Alex Ovechkin makes his guarantee, says the Capitals will win Game 7

Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

In New York Rangers lore, “The Guarantee” brings forth memories of Mark Messier calling his shot before Game 6 of the 1993-94 Eastern Conference final against the New Jersey Devils and putting the team on his back with a natural hat trick in the third period en route to a 4-2 win. If it’s up to Alex Ovechkin, the Rangers will be on the other side of a guarantee come Wednesday.

With Sunday’s 4-3 loss to New York still fresh in his mind, Ovechkin met with media following Game 6 and delivered his version of the Messier Guarantee.

“We’re going to come back and win the series,” Ovechkin told CSN’s Chuck Gormley post-game, before adding that Washington will move on to play whoever wins the second-round series between Montreal and Tampa Bay.  Read more

Rangers stake out early lead, hang on for dear life to beat Caps, force Game 7

Rangers winger Chris Kreider scores one of two goals Sunday against Washington in Game 6 of New York's second-round series against the Capitals.  (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have made a habit of winning games by a 2-1 score in the 2015 NHL playoffs. Five of their seven post-season wins heading into Sunday night’s second-round showdown with Washington came by that score, with a similar pattern repeating: the Blueshirts eke out just enough offense to win, then turn to superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist with a look that says, “over to you, big guy.” So when the Rangers – who were on the road and facing elimination for a second consecutive game – finished the first period up 2-0 on a pair of fantastic goals from Chris Krieder, they looked as if they were turning a corner and making themselves into a nightmare Game 7 opponent for the Caps.

But they had to play the other two periods. Or, at least, some of them did. Mostly, it was back to the “over to you, big guy” routine with Lundqvist. And although the Blueshirts hung on to defeat the Capitals 4-3 Sunday, and tie the series at three games apiece, their lack of consistency and reliance on their goalie is troubling. Read more

Blueshirts’ Lundqvist on his game with brilliant stop on Caps’ Brouwer

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stops a shot by Washington's Troy Brouwer Sunday in Game 6 of New York's second-round series with the Capitals. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

While teammate Chris Kreider was scoring goals early and late in the opening period of Sunday’s Game 6 against Washington, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was holding up his end of the battle, making a number of tremendous saves – including one on Capitals winger Troy Brouwer that looked like a sure goal.

The Blueshirts were up 1-0 late in the first period at Verizon Center when Washington moved into New York’s zone with the puck; Caps winger Jason Chimera took the first shot on Lundqvist, but it was his incredible stop on Brouwer on the rebound that had jaws dropping: Read more

Kreider gets Rangers on scoresheet seconds into Game 6 with unreal individual effort

Washington's Karl Alzner and Rangers winger Chris Kreider battle for the puck. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Facing elimination for the second straight game – in large part because they scored just seven goals in their first five games against the Washington Capitals and star goalie Braden Holtby – the New York Rangers needed to come out with a strong start Sunday in Game 6 of their second-round series. And that’s just what they did, courtesy of left winger Chris Kreider, who used his speed and strength to score an incredible goal just 40 seconds into the first period.

The 24-year-old Kreider picked up a loose puck at center ice and took off like a rocket, with only Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen near the vicinity of himself and Washington’s net. Kreider used his 6-foot-3 frame to get inside position, then went to his backhand and flipped it up and past Holtby to make it 1-0 for the visiting team: Read more

Why Barry Trotz deserves at least a Stanley Cup final appearance

Jared Clinton
Barry Trotz (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

It seems amiss to say someone in the world of sports deserves anything. After all, if it were all about who deserves it the most, would we even play the games? But the thing is, after a while, there are players, coaches and general mangers who we root for and think, “Well, it sure would be nice to see them win something.”

Picture Ray Bourque. Or Lanny McDonald. Or even Marian Hossa. They were all players who, year after year, were denied the sports’ top prize. Bourque won his Stanley Cup in the final year of his career. The same goes for McDonald. And it took Hossa three straight Cup finals with three different teams to finally get handed the trophy.

Now picture Barry Trotz, the coach who did something with nothing more often than arguably any other coach in the history of the league, yet the one who has nothing save a World Championship gold medal to his name. There’s a man who deserves at least the chance to have his team play for a Stanley Cup. Read more

Rangers stay alive with thrilling OT win. Should the Capitals worry?

(Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Dominant goalie Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals were a couple minutes away from smothering the New York Rangers to death at Madison Square Garden Friday night. As time ticked down with the Caps up 1-0 in the third period, the Rangers had beaten Holtby once in a stretch of almost nine periods. They controlled the play and outshot their opponent but simply couldn’t solve the masked man.

Then, with 81 seconds left in a Rangers season with sky-high expectations, Chris Kreider to the rescue:

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How on Earth does Martin St-Louis not score here? Braden Holtby, that’s how

St-Louis stopped

The Rangers came out in Game 5 showing exactly the desperation they needed to, facing elimination against the Washington Capitals.

The problem, though, is that no matter how many chances they generated, Braden Holtby literally stood in the way. The Caps goalie continues to play the best hockey of his career and is the No. 1 reason for the Broadway Blueshirts’ offensive struggles. After the first frame of Game 5, the Rangers had one goal in their past seven periods against Holtby.

But what can they do when he’s making saves like this one on Martin St-Louis? Marty gives new meaning to “point blank range,” and Holby shows lightning-fast reflexes to whip his left leg across:

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Braden Holtby’s penalty shot glove stop was yet another big save from Capitals netminder

Braden Holtby (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

It may come as a surprise to some, but the best statistically performing goaltender remaining in the post-season isn’t Carey Price and it’s not Henrik Lundqvist. Heck, it’s not even Ben Bishop, who posted a Game 7 shutout against Detroit and has turned aside almost every offering from the Montreal Canadiens in the second round. No, it’s Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

Following Thursday’s games, Holtby had posted a 1.48 goals-against average, .950 save percentage, a shutout and, as if something was missing from his list of post-season achievements, he added one incredible glove stop on New York Rangers winger Carl Hagelin. Not to mention it was a penalty shot: Read more