May 12, 2013 by Sal Ientile of The Hockey Daily.
At 4:30 ET the Washington Capitals hope to finish of their arch nemesis’ the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. The Caps hold a 3-2 edge in the series. One year ago the Caps led the Bruins 3-2 in the 1st round but were unable to finish them off in Game 6. The Caps however did win Game 7 on an OT goal by Joel Ward.
The Rangers find themselves in the exact same situation as one year ago. The Ottawa Senators held a 3-2 series lead on New York in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs 1st round. The Blueshirts came back to win Game 6 and 7. The remaining members of the team can use that experience for the confidence they’ll need to win today and tomorrow night in Washington if they hope to advance to the 2nd round two years straight.
The Caps and Rangers both managed to survive the 1st round a year ago, something one of them will not do this time around. Upon advancing in last year’s Cup tournament the two rivals faced off against one another in the 2nd round. After five games, the Rangers had a 3-2 lead on the Caps. That lead was equalized by the Caps in Game 6. The Rangers won Game 7 at home.
The Washington Capitals have advanced beyond the 1st round in 3 of their last 4 playoffs. They have not played a game in the 3rd round in that timeframe.
The New York Rangers made the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in 6 games.
Since 2009 the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers have met in the playoffs four times including the series currently underway. The Caps won the first two – Caps in 7 (2009), Caps in 5 (2011). Rangers won the most recent meeting in 7 (2012).
Game 6’s between these two recent Eastern Conference regular season champs have been highly dramatic.
In 2009, the Caps down 3-2 in the series came out strong in Game 6 to defeat the Rangers 5-3. Washington carried a 5-1 lead into the 3rd period after an explosive first half of the game. The Rangers fought hard to chip away at the massive lead and potted two 3rd period goals to make the final score a respectable 5-3 win for Washington. Caps went on to win game 7 by a score of 2-1 on a late 3rd period goal by former Hart Trophy winner Sergei Fedorov.
In 2012, the Caps once again entered Game 6 against the Rangers down 3-2 in the series. On this night the Capitals came up with a winning effort on goals from Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera. The final score was 2-1 Capitals.
If you like to follow trends you could argue in the case of both teams tonight. If you are a Caps fan you can feel confident knowing that Washington was victorious in the last two Game 6’s between these two organizations.
If the Rangers are your team, you can feel comfortable knowing that the club trailing in the series has won Game 6 on both of the last two occasions these teams have gone this late into a series against each other. Plus, this one kind of had that destined for game 7 feel before it even started.