There will be no first-round series collapse this season for the Washington Capitals. The Capitals erased some of the demons from their previous playoff failures, defeating the New York Rangers, 3-1, to win their 2011 NHL Playoffs first-round series in five games. Mike Green scored in the first period off a rebound, Alex Ovechkin added a beautiful backhand goal in the second period and Alexander Semin put home a pass from Marcus Johansson on a breakaway in the final minutes to provide the winning margin. Wojtek Wolski scored in the final minute for the Rangers' goal.
Ovechkin in particular was fantastic the entire game, getting a goal and an assist to lead the charge. Brooks Laich, promoted to the top line with the injury to Mike Knuble, added two assists. Michal Neuvirth was fantastic once again, saving 26 of 27 shots. Henrik Lundqvist was also great for the Rangers, holding the Capitals to three goals on 27 shots.
The Capitals will now move on to face either the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens or Buffalo Sabres. It will be the No. 7 seeded Sabres if they are able to win their series against the Philadelphia Flyers, which is currently tied at 2. The No. 6 seeded Canadiens are tied at 2 against the Boston Bruins, with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday night. The No. 5 seeded Tampa Bay Lightning cut Pittsburgh's lead to 3-2 earlier Saturday.