NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 30th
(All times Eastern)
(7) Washington Capitals (0-1) at (1) New York Rangers (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to extend their lead in the
best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals, as the top-seeded club hosts the
Washington Capitals in tonight's Game 2 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers grabbed the early lead in this series on Saturday, beating the
visiting Capitals by a 3-1 score. Rookie Chris Kreider scored the deciding
goal and added an assist in the third period to help New York take a 1-0 lead
in this matchup.
The 20-year-old Kreider won an NCAA Frozen Four championship with Boston
College on April 7 and is now aiding the Rangers in their quest for the
franchise's first Stanley Cup since 1994. The speedy forward has two goals and
an assist in his last three games after being held off the scoresheet in his
first three NHL tests.
"To be honest it is surprising," Rangers forward Brad Richards said of
Kreider's contributions so far. "This is a pretty high level he jumps into,
but it shows his learning curve and his hockey IQ. He shows something every
night. Let him keep going, doing that every night, making big plays and doing
what he's doing."
Richards and Artem Anisimov also scored in Game 1, while Henrik Lundqvist made
17 saves for the Rangers, who came back from a 3-2 series deficit to topple
the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators in the opening round.
"I think we played really well," said Lundqvist. "Coming from that Game 7,
such an emotional and big win, it was important for us to regroup and start
The Rangers played without forwards Brian Boyle (concussion) and Brandon
Dubinsky (lower body) in Game 1 and both players are questionable for tonight.
Boyle has been out since suffering a concussion in Game 5 against the
Senators. Dubinsky was injured in Game 7 of the first-round series.
Braden Holtby allowed all three goals on 14 shots on Saturday for seventh-
seeded Washington, which also pulled out a seven-game series win over the
defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in Round 1. Holtby, a 22-year-old
rookie, was coming off a terrific Game 7 performance against the Bruins in
Round 1. He stopped 31-of-32 shots in the decisive contest of the surprising
Jason Chimera scored the lone goal for Washington in Game 1, while superstar
winger Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet and logged just one shot on
goal. Alexander Semin led the Capitals, who went 0-for-4 on the power play,
with three shots on net.
"We had our chances and we didn't bury them. We hit a few posts, their goalie
was good and we lost the game," Capitals head coach Dale Hunter said.
The Capitals are in the second round for the third time in four seasons, but
Washington hasn't made it to the conference finals since 1998, when it made
the franchise's only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
New York, which won the Atlantic Division title this season, is the top seed
in the East for the first time since it won its last Stanley Cup title in
1994. The Rangers are aiming for their first conference finals appearance
This marks the seventh playoff series between the Rangers and Capitals and
Washington has taken four of those six matchups. The Capitals beat New York in
the conference quarterfinals in both 2009 and 2011, winning last year's series
in just five games. The last time the Rangers defeated Washington was in the
1994 conference semifinals.
This series will shift to Washington for Games 3 and 4 and the Capitals will
host the next meeting Wednesday night in D.C.
04/30 10:39:50 ET
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