Eastern Conference semifinals
No. 7 Capitals vs. No. 1 New York Rangers
When: Wednesday, May 2
Where: Verizon Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM
The Rangers spoke before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals about needing to take advantage of home ice. They’d tried and failed to do so in Game 1 of the first-round series against Ottawa and almost paid for it with their season when that season went seven games.
New York failed again to take a 2-0 series lead. Now, it is the Capitals who hope to use Verizon Center to take control. They botched their own opportunity to eliminate Boston in Game 6 at home when up 3-2 in that first-round series. Earlier, they’d lost Game 3 at home. The lesson? Teams can make things easier on themselves and have repeatedly fallen short on home ice across the league this spring.
“We'd like to. I'm sure the Rangers are coming in thinking, 'We want to keep it tight and not get into a track meet sort of thing in the first 10 minutes,'” Washington forward Brooks Laich said. “We'd like to get our fans into it, whether it's with a hit or a goal, some sort of way to get the building alive. But then you have to continue that. The Flyers scored early last night and got their building alive, but then [New] Jersey pushed back and for the rest of the game didn't give them much at all. We have to be better at home: 1-2 so far is not good enough.”
Some keys: New York can go through long scoring droughts at even strength. Even with star center Brad Richards added to the lineup, it lacks the high-end skill to create goals out of nothing. But put the Rangers on the power play and you’re giving their star players – Richards, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin - an opportunity. And given their struggles at 4-on-4 this spring, the Caps may want to stay away from those situations, too.
Warm-ups are done, rookie Braden Holtby is ready to make his 10th career playoff start and here are the lines and defensive pairings for Game 3:
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