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NHL Playoffs 2011, Capitals Vs. Rangers: Caps And Rangers Scoreless After Physical First Period

Despite both teams going into the locker room with the game still scoreless, that doesn't mean the first period wasn't action packed.

The period started out fast, as the Rangers were the team who were clearly playing with more desperation. New York's defenseman came out very physical and pounded the Caps early. After the Caps responded with some early scoring chances, the Rangers came charging back again. But as he has been so far this series, Michal Neuvirth came up big on a great scoring chance by Matt Gilroy.

The Rangers then continue to pick up the pace. After Brooks Laich had his scoring chance blocked, the Rangers began making another push.Neuvirth found himself fending off shot after shot as New York was living in the Caps offensive zone in the middle of the period. Despite that, the Rangers were not able to break through.

New York continued it's physical play through the middle of the period. It almost seemed like they were just as willing to hurt themselves as they were willing to take out a Caps player. Brandon Prust's hit on Mike Green was a great example, as he simply thrust his entire body into Green, probably hurting himself in the process.

The Caps weathered the storm in the first 15 minutes of the period, and were given a break when as Boyd Gordon drew a holding call on Gilroy, giving the Caps the first power play chance of the game. But unfortunately, they were unable to take advantage, as Henrik Lundquist got save after save, despite a good series of shots by Washington.

But as quickly as the Caps sent out their power play unit, their penalty kill squad was needed just as quickly, big time. First, Matt Hendricks was called for interference, and then Mike Knuble was called for delay of game, giving the Rangers the two man advantage. But in a thrilling sequence, the Caps were able to kill off both penalties, as Neuvirth fended off everything the Rangers threw at him.

During that sequence, Erik Christensen was called for goalee interference, with the Caps going into the second period on a power play chance.

This was a period that the Caps were able to take the Rangers best shot early, and now will have their chance to counter punch in the second.