Rangers look to close out series with Capitals

Posted: May 09, 2012

If they want to avoid elimination, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals must figure out a way to recover and regroup from a potentially devastating loss to the New York Rangers.

The Rangers head into Wednesday's Game 6 with a three-games-to-two series lead, one victory from reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1997, when Wayne Gretzky was on the team.

New York's Brad Richards tied Game 5 with 6.6 seconds left Monday, and Marc Staal won it 1 minute, 35 seconds into overtime. Two-time NHL MVP Ovechkin had zero shots on goal for only the second time in 49 career NHL playoff games.

The Capitals hope to bounce back one more time. They're 3-0 in games following overtime losses this postseason.

Said Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom: "You've just got to forget about it."

"We want to close it out and get this over with. It's a lot easier said than done," the Rangers' Richards said. "We want to be as desperate as they are."

As much as there might be for the Capitals to lament about how things went awry - Washington lost the game's last seven faceoffs; Joel Ward's double-minor penalty gave the Rangers power plays at the end of regulation and the start of overtime - they want to do whatever it takes to forget all of it.

"Everyone's realizing that: Let's just get it out of our heads now. Let's just focus on what we need to focus on," defenseman John Carlson said.

Game 6 is Wednesday night in Washington.

Coyotes, Kings in West

The Phoenix Coyotes never seem to have it easy, be it playing without an owner for three straight seasons or giving up late goals in the playoffs.

They're a resilient bunch, though, which makes the reward of getting to the Western Conference finals for the first time that much sweeter.

Capping one of the most monumental days in franchise history, Phoenix beat the Nashville Predators, 2-1, Monday night to earn a trip to the conference finals for the time in 33 years as an NHL team, just hours after learning a new owner was in place.

Next up for the Coyotes will be the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings, a division rival that no one expected to get this far.

The Kings produced a stunning nine-game evisceration of Vancouver and St. Louis, the West's top two teams. Buzz is building all around town for the Kings, who are halfway to hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.

Los Angeles has advanced this far in the postseason only once before in 44 seasons since the club joined the NHL in the Second Six expansion in 1967. Wayne Gretzky's best team reached the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals before losing to Montreal, and the Kings had won just one playoff series since.

- Associated Press

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