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Sunday, May 12, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 1, Capitals 0

By Katie Strang



What it means: Rangers coach John Tortorella didn't want to treat Game 6 as an elimination game, but good thing his team did. The Rangers forced a winner-takes-all Game 7 in D.C. on Monday with a 1-0 blanking against the Capitals Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to record the shutout. Alex Ovechkin was held off the score sheet for the fourth straight game.

Striking first: With a restless crowd at MSG chanting (“Shoot the Puck!"), the Rangers finally obliged, taking a 1-0 lead on Derick Brassard’s second goal of the series midway through the second period. The young center added his seventh point in the past six games, winding up from just inside the blue line for a shot that deflected off Caps defenseman Steven Oleksy in front of the net at 9:39. The goal was originally credited to Rick Nash, who screened Braden Holtby in front, but it was then changed to Brassard.

Power outage: The first period was a fitting display for the Rangers' power play’s ineptitude this season. Failing on all three opportunities in the first, including 44 seconds of 5-on-3 time, plus two more over the course of the game, the Rangers are an abysmal 2-for-26 on the series.

Fourth-line duty: With a disappointing performance in Game 5, veteran center and alternate captain Brad Richards was dropped to the fourth line Sunday between Chris Kreider and Arron Asham. Richards, who inked a nine-year, $60 million contract in July 2011, has one point through six games. Meanwhile, Kreider returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous four games. Kreider replaced an injured Ryane Clowe, who was forced from Game 5 with an undisclosed injury that is believed to be a concussion.

Staal still out: Rangers defenseman Marc Staal sat out his third straight game with an injured right eye that kept him out of the lineup for two months. Staal played in Game 3 for the first time since being struck by the puck on March 5 but pulled himself out of the lineup prior to Game 4.