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.