In a push to stay in the playoffs, the Rangers took Game 6 with a 1-0 win over the Capitals to send the series to a Game 7.
Washington expected the Rangers to come in hard to win Game 6 at home.
“I would think the guys are a little more relaxed,” Washington coach Adam Oates said before the game. “[There’s] a little more pressure on them, but obviously it’s their building so that kind of neutralizes that a little bit. They’re going to still feed off the crowd. We’re going to talk about a good start and winning this hockey game.
“Obviously we expect them to try and come hard, which obviously we don’t know what the means. In their minds, they’re just going to try and play really hard and if we’re in control, maybe they’ll give us the odd-man situation, maybe not. We just got to handle all the decisions you got to make early to get into the game and when the crowd quiets down a little bit after five minutes. We can’t give them any more ammo.”
Unfortunately for the Capitals, the Rangers stayed out of the penalty box, so they never got that odd-man situation. Washington, on the other hand, took five penalties during regulation. The Rangers were never able to capitalize on the man advantage, not even on a 5-on-3.
The lone goal of the game came from Derick Brassard at 9:39 in the second period during even strength. The goal was originally credited to Rick Nash, but was later corrected to reflect that Brassard had indeed scored the goal with a deflection off of Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy.
“I thought it touched Nash,” Brassard said. “But it touched the defenseman. I thought he scored. The bottom line is we just won.”
The success in a 1-0 win always comes with thoughts on how they could have played better and generated more opportunities.
“I don’t think I used the full bench enough,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the win. “For us to sustain our forecheck and to sustain some territory, we needed bodies. I thought all people contributed.
“I know if I’m a player, I want to play right away. They don’t want to listen to coaches this time of year. They don’t want to look at video. They want to play the games to find out where they’re at. I think for both teams, that’s what they want.
“The regular season crap means nothing. You make your legacy as a player in these types of situations. A number of our guys last year had a blast playing these [playoff] games. Some guys handle it, some guys don’t. But this is what you play for…to get yourself in these types of situations and see what type of character you have as a player individually and as a team.”
Both teams head to Washington for Game 7 on Monday. The game begins at 8:00 p.m.
“It’s been a challenge,” Brian Boyle said after the game. “We have to do some of the things that made us successful tonight.
“You can carry the momentum as far as till you wake up the next morning. Then you’ve got to start fresh again, hit the reset button and try to prepare yourself.”
“Game 7s are unique than anything else,” Tortorella said. “I think when you get to Game Sevens, I think with our group here, going through so many last year, I think it’s going to help us and hopefully it will lead into the other guys that haven’t been involved.”
The Boogaard Saga Continues
During Game 6, The New York Times released their latest report in their coverage of Derek Boogaard’s life and death. The Boogaard family filed a lawsuit late Friday afternoon against the NHL contending that the NHL is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage that Boogaard sustained and for the addiction to the prescription painkillers that were given to him by team physicians, dentist, trainers and staff over the course of the last couple of years of his career.
Boogaard died of an overdose of prescription painkillers mixed with alcohol on May 13, 2011. After his death, doctors discovered that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), a brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the head. A side effect of C.T.E. is drug and alcohol addiction.