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He came close to tying the game in the second period. He received a pass in the slot and deked Lundqvist by going to his backhand. But Ovechkin’s momentum led him into a bit of a bad angle, and he missed an open goal by shooting into the outside of the net.

“That position, you have to make decision quick,” Ovechkin said. “I think I make a right one, but I missed it.”

So the Capitals have a chance to avenge last season’s Game 7 road loss to the Rangers. They hope playing this one on home ice will give them an edge, but they have lost three of four decisive games at home since 2008.

The lone guarantee, as usual, is victory won’t come easily.

“The margin of error is very slim,” Oates said. “You want to minimize it as much as possible. Hopefully we’ll start off a little bit better [Monday] and draw blood first.

“Let’s make sure we get our legs going, get into our rhythm. Same things we talk about every night.”