(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will shoot for a 2-0 lead in the
best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals when they host the New York
Rangers in Saturday's Game 2 encounter at Verizon Center.
The third-seeded Capitals, who won their fifth Southeast Division title in six
years, used a strong performance by goaltender Braden Holtby to take the early
lead in this opening-round battle.
Holtby made 35 saves, including 28 over the final two periods, to help the
Capitals grab a 3-1 victory in Thursday's Game 1 in D.C.
"It's a win and we need to move on, simple as that," said Holtby. "We need to
watch the video tomorrow and see what we did right, and what we did wrong, and
be ready for the next game. In my mind there's no individual who wins a game,
this is a team sport."
Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson all scored in the second
period for the Capitals, who fell behind 1-0 in the first stanza before
charging back for the win.
Washington will try to grab a 2-0 lead in the series before it shifts to New
York for Games 3 and 4. The Rangers will host the next meeting on Monday night
at Madison Square Garden.
Carl Hagelin had the lone goal of the game for the sixth-seeded Rangers, who
are in the playoffs for a third straight year. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27
shots in the loss.
Washington went 1-for-5 on the power play in the win, while the Rangers failed
to score on four opportunities with the man advantage.
The Rangers got the only goal of the first period when Hagelin's wraparound
from the right side hit off the skate of Washington's John Erskine and snuck
into the net at the 16:44 mark. However, Holtby kept it a one-goal game by
making a save on a Hagelin breakaway during a Washington power play around a
minute into the second period.
The Caps finally broke through while on another power play later in the
second. With Arron Asham in the box, a slap shot from Mike Green in the high
slot went wide to the left of the net, but it bounced out front and Ovechkin
one-timed it home 6:59 in.
"I'm not so sure Asham's was a penalty but they called it, though," said New
York head coach John Tortorella. "We can't take that many penalties in a game.
You can't take two in a row so hopefully we'll be more disciplined in the next
These two clubs are familiar foes in the postseason of late, as this is the
fourth time in the past five years they have met. The Capitals took the first
two matchups, but the Rangers won a seven-game series in the conference
semifinals last year.
Washington has won four of the seven all-time playoff series between these two
clubs, but the Rangers took two of three from the Capitals in the regular
The Capitals had winger Joel Ward back in the lineup for Game 1 after he
missed the final nine games of the regular season with a knee injury.
New York defenseman Marc Staal hasn't played since suffering a serious eye
injury on March 5, but he hopes to return for this series. He is questionable
for Game 2.
The Sports Network