Sunday, May 12, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Capitals, Game 6
By Katie Strang
AT A GLANCE: One New York hockey team, the Islanders, was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday night. The Rangers are desperate to avoid becoming the second.
The Rangers face the Washington Capitals in a must-win Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon (4:30 ET). The Rangers held serve with home wins in both Games 3 and 4 and will need to do so again to keep their hopes of advancing alive.
HANK NEEDS HELP: Another terrific performance from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was spoiled Friday night in D.C. when the Rangers dropped Game 5 in overtime, 2-1. Washington's Mike Ribeiro tallied the game winner -- his first goal of the series -- to force an elimination game in Game 6.
Lundqvist, who turned away 33 shots in Friday's loss, has made no fewer than 27 saves in a game this series. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner has posted an impressive .927 save percentage through five games.
STARS NEED TO STEP UP: If the Rangers are to force a winner-takes-all Game 7 in D.C. on Monday, they'll need their star players to step up. Rick Nash, who led the team with 21 goals during the regular season, has been held off the score sheet in four of five games this series. Despite a goal in Game 4, alternate captain and veteran center Brad Richards has been ineffective, taking turns on the team's fourth line.
Team captain Ryan Callahan cannot be absolved, either. Though his heart and grit are always on full display, Callahan has managed only two assists in five games.
LOOKING TO BREAK THROUGH: Washington star forward Alex Ovechkin has been limited of late as well. The Hart Trophy finalist has been held off the score sheet for the past three games, a first in his playoffs career. The task becomes even tougher with the Caps in hostile territory at MSG, with the home team's ability to make the last change. Rangers coach John Tortorella will do everything he can to get his top defensive pairing of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh out there against No. 8 and his linemates, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom.
NO CLOWE: The Rangers will be without rugged winger Ryane Clowe, who was forced from Game 5 with an undisclosed injury sustained on a hit from Washington's Jason Chimera in the first period. It is not immediately clear who will replace Clowe, though it is possible Chris Kreider returns to the lineup after being scratched the past four games.