Caps And Rangers Setting Up for Game 2Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
As the Caps and Rangers get set to do battle in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series, Washington will seek to keep on keeping on, for the most part. On the other hand, the Rangers will need to come up with a way to generate more scoring chances and more offense. Much was made of the Rangers’ regular season dominance over the Capitals. New York outscored Washington 17-6, but the Rangers never eclipsed the 30-shot plateau in any of those games. The Caps suffered 7-0 and 6-0 losses at the hands of the Rangers in December and February, respectively, but the first of those two beatings came in the second of back-to-back games (with the first of the back-to-back games on home ice) and the second came when the Caps were playing their first game back home after their longest road trip of the season (five games, 11 days). Both of those situations have lent themselves to less-than-stellar play over the years. Going back to the start of the 2008-09 season and including the seven-game series played between the Caps and Rangers in the spring of 2009, New York has had more than 30 shots on goal only four times in its last 20 games against the Caps, and has done so twice in the eight playoff games in that group. The Rangers had sniper Marian Gaborik on a line with Artem Anisimov and Vinny Prospal, who is facing the Caps in the playoffs for the fourth time with four different teams, by the way. That line generated 10 of New York’s 25 shots on goal in Game 1 and 20 of New York’s total of 65 attempted shots. But Rangers coach John Tortorella has elected to move Prospal and Gaborik to the flanks of a line with Erik Christensen for tonight’s Game 2. Anisimov will be dropped down to the fourth line with Chris Drury and Sean Avery while the second and third units will remain the same. The Rangers will insert the pesty Avery into their lineup tonight, relegating Mats Zuccarello to a healthy scratch in the process. A healthy scratch in six of New York’s final 13 regular season games, Avery had two assists, 24 PIM and was a minus-3 in the 2009 ECQS between the Caps and the Rangers. Washington will look to keep the Rangers out of the middle and to deny scoring chances and especially second chances. The Caps were very good in all those areas in Game 1. The Rangers will be hungrier for Game 2, and they're likely to have a more fervent physical tone to their game tonight, too. Especially with Avery back in the mix.
Baseball's Reggie Jackson was known as "Mr. October" for his tendency to produce in clutch situations, namely in the postseason. Since arriving in a deal with the Devils some six weeks ago, Caps center Jason Arnott has exhibited some similar clutch tendencies. Prior to the Feb. 28 trade that sent