Key to beating Rangers lies in hands of Ovechkin

Key to beating Rangers lies in hands of Ovechkin
May 3, 2013, 2:15 pm
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News and notes from the Capitals’ practice on Friday morning at Kettler:

Ovi scores, Caps win: Including last year’s second-round playoff series, when Alex Ovechkin scores a goal against the Rangers, the Caps are 5-0. When he doesn’t they are 0-6. That’s pretty direct.

By the numbers: Since 2006 NHL teams that have won Game 1 of a playoff series are 38-18 in those series. The Caps have been not so fortunate. They have taken a Game 1 lead 21 times in their playoff history and have won just seven of those series.

No lineup changes: Aside from injured left wing Brooks Laich, who skated on Thursday and was seen roaming around Kettler without a limp on Friday, the Caps had full attendance at Friday’s practice, with the forward lines and defense pairings identical to the ones used for Game 1.

Billiards, anyone?: Mike Green said his power-play shot that sailed wide left of the net and caromed off the boards and onto the stick of Alex Ovechkin for a power-play goal was not intended to miss the net.

Oleksy’s face: Defenseman Steve Oleksy’s chin was badly bruised but only slightly swollen Friday after he blocked a shot by Rangers forward Derick Brassard. Asked after Thursday night’s win if his modeling career was in jeopardy, Oleksy quipped, “That was gone a long time ago, my friend. The way I cut and bruise I waved bye-bye to that. I don’t think I ever had a future.”

Ward OK: Joel Ward said it took him a while to get going but came out of his first game in three weeks just fine. “It was just trying to connect my hands to my feet to my head,” said Ward, who logged 8:06 of ice time including 67 seconds on the penalty kill. “Muscle memory is what I missed the most.”

Rangers update: Ryane Clowe, who missed the final game of the regular season and Game 1 with an apparent leg injury, skated with the Rangers on Friday art Verizon Center and told reporters he is "not going to rule out" playing in Game 2 on Saturday. Said Rangers coach John Tortorella, “If I think a player’s going to help us, he’s going to play.”

More on the Rangers: RW Ryan Callahan extended his scoring streak to eight games with an assist on Thursday night. He has five goals and seven assists in that span. RW Rick Nash led all skaters with 16 shot attempts. Eight hit the net, five were blocked and three missed the mark. The Rangers generated 79 attempts at the net, compared to 53 for the Caps. The Capitals blocked 25 shots, led by defensemen John Carlson’ [six] and John Erskine [five]. The Rangers blocked 15 shots, led by defenseman Dan Girardi’s four.

Hit patrol: The Rangers outhit the Capitals 41-32 and were led by an unlikely source, former Caps defenseman Steve Eminger with seven, followed by Mats Zuccarello’s six. Troy Brouwer paced the Capitals with seven hits, followed by Ovechkin’s five.

Minute munchers: Rangers D Dan Girardi played a game-high 29 minutes. Mike Green played a team-high 26:38.