Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Capitals force Game 7

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin rebounded from a zero-shot performance by scoring after 88 seconds, rookie goalie Braden Holtby made 30 saves and the Capitals beat the Rangers 2-1 to force Game 7 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series Wednesday night.

The teams meet in New York on Saturday to determine which one will face the Devils in the conference final.

Two nights after blowing a lead in the last 10 seconds of regulation and losing in overtime in Game 5, the Capitals capitalized on a power play after New York's Anton Stralman was called for tripping Jason Chimera 1:13 into the game.

"Everyone, I think, counted us out," said Chimera, who scored in the second period to make it 2-0, Washington's second two-goal lead of the series. "This is the way we are. … We don't really crack."

New York was kept in the game by goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 21 saves, several of them on quality scoring chances. The Rangers got their goal with 50.5 seconds left in the game. It was credited to Marian Gaborik, but the puck deflected off a skate and Washington John Carlson in a scrum in the crease.

Rangers coach John Tortorella said his team didn't get the start it wanted. When asked if the Rangers gave the right effort, he said no. The prickly Tortorella's postgame news conference ended after less than a minute and a half.

Ovechkin's reduced role has become a major talking point throughout the playoffs. Usually a 20-minute-a-game guy, he played as few as 131/2 minutes, in Game 2 against New York. He also was quiet in Game 5 on Monday night, with no shots on goal, only the second time in 49 career playoff games that had happened.

He had three shots in this game. His goal was his 30th career playoff goal, tying the franchise record held by Peter Bondra. Ovechkin also was credited with three blocked shots.

"He had a lot of energy," Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. "He's ready to go when he's called upon, and he played a good game (Wednesday)."

Capitals1102
Rangers0011

First Period1, Washington, Ovechkin 5 (Backstrom, Green), 1:28 (pp). PenaltiesStralman, NYR (tripping), 1:13; Laich, Was (holding), 13:44; Hamrlik, Was (interference), 18:49.

Second Period2, Washington, Chimera 4 (Backstrom, Carlson), 10:59. PenaltiesCallahan, NYR (tripping), 6:29; Halpern, Was, double minor (high-sticking), 12:05; Prust, NYR (roughing), 17:04.

Third Period3, N.Y. Rangers, Gaborik 4 (Girardi, Stepan), 19:09. PenaltiesGreen, Was (delay of game), 2:16. Shots on GoalN.Y. Rangers 11-9-11—31. Washington 9-8-6—23. Power-play opportunitiesN.Y. Rangers 0 of 5; Washington 1 of 3. GoaliesN.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 7-6-0 (23 shots-21 saves). Washington, Holtby 7-6-0 (31-30). A18,506 (18,398). T2:28. Referees—Dan O'Halloran, Wes McCauley. LinesmenPierre Racicot, Scott Driscoll.

Around the league: The Board of Governors approved the sale of the Blues to a group headed by St. Louis beer distributor Tom Stillman. The sale price was not disclosed; it is believed to be about $130 million, the Associated Press reported. … Ducks center Saku Koivu, 37, re-signed for one year and $3 million. Next season will be his 17th in the league. "It was very clear they want to get a team to make the playoffs," he said. The Ducks missed the playoffs this season.

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