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article imageOvietime joy elusive for frustrated Washington Capitals

By Mark J. Allan     May 14, 2015 in Sports
After a 2-1 overtime victory Wednesday by the New York Rangers, they and the Washington Capitals are going in opposite directions in terms of playoff results.
By eliminating the Washington Capitals with a 2-1 win Wednesday, the NHL league champion New York Rangers demonstrated their mastery of one-goal overtime triumphs.
In winning the seventh and deciding game of their NHL quarter-final series, the Rangers extended their league playoff record of being in one-goal games to 14.
New York earned its fourth overtime win in as many tries this year, all by 2-1 scores.
When Derek Stepan potted a rebound past Washington goalie Braden Holtby at 11:24 of extra time, New York demonstrated its mastery of several post-season feats.
By overcoming a 3-1 series deficit, the Rangers duplicated that achievement from a year ago when they thwarted the Pittsburgh Penguins. No other team has managed that in consecutive NHL seasons.
The Rangers and Capitals are at polar extremes in Game Sevens. New York has won six straight, including the past three against Washington.
The Capitals’ playoff futility deepened, as did a growing reputation for lacking a killer instinct.
Alex Ovechkin, who led the league with 53 regular-season goals, opened scoring in the first period to support his guarantee of a victory.
Washington, however, has now lost five straight Game Sevens after leading those series 3-1. The Capitals failed to score on the power play in the last five games of the series.
Kevin Hayes tied the score in the second period.
Goaltending was the reason scores in the series were so close.
Henrik Lundqvist, particularly strong early in overtime, finishing with 35 saves overall. Counterpart Braden Holtby, tough to beat all series, totaled 37 stops, including a wide-open breakaway by 42-goal man Rick Nash.
Halfway through the NHL’s marathon playoffs, Holtby sits second in save percentage at .944 just ahead of Lundqvist at .940. Lundqvist is second in goals-against average at 1.68, barely better than third-place Holtby’s 1.71.
The Rangers, who had the league’s best regular-season record, will defend their Eastern conference title against face Tampa Bay. The series begins Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
The Lightning, who lost two straight games to the Canadiens after opening their quarter-final series with three victories, prevailed 4-1 Tuesday.
Unlike the two emotional Montreal victories, Tampa Bay had little trouble in Game Six. The listless Canadiens managed few quality scoring chances, hit goal posts when they did and seemed to be out of fuel.
In the West, the Chicago Black Hawks open Sunday in Anaheim against the Ducks, who topped the conference in the regular season.
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