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Posted at 05:19 PM ET, 05/09/2012

Game 6: Capitals win, 2-1, to force Game 7 vs. Rangers

logologo

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Verizon Center
TV:
NBCSN | Radio: 1500 AM

Series is tied at 3

More on Game 6:
Caps come out firing, force Game 7
Ovechkin shoots while sitting down
Hamilton: Caps continue to evolve
Caps 2012 playoffs, shot by shot
Holtby, his mom and big-game zen

Updates are in reverse-chronological order.


End regulation: Gaborik’s shot deflects off Carlson with 50 seconds left to cut it to 2-1, robbing Holtby of his first career playoff shutout, but Caps win this one to force a Game 7 in New York Saturday.

Fans chanting “Holt-BY!”

Gotta run, but more to come in a bit.


19:05 3rd: Holtby makes his 30th save and his mom is barely keeping it together.


16:10 3rd: Caps take a timeout. 2:50 left to protect a 2-0 lead.


13:49 3rd: The crowd here is quiet and nervous. It can be a looooong 20 minutes when you’re trying to force a Game 7.


9:40 3rd, Neil: All Caps in the third’s first 10 minutes. Washington has four scoring chances (including one from Ovechkin in the lotus position) and the Rangers just two, both of those in the first four minutes.


5:20 3rd: Wow. Ovechkin almost just scored while sitting after getting taken down on the rush. He spun around and shot it but no luck. Still... cool.


2:16 3rd: Green whistled for a delay of gsame.


Int, Neil: New York had a 4:00 power play in the second period but Washington still generated more chances, 4-3, making it 11-7 in Caps favor through 40 minutes. Three different Caps have more than one scoring chance so far: Chimera (3), Ovechkin (2) and Aucoin (2).

Chimera has been great this game (goal, four shots and three chances). Hunter might want to try him out on the top line.


End 2nd: This is the longest the Caps have held onto a two-goal lead all postseason. They were up two against Boston in Game 5 for just 2:54 in an eventual 4-3 win.

Rangers lead in shots 20-17, but with nada to show for it, obviously.

17:04 2nd: Prust goes off for roughing and Caps get their third power play of the game.


13:30 2nd: Hendricks sets up Johansson in front of the net for a shorty but he misses it wide.


12:05 2nd: Halpern to the box for high-sticking, Rangers go to the man advantage for four minutes.


10:59 2nd: Most smug goal-scoring face ever from Jason Chimera, who just potted his fourth of the postseason. Assist from Carlson, who has three points in his last four games, but the play was set into motion by Semin, who battled Staal behind the net to free up the puck.

Capitals 2, Rangers 0.


8:50 2nd: On a dud of a power play, Caps get zero shots. Holtby doesn’t get a break, either, having to stop one short-handed attempt from Stepan.


6:29 2nd: Caps are unable to convert on several good chances by Aucoin, Halpern and Knuble but now they’ll get a power play as Callahan is whistled for tripping.


0:49 2nd: Caps are 2-for-2 on the PK now as the second period gets underway.


Int, Neil: Washington leads New York in scoring chances 7-4. Ovechkin has two (including a sweet power-play goal which is Exhibit A when someone asks “Why shouldn’t Ovi play the point with the man advantage?”) as does Chimera, whose speed is making life difficult for the Blueshirts. Brouwer, Semin and Backstrom have the other three.

Next goal feels really important, doesn’t it?


End 1st: Roman Hamrlik goes to the box for interference with 1:11 left. The Caps will have 49 seconds short handed to start the second period.

Up 1-0, they leave the ice to a huge standing ovation from the crowd here.


17:04 1st: After giving up two goals in its last time on the ice (who could forget?) the Caps’ penalty kill successfully extinguishes New York’s first power play.

Then during a TV timeout, Prust catches Ovechkin, um, below the belt, with his stick. Caps captain doubles over in pain but he’s skating it off.


13:44 1st: PK gets to work as Laich goes off for holding.


10:00 1st: Washington leads in scoring chances 5-2 through the game’s first 10 minutes with five different Caps getting in on the action.


7:28 1st: It’s early, but the Caps are applying a ton of offensive pressure. They’re up 8-3 in shots, which includes the Semin-Backstrom-Chimera line getting some quality chances on Lundqvist.


1:28 1st: In 15 seconds, while I’m still typing up the penalty, Ovechkin scores from the slot for his fifth goal of the playoffs. He’s now tied Peter Bondra (who is in the house tonight) with a franchise-best 30 career playoff goals.

Also, for what it’s worth, Washington is 6-1 when scoring first this postseason.

Capitals 1, Rangers 0.


1:15 1st: Stralman trips Chimera on his way to the net and Caps go to the power play early.


7:37 p.m.: Fans cheer extra loud as Joel Ward is announced as a starter. So yes, his Game 7 winner in overtime does, in fact, trump his ill-advised Game 6 penalty.


7:29, Katie: Jay Beagle may not be a household name outside of Washington but over the past few months he’s become a key part of Hunter’s system. While there are plenty of players who will pick up the slack, replacing his minutes won’t be easy for the Caps.

Beagle solidified a role as the Capitals’ shutdown center late in the regular season and has played that part throughout the playoffs, averaging 18 minutes, 26 seconds per game. Within that, though, Beagle sees important penalty-killing time and is fourth on the team (second among forwards) in average shorthanded ice time at 2:42 per game.

He also leads the Capitals with a 54 percent success rate on faceoffs (87 of 161) in the postseason. Beagle has taken the bulk of the right-side draws in the playoffs, but inserting faceoff wiz Jeff Halpern into the mix should help Washington out in that regard.

Beagle suffered an apparent injury to his right knee in Game 5 when he blocked a shot by New York defenseman Anton Stralman.


7:28 p.m.: By the way, if there’s a Game 7 in New York, it’ll be at 7:30 on NBC Sports Network.


7:15 p.m., Katie: The Capitals’ line rushes didn’t offer a clear picture of what the forward combinations will look like in Beagle’s absence.

They showed the top two lines as Ovechkin-Laich-Johansson and Chimera-Backstrom-Semin, but the third and fourth units were jumbled. They’ll be a combination of Matt Hendricks, Troy Brouwer, Jeff Halpern, Mike Knuble, Keith Aucoin and Joel Ward. How the Capitals will divvy up time between those players with Beagle out is uncertain, but Halpern will certainly be thrown back into the fire pretty quickly.

The defensive pairs looked the same as they have for some time now.
Alzner-Carlson
Hamrlik-Green
Schultz-Wideman

In net, Braden Holtby gets the nod and will be backed up by Michal Neuvirth.


7 p.m.: Caps are taking warmup and there’s no sign of Jay Beagle, who also missed the morning skate. The center, who limped to the bench after blocking a shot with his knee in the second period Monday night, must be pretty banged up if he’s not out there for an elimination game.

Coach Dale Hunter said this morning that Beagle was “fine” and would be in the lineup, but appears veteran Jeff Halpern could be taking his place. That would mark the Potomac native’s first game since March 23 vs. Winnipeg.


6:40 p.m.: Braden Holtby is doing is usual pregame “visualizations” on the bench, and Comcast’s got the camera trained on him. Associate goalie coach (and Caps legend) Olie Kolzig said the rookie netminder will have to cut back on some of those Holtbyisms next year, though, if he has his way. Such an extensive pregame routine can wear on a player and cause him to burn out, Kolzig said.


6:20 p.m., Neil: The lower seed has a slight advantage in Game 6, having won 28 of 55 games (.509) in the second round. Couple that with Henrik Lundqvist’s inability to eliminate the Caps (he is 0-3 with a 4.71 GAA and .810 save percentage – stick tap to J.P. from Japers’ Rink for the nugget) and you have a recipe for success.

Not into #fancystats or history? Then just fill-in-the-blank: Loss (Game 1), Win (Game 2), Loss (Game 3), Win (Game 4), Loss (Game 5), ___ (Game 6).


5:15 p.m.: Greetings from Verizon Center, where the Caps will be fighting to keep their postseason alive with a win over New York.

Having to win two games in a row is never an easy task, but with its recent history of resilience, Washington has plenty of reason to be optimistic.

We’ll have live updates, scoring chances/insight from stats guru Neil Greenberg and more to come. In the meantime, here’s some reading material to catch up on:

Q&A transcript: Carrera and El-Bashir
Rangers aren’t looking past tonight’s game
Ovechkin: ‘We just can’t go home right now’
Hunter: Beagle is ‘fine, he’s gonna play’
Caps look to stave off elimination

By  |  05:19 PM ET, 05/09/2012

 
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