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Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 05/04/2012

Ryan McDonagh: Rangers’ Game 3 win ‘only one step in the right direction’


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
A day after skating a whopping 53 minutes 21 seconds in the Rangers’ triple overtime victory, Ryan McDonagh spent part of his Thursday away from the rink visiting Arlington National Cemetery.

“It was a quite a scene,” McDonagh said. “You talk about … war and the battle that [Game 3] was, then you go out and you see something like that. It really hits home for you.”

McDonagh was joined on the afternoon excursion by teammates Brian Boyle, Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky, among others. The trip was organized by the Rangers.

“It puts things into perspective when you see all those gravestones as far as you can see,” said Boyle said.

After Friday’s practice at Verizon Center, the Rangers’ mantra was keeping Wednesday’s triumph in proper perspective. While the marathon gave them a 2-1 series lead and plenty of momentum heading into Saturday’s Game 4, it also was just one game.

“It’s only one step in the right direction [toward] what we’re trying to accomplish,” McDonagh said.

McDonagh said he felt rested and refreshed despite receiving two games worth of ice time on the same night (and nearly 12 minutes more than Dennis Wideman, the Capitals’ ice time leader). McDonagh took a total of 60 shifts and did not miss a single one after absorbing a crushing shoulder-to-chest hit from Matt Hendricks early in the first overtime. Stu Bickel, meantime, skated only 3:24 as New York's sixth defenseman.

“Pretty good,” McDonagh said when asked how he was doing. “A lot better because we won the game.

The reason Rangers Coach John Tortorella turned to McDonagh so often is simple: Just as he’s been all postseason, the 22-year-old was on top of his game.

McDonagh blocked a game-high eight shots, dished out three hits and directed 11 pucks at Washington’s net. Along with defensive partner Dan Girardi, McDonagh was also a big reason the Rangers managed to keep Capitals stars such Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom off the scoresheet.

“I didn’t know what my ice time was at,” McDonagh said. “You were just trying to make sure you did your part when it was your shift, your turn to go out. Try to make sure you played hard.”

A few more notes from New York’s practice at Verizon Center:

*The Rangers had full attendance at practice, minus Dubinsky, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury. The forward has been seen wearing a supportive boot on his right foot.

*Forward Mats Zuccarello (left wrist) skated on his own before practice and continues to progress toward a return to the lineup. He’s been sidelined since March 23 and still is wearing a cast.

*Here’s how the Rangers lined up in practice:

Forwards
Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik
Kreider-Stepan-Anisimov
Fedotenko-Boyle-Callahan
Rupp-Mitchell-Prust

Defense
McDonagh-Girardi
Staal-Stralman
Del Zotto-Bickel

*Tortorella dropped perhaps the quote of the series when asked whether captain Ryan Callahan leads vocally or by example: “He doesn’t say [expletive], really. What you see is what he is. It’s easy for people talk, but it’s much more important for a leader to ‘do.’” Callahan was named captain in training camp.

More on the Capitals:

Laich woke up and thought season was over

Hunter tells Caps to relax after Game 3 loss

Kolzig: Holtby will come back and win next game

On Hockey: These Caps are mentally tough enough

Caps-Rangers Game 3 by the numbers

Interactive: Capitals shot chart

By  |  02:09 PM ET, 05/04/2012

 
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