Caps lose to Rangers, 5-0, in Game 7

Washington’s lockout-shortened sprint of a season ended with a thud Monday night at Verizon Center.

The Capitals lost to the Rangers, 5-0, and will now watch from home as New York moves on to face Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals later this week. The win is the first for the Rangers on the road in Game 7. Washington, meanwhile, is now 3-9 all-time in these must-win situations.

New York scored two goals in the second period and the put things away with a goal 13 seconds into the third period. After taking a 2-0 lead in this series, Washington finished its season by losing four of its final five games. This is the ninth different postseason in which the Capitals have blown a two-game series lead.

Thanks again for joining us on this live blog. We’ll have plenty more from the locker room on washingtonpost.com/sports or

Neil’s take:

Tough way to end the season, but there are a lot of bright spots to take away from this year: Washington climbed back into the playoff picture when it looked like they could be headed to the draft lottery. Adam Oates rejuvenated Ovechkin by moving him to the right side, resulting in the Great Eight’s third Rocket Richard Trophy. And this team will get healthy and make some roster moves so Oates has “his guys” in the fold.

This is a bitter pill to swallow, but it isn’t what this team will be in the coming years.



Rangers go up 5-0 on Caps

The fans are streaming for the exits here at Verizon Center with New York now up 5-0.

A blocked shot by center Mike Ribeiro turned into a 4 on 2 break for the Rangers. But after it appeared New York’s Derek Brassard would ease off the gas for a line change, he spun around and fed wing Mats Zuccarello streaking to the net behind three Washington defenders.

Zuccarello proceeded to fake out Braden Holtby with a move that had the goalie completely discombobulated. Not much hope for a comeback here at suddenly half-empty Verizon Center.

Rangers take commanding 4-0 lead early in 3rd period

Any hopes of a dramatic third-period comeback by the Capitals may have gone down the drain quicker than anybody expected.

The Rangers have taken a 4-0 lead 13 seconds into the third period after a terrible turnover by Washington defenseman John Erskine near the red line. New York captain Ryan Callahan then skated in alone and beat Braden Holtby five hole with a nifty backhanded shot.

Erskine broke the blade of his stick on the crossbar as the red light flashed.

Caps trail Rangers 3-0 entering third period

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)


The Capitals are staring at golf season entering what could be the final 20 minutes of their season.

New York has a 3-0 lead in Game 7 thanks to two second-period goals by forward Taylor Pyatt and defenseman Michael Del Zotto that came two minutes, 10 seconds apart.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has again been outstanding, stopping all 26 shots he has faced thus far. Washington has now gone five periods since its last goal. Braden Holtby, meanwhile, watched three pucks hit the post or crossbar in the second period alone.

We’ve certainly reached desperation time for Washington now that the third period has arrived.

Neil’s take:

Washington is throwing pucks at net (26 total) but none have been dangerous, with just six below the top of the faceoff dots and none below the dots.

Ovechkin is a plus-13 Corsi but still without a goal in the game. He has just one shot and 12 hits, but if he is hitting then he doesn’t have the puck.

Rangers racking up blocked shots

With five minutes, 52 seconds remaining the second period, New York has an 19-3 advantage in blocked shots. Expect the Rangers to go into their familiar defensive shell as long as they’re nursing a multi-goal lead. Still New York’s lead 3-0 in suddenly quiet Verizon Center.

It’s gotten so bad that the Verizon Center videoboard is showing “Unleash the Fury” now, instead of the third period.

Need four or more

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)


New York and Henrik Lundqvist have held Washington to three or fewer goals every game this postseason. The Caps will need four (or more) to win Game 7.

Washington scored four or more goals 18 times in the regular season but not once against New York.

Rangers take a 3-0 lead early in 2nd period

Braden Holtby’s shaky night continues.

Moments after Rangers forward Derek Dorsett hit the crossbar on an attempt, Holtby allowed a long rebound on a shot by defenseman Steve Eminger and New York’s Taylor Pyatt stuffed it into an empty net to put the Rangers on top, 2-0, three minutes, 24 seconds into the second period.

A couple minutes later, a shot by Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto deflected off Troy Brouwer’s skate and beat Holtby to increase New York’s lead to 3-0 with less than 15 minutes left in the second period. It capped off a poor shift by Washington’s second line.

The Capitals have gone more than 88 minutes without a goal, and they’ll need to end that streak quickly if they hope to emerge with a win here in Game 7.



Deja vu all over again?

No jinx.


Caps enter second period down 1-0

Washington was the better team for much of the first period, but New York will enter the second period with a 1-0 lead in Game 7.

The Rangers opened the scoring with a goal by fourth liner Arron Asham, 13 minutes, 19 seconds into the first period. It came immediately after Capitals defenseman Mike Green skated in alone for a scoring chance on Henrik Lundqvist. Asham now has more goals in this series (2) than Washington captain Alex Ovechkin.

A major concern going forward is Holtby, who has looked shaky for the first time during a home game this postseason. On top of the soft goal he allowed, Holtby saw another wrist shot trickle up his shoulder and carom dangerously near the goal. He also mishandled a puck behind the net, although he escaped from the situation unscathed.

The Caps will have 42 seconds on the power play when the second period begins. They out-shot New York 13-9 in the opening 20 minutes and won 15 of 23 faceoffs.

Neil’s take:

New York forward Arron Asham has more goals (2) in this series than everyone on Washington’s roster except for Mike Green (2).

If Washington wants to solve Henrik Lundqvist they are going to need to crash the net. Not one of their 13 shots have been in the slot or the crease, and that includes one attempt on the power-play.

Alex Ovechkin has all the Corsis (plus-7). He has been on the ice for 10 shots attempts and just three against.

Mo power plays, mo wins, less problems

The power plays have been handed out to New York by the bucket full, but tonight’s officiating crew has awarded the Caps with the first penalty of the game. And that could be good news for Washington, who has relied on their power-play to win games.

Here is Washington record in 2013 based on power-play opportunity differential:

Penalty differential (regular season) W L O
minus-5 to minus-4 0 1 1
minus-3 to minus-2 3 6 0
minus-1 to even 11 6 0
More PP opps than opponent 13 5 2

To put this series penalty differential in context, Washington never went five games in a row during the regular season where in each game they saw fewer power-play opportunities than their opponent. Their longest stretch was four games, from February 12 to February 24. Washington has played one game this series where they got the power-play edge, the win in Game 1.



Caps finally get a power play

Matt Hendricks just took a stick to the face and the Capitals will get their first power play since Friday night to end the first period. New York’s goal scorer tonight, Arron Asham, is the box for roughing.

Get closer, the net won’t bite

Washington leads New York in shots 9-6 but it appears both teams are afraid of going close to the net.



Rangers take a 1-0 lead

Just when it looked like Washington might take an early lead here in Game 7, New York strikes first to take a 1-0 lead with six minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the first period.

Capitals center Mike Ribeiro completed a beautiful long range pass to defenseman Mike Green behind the Rangers defense, and Green skated in alone on Henrik Lundqvist. But after Lundvist made a stop on Green’s attempt — and Green subsequently tried to thread a pass through the middle of New York’s offensive zone — the Rangers powered up ice with a 4 on 2 advantage.

A slap shot from just above the right faceoff circle by Rangers forward Arron Asham then beat Holtby glove side to put New York on top early. Safe to say Holtby will regret giving that one up. It was the sort of soft goal he hadn’t given up previously in this series.

Caps (and this crowd) showing some life

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)


We just heard the biggest ovation of the night (thus far) after Alex Ovechkin delivered two big hits during one of his shifts midway through the first period. The second one was a crunching blow along the boards to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and Verizon Center responded with a resounding “Ovi” chant.

The Capitals just watched their best scoring chance of the night pass by without a goal. Rookie Tom Wilson couldn’t get a clean shot off when Matt Hendricks fed him directly in front of New York’s goal mouth. Washington has the early lead in shots, 8-4, with 9:06 to play in the first period.

Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto just gave forward Jason Chimera a healthy shove after the whistle and there was no call. This crowd is raining boos on the officials.

Scoreless early

Washington’s third line of Matthieu Perreault, Jason Chimera and Joel Ward just had a great shift here early in the first period, but neither team is on the board yet. The Capitals have had a couple careless giveaways in their own zone. It hasn’t resulted in any sort of trouble for goalie Braden Holtby, though.

Update: An innocent looking wrist shot just rolled up Holtby’s shoulder and into his glove. Nearly the sort of soft goal he hasn’t given up this series, and can’t allow tonight. Still 0-0 with 11 minutes, 23 seconds to go in the first period.

It starts with a faceoff

(Greg Fiume/Getty) Jay Beagle on the new faceoff rule: “I hope that I remember in the heat of the moment.”

Puck possession starts in the faceoff circle, and it was Mathieu Perreault who stepped up in Game 6, winning five of seven draws (71%) with the Caps winning just 18 of 45 (40%) on the night. Tonight, that’s looking to turn around, with Washington winning the game’s first six draws.

Here are each team’s top faceoff men through Game 6:

Washington Even-str FO% PP FO% SH FO% Total FO%
Nicklas Backstrom 51.9% 66.7% 56.0% 54.1%
Mathieu Perreault 53.0% 0.0% 52.2%
Mike Ribeiro 49.0% 33.3% 48.5%
New York Even-str FO% PP FO% SH FO% Total FO%
Brian Boyle 53.1% 50.0% 75.0% 54.9%
Derick Brassard 58.5% 30.0% 54.7%
Derek Stepan 51.0% 50.0% 50.0% 50.8%
Brad Richards 41.3% 77.8% 0.0% 45.2%


Game 7 is underway

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


One of sport’s great spectacles has finally arrived. The puck Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Verizon Center is packed to the rafters with red-clad fans and they’re already loud.

But if you’re not lucky enough to be in attendance, stay tuned here for plenty of updates throughout the night. Sixty minutes from now, one team will advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston or Toronto. The other will ponder another offseason of golf.

Adam Oates was bluffing; Game 7 lineups

So turns out Capitals Coach Adam Oates used his pregame news conference for some gamemanship. Rookie Tom Wilson remains on the fourth line and Washington’s lineup remains unchanged from Game 6.

Here’s what the lines should look like tonight:



Goalie: Holtby, Neuvirth


Del Zotto-Stralman

Goalie: Lundqvist, Biron

One-goal games the norm

Eleven of the last 12 playoff games between the Capitals and Rangers have been decided by one goal – including the last five – with New York outscoring Washington 26-25 in the 13 games overall.

New York posted a 12-5-4 (.571) during the regular season in one-goal games while Washington was 13-7-3 (.565) in their contests decided by just one tally.

The Rangers are 3-2 in this series in one-goal games.

Best players need to be best players

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Both teams have done a great job nullifying their opponent’s superstar. Alexander Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet for the fourth consecutive game – the longest such stretch of his career in the postseason – but Ovi led the Capitals with 12 shot attempts in Game 6.

New York’s Rick Nash has gone three straight games without a point and has only a single assist in this series. He does lead the Blueshirts in shots on net with 20.

Player Team GP G A P +/- PIM Sh TOI/G
Alex Ovechkin WSH 6 1 1 2 -2 4 29 21:00
Rick Nash NYR 6 0 1 1 0 0 20 20:03

One of these superstars will need to carry their team to victory. Which one will it be?

Crash the net

The shots were close in Game 6, with New York only slightly edging Washington 29-27. But when you look at the shot chart from last night, you can see the Capitals did a better job of crashing the net and generating the quality shots.

If Washington can continue to get traffic in front and pressure Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, expect puck luck to swing back in their favor.

Be sure to check out all of tonight’s shots with the 2013 playoffs shot tracker.


Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson taking pregame skate

The Caps and Rangers are out on the Verizon Center ice for pregame warm-ups and still no certainty over what Coach Adam Oates meant by a lineup change. But it seems Washington’s fourth line will be the focal point of any alterations.

Both rookie Tom Wilson and forward Aaron Volpatti are out on the ice right now, and it remains to be seen which one appears in Monday night’s game. Wilson did not register a point in two games after making his NHL debut last Friday at Verizon Center, but appeared to take line rushes with the fourth line just now. This would be Volpatti’s first-ever playoff appearance.

Doesn’t appear the Rangers will make any drastic changes. Injured defenseman Marc Staal and forward Ryan Clowe are not on the ice for warm ups.

Take the over on penalties

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

New York has been awarded 26 power plays in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, more than any other team in the postseason. Washington has had 14 power plays in six games, the fewest per game (2.3) of any of the 16 playoff teams. That includes last’s night zero opportunities with the man advantage for the Caps.

The disparity has been so large that there is increased focus on who the referees are tonight, and they are familiar faces: Chris Rooney and Dan O’Rourke. Rooney called Game 1 at Verizon Center and gave Washington a 5-4 power-play advantage. O’Rourke was on the ice for Game 3 at MSG and it was the Rangers with more power-play opportunities (6-3). Home cooking? Maybe. But even more important is to expect this game to be called fast and furious, especially for physical and restraining fouls.

Tweets via @BSH_EricT


Game 7 refs almost identical to last year

Given the storyline that dominated the headlines following Game 6 Sunday — PENALTIES!!! — it feels prudent to mention the zebras for tonight’s Game 7 between the Capitals and Rangers.

Dan O’Rourke and Chris Rooney are the referees, while Brian Murphy and Jean Morin will serve as linesmen. You may remember three of those guys from the 2012 NHL playoffs, when Rourke, Rooney and Murphy all officiated Game 7 between the Capitals and Rangers. As Pro Hockey Talk notes, that 2-1 victory for New York featured just three penalties.

As I’m sure you remember since it was just over 24 hours ago, New York wasn’t called for any penalties in Game 6 until a scrum after the final buzzer of the third period. The Capitals, meanwhile, were whistled for five infractions during regulation Monday. In three games at Madison Square Garden this series, New York went on the power play 15 times.


Capitals will make one change to Game 7 lineup

We’re live from Verizon Center for another Game 7 between the Capitals and Rangers.

Last time these teams met under these circumstances — during last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals — New York escape with a 2-1 victory. Back in 2009, though — right here on F Street — the Capitals defeated the Rangers in a dramatic 2-1 Game 7 victory.

One thing to keep an eye on pregame is Washington’s lineup. Coach Adam Oates promised there would be one change during his 6 p.m. news conference with reporters, although he noted forward Brooks Laich would not make his return Monday night.

Perhaps forwards Joey Crabb or Aaron Volpatti could make an appearance on the fourth line in place of rookie Tom Wilson. Or maybe Oates will change his blue line and insert Dmitry Orlov or Tomas Kundratek into the lineup.

Good old Game 7

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)


Greetings from Verizon Center, where the Caps and Rangers will face off in about an hour. Winner advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals, loser goes home and polishes the golf clubs. Yes, Game 7s are stressful — for teams and their fans — but at least the Caps have been here before. Many, many times.

Seven of the Caps’ last nine playoff series since 2008 have required seven games, three of which have come against the Rangers. And according to today’s game notes, with the exception of Mathieu Perreault, Tom Wilson, Steve Oleksy and Jack Hillen, every Capital in last night’s lineup has played in a Game 7.

Welcome to the Game 7 club, gentlemen.

We’ll have the usual updates, analysis and fancy stats from Mark Giannotto and Neil Greenberg from now through the end of the game, so don’t go anywhere.