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Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 05/07/2012

Rangers aim to ignite offense vs. Caps in Game 5

The Rangers just completed their morning skate at Madison Square Garden and there were no surprises.

Brandon Dubinksy (right foot) did not participate, as expected. Meantime, Mats Zucarrello (left wrist) skated briefly but will not return tonight, according to Coach John Tortorella. Neither player has suited up this series.

So that likely means New York’s lines and pairings will remain the same. If they do, they’ll look like this:

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

Defensemen
McDonagh-Girardi
Staal-Stralman
Del Zotto-Bickel

Much of the discussion in the home dressing room was about getting the Rangers’ offense going—which begins, players said, with getting shots through to Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. New York has scored nine goals through the series’ first four games.

On Saturday, Capitals forwards and defensemen knocked down 26 shots en route to a 3-2 victory. Defensemen Jeff Schultz blocked nine shots and, after Mike Green put the Capitals ahead with 5 minutes 48 seconds remaining, they got blocks from Roman Hamrlik, Green, Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson, Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich to preserve the lead.

“Obviously, you’re thinking about that when you’re taking a shot,” New York defenseman Dan Girardi said. “But at the same time, you just got to the get [the puck] and shoot. …It’s kind of been a staple of the series; both teams have been stepping in front of shots and making it hard on guys.”

A couple more quotes from the Rangers’ room:

*Asked to compare this series to New York’s win over Ottawa in seven games, Coach John Tortorella said: “To me, this series has been an even harder series to play than the Ottawa series. ...This has been a straight ahead, hard series, and in most facets of it, harder than the Ottawa series.”

I’ve got to believe first-year Capitals Coach Dale Hunter and his players will take that as a compliment.

*Ruslan Fedotenko on Washington’s defense-first style: “It’s effective. They’ve been doing a good job [blocking shots]. They’ve been playing really hard, really good, really defensive style. It’s definitely not the same way it’s been the last few years. Give them credit, they’re playing good hockey now.”

More on the Capitals:
Caps’ lines look the same as Game 4
Holtby never plays the blame game
Backstrom channels his inner Forsberg
On Hockey: Caps make their own breaks
Sources: No discipline for Ovechkin
Caps dominate on blocked shots

By  |  12:58 PM ET, 05/07/2012

 
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