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Game One: Rangers @ Capitals
Wednesday at 7:30...

The Rangers need to capitalize on their power plays

The Rangers need to capitalize on their power plays

Tomorrow night the Rangers will commence their playoff run with Game 1 against the Washington Capitals at 7:30.

New York squeaked into the playoffs on Saturday by beating the New Jersey Devils and getting help from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2.  But that’s all in the past now.  The team is focused squarely on Washington, and they’ll get their first shot against Michal Neuvirth tomorrow night.  Neuvirth shared time with Semyon Varlamov and Braden Holtby during the regular season, but Varlamov missed much of the season with a string of injuries and Holtby was up and down from the AHL.  Neuvirth will get Game 1 against the Rangers, but he’ll likely have a short leash given Varlamov’s past success against New York, and he knows it.  That could be a big advantage for New York early.

Mike Green is also set to return to the Capitals’ lineup after sitting out since February with a concussion he suffered from a Derek Stepan elbow during the last meeting between these two teams.  It’s anyone’s guess how Green will perform - he had a rocky season even when he was healthy - but when Green is going he adds another dimension to the Capitals’ offense from the blue line. 

Those are the big subplots from Washington’s camp, but the Rangers would be better off ignoring both.  The Blueshirts should be focused on trying to play their game because they’ve had success doing just that against the Capitals already this year.  That means New York must come out with its typical tenacious forecheck, the Rangers must contain Alex Ovechkin, and they must find a way to generate some offense to take the pressure off Henrik Lundqvist.

The key to this game may well be special teams.  Power plays often make or break teams at this time of year, and against an obviously more talented team, the Rangers will have to capitalize on their opportunities and hold Washington off the scoresheet to have a chance.  The Rangers are one for their last 27 with the extra man, so getting off to a strong start on the pp will be of particular importance because it will set the tone for the rest of the series.

Here are the lines the Rangers used during practice today (per Andrew Gross), although John Tortorella says he won’t disclose any definite information about his lineup prior to the game:

Vinny Prospal-Artem Anisimov-Marian Gaborik

Brandon Dubinsky-Derek Stepan-Ruslan Fedotenko

Wojtek Wolski-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust

Mats Zuccarello/Sean Avery-Erik Christensen-Chris Drury


And the Capitals’ lines (from Tom Gulitti via Andrew Gross):

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble

Marco Sturm-Jason Arnott-Alex Semin

Brooks Laich-Marcus Johansson-Jason Chimera

Matt Hendricks-Boyd Gordon-Matt Bradley


Don’t forget to check out BB+ for our series preview.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | April 12, 2011 at 01:42 pm

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New York Rangers VS Boston Bruins
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 0 2 1 - 3
Bruins 1 0 1 - 2

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