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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
W2W4: Rangers vs. Caps

By Katie Strang

At a glance: Coming off their most dramatic win yet -- a spirited late-game rally in Monday's 3-2 OT victory -- the Rangers can close it out against the Capitals in Game 6 Wednesday in D.C. With a 3-2 series lead heading into the match, the Rangers can punch their ticket for the team's first conference final appearance in 15 years. Meanwhile, the resilient seventh-seeded Capitals look to avoid elimination on home ice at Verizon Center following a heartbreaking loss on the road.

Do or Die: In a must-win situation, the Capitals hope to extend the series to Game 7 with a win against the top-seeded Rangers tonight. “It's a do-or-die game for us, so we're all pretty intense,” defenseman Karl Alzner told the Washington Times. “Obviously we want to do and not die, so we're ready for it.”

Avoid same mistakes: After prevailing in last week’s epic triple-overtime Game 3, the Rangers bungled the chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. With another prime opportunity within reach, the Rangers want to avoid letting it slip past. Said alternate captain Brad Richards: "It's backing up these big wins. 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."

Big-goal Brad: Richards contributed another clutch goal for the Rangers Monday, tying the game at 2 with 7.6 seconds left in regulation. The dynamic 32-year-old center has shown a knack for stepping up in big situations throughout his career, particularly the playoffs, and has a Conn Smythe Trophy to show for it. Richards, who holds an NHL record for seven game-winners during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup run, has five goals and five assists in 12 games this post-season.

Guns blazing: A key for the Capitals will be to get the most out of their “Young Guns” Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and offensive defenseman Mike Green. The Caps are 13-0 when all three players tally goals, which they did to lead Washington to an 3-2 win in Game 4.

Dog days: Caps forward Jay Beagle did not participate in the team’s morning skate Monday, but according to reports, he will be available for Game 6. Coach Dale Hunter said he was just “resting his legs.”

Devils beckon: Knocking off the Flyers in five games, the New Jersey Devils now must wait until their opponent is set for the Eastern Conference finals. The 6th-seeded Devils, who missed the playoffs last year, will face the winner of the Rangers-Capitals series.