Another game. Another thriller. Another triumph for the home team. The New York Rangers pushed the Washington Capitals to a Game 7 because Henrik Lundqvist turned in his finest game. And if Lundqvist was otherworldly, Braden Holtby, the Capitals’ net-minder, was not far behind.
Though the Rangers face the Capitals back in D.C. on Monday night in an arena where they haven’t won throughout this series, the team has a great opportunity to notch the upset. Why? Because the Rangers are playing their best, most disciplined hockey. New York was able to stay out of the penalty box Sunday afternoon, negating the Capitals’ greatest weapon (arguably), the power play.
Throughout this series, the Capitals have only been able to convert three out of 14 power play chances or 21 percent. And just like last year, when the Rangers and Capitals collided for a seven-game series in the conference semifinals, New York was able to frustrate Alex Ovechkin again, who was stoned Sunday afternoon despite getting off some quality shots.
Unfortunately, the same could be said for the Rangers most talented offensive player Rick Nash, who again was held without a point this game. He was originally awarded the game’s lone goal, but it was subtracted when officials properly credited Derick Brassard with the score in the second period.
If the Rangers have any hope of advancing to the second round, it must lean on Lundqvist again to be superhuman. And if the last few minutes of Game 6 were any indication, Monday night’s game should be in play for the visiting team. It was a shooting gallery as pucks were flying at the Rangers net-minder in the game’s waning moments.
Forwards Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle were huge as both came up with shot blocks that preserved the victory. Lundqvist notched 27 saves and came away with his seventh career playoff shutout.
If only Nash can be the guy the Rangers had hoped he’d be when they signed him last summer: a goal-scoring, difference maker. So far, he has zero goals and an assist, tied for fifth on his own team this postseason.
His disappearing act has inspired a few Internet memes. One of them reads, “Va-Nash-Ed.”
On Monday night, the Rangers’ regular season goals leader has to reappear if his team hopes to advance. “The King” needs his court.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+