Rangers beat at own game
The New York Rangers' defence-first style can be duplicated. The Washington Capitals, led by goalie Braden Holtby proved that Monday with a 1-0 victory at the Verizon Center to gain a 2-1 edge in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Holtby registered 30 saves for his second career playoff shutout. The first was two years ago, also 1-0, also against the Rangers.
All three games of the second-round series have been decided by one goal, a pattern well-established by the Rangers who now have an NHL record 10 consecutive one-goal playoff games. Holtby was far busier than his Rangers' counterpart Henrik Lundqvist in the opening period as the Capitals went several minutes before getting their first shot on goal. The Rangers outshot the Caps 11-7 in a scoreless opening period.
It was after Jay Beagle had opened the scoring for the Capitals in the second frame that Holtby stoned Martin St. Louis's breakaway attempt as the diminutive forward blocked a shot and sped it alone.
Holtby also had plenty of help from his teammates who blocked 27 shots in front of him. As the Rangers pressed in the final minute, Holtby came up big, snaring a loose puck off a deflection by the Rangers' Rick Nash.
Lundqvist's milestone appearance
The 100th playoff game of Henrik Lundqvist's career was another fine display of goaltending but the Swedish star's immediate memories will not be happy ones. He stopped 21 shots from the Capitals and was able to deny Alex Ovechkin from scoring in a third straight game. Midway through the first period, Lundqvist was quick to deny an Ovechkin bid.
Later, Ovechkin wired a shot with plenty on it, but King Henrik was once again equal to the task.
While he shut down the Capitals' most lethal scorers, Lundqvist was unable to handle the one goal of the game, the Beagle Bounce.
Game 4 of the series is Wednesday in Washington (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).
Tuesday evening a pair of teams look to home ice to try to climb back into their respective series. The Calgary Flames were outscored 9-1 in Anaheim and need to find the form they displayed in Round 1 against the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames won all three games at the Saddledome as they knocked out their Pacific rivals in six games.
The Flames managed to limit the damage somewhat in Game 2 Sunday in Anaheim, but had little sustained pressure against Frederik Andersen, who registered his first career shutout for the Ducks.
The Minnesota Wild are in much the same situation (0-2) as they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 Tuesday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET). The Wild were briefly deadlocked with the Blackhawks in the opener, rebounding from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the second period, only to fall 4-3. On Sunday, the Wild threatened against the Blackhawks' Corey Crawford, but never recovered from surrendering two goals in the first period, dropping a 4-1 decision.
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