Wednesday, May 8, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Capitals, Game 4
By Katie Strang
AT A GLANCE: The Rangers, who won Game 3 on Monday, have a chance to even their first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
With Marc Staal adding a big boost to their back end, the Rangers were able to keep Alex Ovechkin off the score sheet in Game 3. But the dynamic No. 8 will likely have a better chance to get involved Wednesday, assuming the Caps stay out of the penalty box. The Rangers took advantage of six power plays Monday night, converting on one and cashing in right at the expiration of another to edge the Caps 4-3.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. Here is what to watch for:
FRESH LEGS: While the Rangers practiced Tuesday, Capitals coach Adam Oates opted to give his team a day off to rest, recover and regroup before Game 4. The result? A pretty business-like morning skate at MSG on Wednesday. "Guys were feeling pretty focused," said Caps defenseman Karl Alzner.
CLOWE POSSIBLE: Yet to make his postseason debut with the Rangers, gritty forward Ryane Clowe said Wednesday there is a "good chance" he will return for Game 4. Clowe, who has been sidelined since suffering an apparent head injury in the final week of the regular season, has been skating with the team since last week. The 30-year-old winger, who was acquired from San Jose before the trade deadline in April, adds size and experience to the team's roster. Clowe, who played for the Sharks from 2006-13, has 68 playoff games under his belt.
PENALTY PARADE: You can guarantee that discipline will be a main point of the Capitals' emphasis heading into Game 4. Washington took six penalties within the first 27 minutes of Game 3, essentially negating any and all momentum. Alzner said the Caps will try to stay out of the box while trying to get a gauge on the officiating as the game progresses.
"If they're gonna call it tight, we have to be careful," he said. "If they're gonna let us play, we have to take advantage of that."
POWE OUT: Rangers forward Darroll Powe is not expected to play Wednesday after leaving Game 3 with an injury that appeared to be a possible concussion. Powe laid a hard hit on Washington's Joel Ward but caught an elbow to the head upon contact, leaving him woozy as he left the ice. He did not return to the game and did not practice with the team Tuesday.
NOT QUITE YET: Veteran Capitals forward Brooks Laich skated with the team for the first time since undergoing sports-hernia surgery before the playoffs began. Oates said Laich is still "a ways away" from returning, however.
Considering Laich was hampered with a nagging groin injury that limited him to just nine games this season, the Caps want to exercise caution with him. "Obviously, we've set ourselves back a couple of times," Oates said. "We don't want that to happen again, so we're conscious of that."