For the second straight series, the Washington Capitals are headed to Game 7. After Monday night's brutal overtime loss, the Caps responded in Game 6 on Wednesday night with an impressive 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. Braden Holtby was fantastic for Washington, stopping 30 shots. While Holtby has been the breakout star for the Caps in net this postseason, with his team's back against the wall, this was perhaps his best performance of 2012 NHL Playoffs.
Washington took an early lead, less than two minutes into the game, on Alexander Ovechkin's second power play goal of the series. Coming off the penalty, the Rangers won the draw and Ryan McDonagh tried to clear the puck, but it hit the net as he retreated from the circle. The puck took an odd carom off the board and Mike Green controlled it at the blue line. Green moved the puck over to Nicklas Backstrom at the top of the circle and Ovechkin popped out into the slot to take a perfect feed from Backstrom. Ovie one-timed it home over the glove of Henrik Lundqvist for his third goal of the series. Ovechkin was everywhere in Game 6, blocking shots and putting constant pressure on the Rangers' goaltender.
In the second period, Jason Chimera made it a two-goal game with his fourth goal of the playoffs. Alexander Semin put in the work in the zone, controlling the puck along the boards before it slid over to John Carlson. The Caps' defenseman sent one to the net and it ricocheted off the skate of Nicklas Backstrom right across the front of Lundqvist. Chimera was right there along the back post to quickly poke it in for the 2-0 lead.
Holtby would stand tall over the final 20 minutes to keep the Rangers from getting on the board until the final minute. With Lundqvist out of the net, New York would finally break through with 50 seconds remaining. Marian Gaborik threw one to the front of the crease from the left side and with a scramble in front, the high puck went off the back of Carlson and into the back of the net to cut the lead in half.
But Washington would clean up the final 50 seconds and make the 2-1 lead hold up, forcing another decisive matchup this weekend. While New York outshot the Caps 31-23, it could have been worse but Holtby really stuffed every shot and gave up almost no major rebounds, limiting the Rangers' chances around the paint. Game 7 is set for Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden.
Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates throughout the Capitals and Rangers Eastern Conference semifinal series. For more news and analysis on the Caps, visit Japers’ Rink. For news and info from a Rangers perspective during the series, visit Blueshirt Banter. And for all your news on the Playoffs, check out SB Nation’s . hub