their potential opponent is set -- New Jersey dispatched Philadelphia in a five-game series that ended Tuesday night with the Devils 3-1 win in Philadelphia -- but before they look ahead to a Hudson River clash in the Eastern Conference finals, the Rangers anticipate a tough task in the pesky seventh-seeded Capitals.
Having done it themselves against Ottawa in Round 1, the Rangers know a 3-2 series deficit is not insurmountable.
"We know they're going to come hard," Richards said. "I think we've learned that lesson as we've gone through here in the last few weeks."
Facing elimination on home ice at Verizon Center Wednesday, the Capitals are expected to come out pucks blazing. Unlike Game 4, the Rangers feel ready.
"It's a do-or-die situation," veteran winger Ruslan Fedotenko, who has won two Stanley Cups in his 10-year career, said of the difficult fourth win in each series. "Teams are desperate. That's always the hardest to win."
"I feel like we're going to try and initiate our game," Fedotenko said of the team's approach. "not weather it....we don't need to sit back and wait."
4dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald