Capitals Vs. Rangers, Game 5: Alex Ovechkin, Caps Clinch Series

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Capitals Vs. Rangers, Game 5: Washington Eliminates New York With Great Neuvirth Performance

The New York Rangers scored eight goals in their five-game series against the Washington Capitals, and only two in three at the Verizon Center. Not the way to win a playoff series. The Capitals, who combined tough defense with timely scoring from their best offensive players, have finished off the New York Rangers in five games, winning Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal 2-0, and winning the series four games to one. Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Green and Alexander Semin tallied for the Capitals, behind a 26 save performance from Michal Neuvirth, his second of the series.

Though Neuvirth blanked the Rangers twice behind some great defense by the Capitals, Ovechkin will likely go down as the MVP of the series. His goal, at 7:04 of the second period, was the third of the series for Ovechkin, while he also registered his third assist on Mike Green's power play goal in the first period, which will go down has the game-winner for Washington, though Green played only a few shifts after. Green sat on the bench for most of the rest of the game after taking a slap-shot to the helmet from Matt Gilroy. 

Semin's goal in the third, at 16:23, was also his third of the series. Despite playing his typical enigmatic offensive role, Semin made his presence felt when given the chance. He capitalized on a terrific pass by Marcus Johansson and ripped it past Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist, though very good for most of the series (with the exception of the third period in Game 5), was overwhelmed by the Capitals attack. He simply didn't have enough talent in front of him to win. 

The Rangers finally got a late goal from Wojtek Wolski, from Bryan McCabe and Sean Avery at 19:28. Avery's line tried to start some fisticuffs afterwards, but it was far too late for the Rangers pest to get into any of the Capitals' heads. 

Neuvirth only gave up eight goals in five games of this series, and - while not perhaps stealing a game as many thought he'd need to - never once made a bad mistake or put his team in a bad position in this series. He was simply rock solid when needed and showed an exceptional glove hand more than a few times against the Rangers. He made a great save on Derek Stepan in close late in the third to really seal the deal for the Caps. If he gets the defensive help he needs (and has gotten) and remains this consistent, the Capitals will not need to worry about goaltending down the road as they go on to Round 2. 

We'll have more in a little bit from the post-game atmosphere around Verizon Center, plus reaction from Bruce Boudreau, John Tortorella, and the Washington locker room. 

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Capitals Vs. Rangers, Game 5: Mike Green Scores, Get Injured In 1-0 First Period

Mike Green scored a goal and then took another dangerous hit to the head in the first period of Game 5 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Green left the ice minutes after scoring the goal that gives the Washington Capitals a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. The Capitals advance to the second round with a victory here at the Verizon Center today. Washington out-shot New York 13-6 in the first. 

Green's goal came on a Capitals power play. Brian McCabe went off for a trip at 5:52. A mad scramble in front of Henrik Lundqvist happened, and the puck arrived on the stick of Alexander Ovechkin. He faked, passed it across to Green, who shot it. It deflected at the side of the net on goal, where Dan Girardi was covering for an out of position Henrik Lundqvist, but could not hold the line. It was Green's first playoff goal and Ovechkin's third assist of the series. A huge scrum occurred afterwards, when Girardi had been poked between the legs in the time after the puck had slid across the line. Afterwards, John Tortorella and the Rangers received a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Green's injury occurred on a Matt Gilroy shot hit him in what looked to be the helmet after Green went down to block a shot. Green skated off on his own power, and to a standing ovation from the crowd. As of now, he has not returned to the game, but has certainly made an impact. 

The chant-off between the Madison Square Garden and Verizon Center continues to be vociferous. Capitals fans twice aligned for a "We are Louder!" chant, in response to the Rangers fans chants of "Can you hear us?!" This, of course, all stems from Bruce Boudreau's knocking of the Garden in general after Game 3, and claiming his fans were louder. To be diplomatic, I'll say that it appears to be a draw to this point. 

Overall, Washington dominated much of the first period. They were more physical, faster, and better on the forecheck than the Rangers. Every time a Rangers defenseman went back into his zone, it seemed a Washington forward was on him at all times. The Rangers will need to find a way to beat out that forecheck and start getting more chances themselves if they want to get back in it. 

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Capitals Vs. Rangers, Game 5: Washington Gets Ready To Try And Finish New York

Warm-ups have just finished for the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals before Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Washington has a 3-1 lead in the series. The building is already three-quarters full and chanty loudly. Signs outside the arena saying "Can you hear us?" have littered the grounds, and the fans in the upper deck are already chanting. A great atmosphere for hockey already.

Here are the lines and pairs from warm-ups. For Washington:

  • Line 1: Alexander Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Brooks Laich
  • Line 2: Marco Sturm-Jason Arnott-Alex Semin
  • Line 3: Jason Chimera-Marcus Johansson-Eric Fehr
  • Line 4: Matt Hendricks-Boyd Gordon-Matt Bradley
  • D Pair 1: Karl Alzner-John Carlson
  • D Pair 2: Jeff Schultz-Mike Green
  • D Pair 3: John Erskine-Scott Hannan
Michal Neuvirth will be in goal.

For the Rangers:

  • Line 1: Ruslan Fedotenko-Brandon Dubinsky-Marian Gaborik
  • Line 2: Sean Avery-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
  • Line 3: Wojtek Wolski-Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan
  • Line 4: Vinny Prospal-Erik Christensen-Chris Drury
  • D Pair 1: Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
  • D Pair 2: Ryan McDonagh-Michael Sauer
  • D Pair 3: Bryan McCabe-Matt Gilroy
Henrik Lundqvist starts in goal for New York.

We'll be here with updates from the Verizon Center all day. You can also follow me on Twitter @stevelepore. See you throughout the day. 

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