The Washington Times - May 12, 2013, 02:05PM

NEW YORK | The Washington Capitals’ season cannot end Sunday at Madison Square Garden. But having the chance to eliminate the New York Rangers in Game 6 presents a unique challenge.

“You’re playing an extremely desperate team,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “When they can’t eliminate you, they know that they might be packing their locker room up in a few days here. No player wants to do that; nobody wants to go home, and we have to have the same urgency that they have because they’re going to come out and they’re going to be very, very desperate.”

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But Caps players cannot approach things differently because of that.

“We got to look at it if we lose, then we’re fighting for our season,” defenseman John Carlson said. “We’ve got to treat this like an elimination game.”

The last time a Washington team closed out a series on the road not in a Game 7 was 1998 against the Boston Bruins. The Caps lost at the Montreal Canadiens in a similar Game 6 situation in 2010.

Coach Adam Oates hopes not being on the brink of elimination helps his players.

“I would think that the guys would be more relaxed than them, a little more pressure on them, but obviously it’s their building so that kind of neutralizes it a little bit,” Oates said. “They’re going to feel good in front of their own crowd, so what we’re going to talk about is a good start. We need a good start to get into the game.”

Oates said poor starts were the difference between home wins in Games 1 and 2 and road losses in Games 3 and 4. At Madison Square Garden it’s about withstanding the Rangers’ initial push, but that’s not enough.

“We don’t want to sit back,” Brouwer said. “We don’t want to try and sit back on our heels and have them come at us and hopefully we’re able to handle their waves that they bring. We’d rather push the pace ourselves, move the puck forward, get in their zone and just take the air out of the building as much as possible right away.”