One of the most equal series so far in the 2012 postseason, will go back to New York as the Rangers will host the Washington Capitals in game five of the Eastern conference semifinal, this Monday at 7:30 PM ET at Madison Square Garden.
The Capitals won game four with a 3-2 result in overtime, but more important, they know how to play a long series as they drove the Bruins to a seven game series; and won just a few weeks ago. “People have been talking about (how) we need to step up,” said Nicklas Backstrom, who missed 40 games in the regular season with a concussion. “If you work hard, good things happen to you somebody told me.”
“If we lost this one, we’d be down 3-1, going back there (to New York). So the guys knew what was at stake,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said, “and they came out with a big first (period), a big push. We generated a lot of offense.”
The Rangers defense hasn’t been as good as in the regular season where they were the third best in goals against. On the contrary, the Capitals have changed their defensive status as the series goes along.
“We’re a grinding team now. Our identity has kind of flipped. We try not to give up much defensively, keep pucks out of the middle and along the boards, and we’ve been successful with that,” forward Brooks Laich said. “Talking to friends and family, they’re sitting at home, biting their nails and pulling their hair out. They’re just dying for a 4-0 or 5-0 win. But I keep telling them those days are gone a little bit.”
However, despite Washington won one in New York already, I would take the Rangers at home on a Monday night; game five is too big to blow it at home.