News, notes and quotes as the Caps prepare for tonight’s crucial Game 6 against the New York Rangers holding a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN):
Answering the call: The Caps are 5-1 in the Phone Booth during the post-season, including five straight wins on home ice. They have outscored opponents 15-10 at home during the playoffs and are a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.
Goaltender Braden Holtby is 4-1 with one shutout, a 1.20 GAA and a .950 save percentage at home this postseason and is 7-2 with two shutouts, a 1.27 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage in his playoff career at Verizon Center against the Rangers.
Jay Beagle has five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in six games at home during the 2015 playoffs and Evgeny Kuznetsov (3 goals, 1 assist) and Jason Chimera (2 goals, 2 assists) have each earned four points in six home games.
Chances are …: Every one of the Rangers’ 10 playoff games has been decided by one goal. Nine of the Caps’ 1`2 playoff games have been decided by one goal. “There’s not much separating the two teams,” The Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s going to be execution or lack of execution that’s going to end up in the back of your net.”
Holtbeast: In his 11 playoff games this spring Holtby has registered one shutout, a 1.51 GAA and a .951 save percentage ranking first in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage (minimum 5 games]. As of now, Holtby’s .951 save percentage is the highest single-postseason save percentage in NHL history (minimum 10 games) and his 1.51 goal-against average ranks fourth in NHL playoff history.
Game 6 heroics: Alex Ovechkin has 5 goals and 4 assists in eight career Game 6s, while Nicklas Backstrom has 1 goal and 6 assists in eight career Game 6s. Bouncing back: The Capitals have yet to suffer consecutive losses during the playoffs and have gone 25 games [March 11-13] since losing back-to-back games.
On the kill: The Capitals have killed 24 of 25 penalties in the post-season, ranking first in the NHL in penalty kill percentage. The Caps have killed 10 of 11 penalties against the Rangers.
Different heroes: The Capitals have had a different player score the game-winning goal in each of their seven wins this postseason (Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky). “I don’t think either side really cares where it comes from at this time of the season,” said Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik, who is looking for his first goal of the season.
Needing more: Trotz said he’s like to see the Caps’ top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Ward get back on the score sheet. They haven’t since Game 2. He said he’d also like to see the second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera pick up the pace. “They’ll need to get going again,” Trotz said.
Tough out: Orpik saw the Rangers storm back from a 3-1 series deficit against his Penguns last season and know they will be difficult to eliminate.
“We know who we’re up against,” he said. “They had the best record in league I don’t think anybody anticipated it being easy.”
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