- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No. 7 NEW YORK RANGERS at No. 2 WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Capitals lines

FORWARDS

First line

Alex Ovechkin

Sergei Fedorov

Viktor Kozlov

Second line

Tomas Fleischmann

Nicklas Backstrom

Alexander Semin

Third line

Brooks Laich

David Steckel

Matt Bradley

Fourth line

Chris Clark

Boyd Gordon

Eric Fehr

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Shaone Morrisonn

Mike Green

Second pair

Tom Poti

Milan Jurcina

Third pair

John Erskine

Brian Pothier

GOALIES

Simeon Varlamov

Jose Theodore

Extras: Michael Nylander, Jeff Schultz

SPOTLIGHT ON:

Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin

This might be an obvious selection, but hey, it is Game 7. He’s the best player in the world, so the glare of the spotlight is always on, but these are the types of games in which performances build legacies for better or worse. Ovechkin has been great at times in this series and has shown the ability to adjust. If he is at his best, the Rangers’ defense corps cannot handle him.

Rangers lines

FORWARDS

First line

Sean Avery

Scott Gomez

Nik Antropov

Second line

Lauri Korpikoski

Brandon Dubinsky

Ryan Callahan

Third line

Markus Naslund

Chris Drury

Nikolai Zherdev

Fourth line

Fredrik Sjostrom

Artem Anisimov

Colton Orr/Aaron Voros

DEFENSEMEN

First pair

Wade Redden

Michal Rozsival

Second pair

Marc Staal

Dan Girardi

Third pair

Paul Mara

Derek Morris

GOALIES

Henrik Lundqvist

Stephen Valiquette

SPOTLIGHT ON:

Rangers LW Markus Naslund

Scott Gomez had two points in Game 6, so his numbers for the series look a little better. Naslund had three points in the first two games, but he has been held scoreless since. It is a theme that hasn’t changed throughout the series - New York’s top offensive players (Gomez, Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, Nik Antropov, Sean Avery) have been missing in action.

STORY LINES

1. WIN OR GO HOME

One team is going home with a huge amount of disappointment and questions to answer Wednesday morning. For the Rangers: How did they let a 3-1 series lead evaporate? For the Caps: How did they pound the Rangers in Games 5 and 6 and not close the deal? The Caps don’t want to have to answer about losing Game 7 on home ice for a second straight year.

2. LUNDQVIST LICKED?

The Caps have dominated play for much of the first six games, and the only significant change for the Rangers from game to game has been Henrik Lundqvist. He has been mediocre the previous two contests, yielding nine goals on 34 shots. New York has no chance in Game 7 if Lundqvist doesn’t revert to the form he had earlier in the series.

3. DANGEROUS DEPTH

Through four games, the Caps were relying almost entirely on Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom to generate the offense. But in the past two contests, Washington has gotten contributions from everywhere. Guys like Matt Bradley, David Steckel and a host of defensemen have chipped in offensively. More of the same and it is on the second round.

- Corey Masisak

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