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He was clearly making the Caps think a little too much. Too often they tried to maybe get cute, look for one more pass, set up something perfect instead of just blasting the puck in Lundqvist’s direction.

Brouwer said Lundqvist wasn’t in their heads, that the extra passes were “skill players trying to look for skill plays.” He also conceded the Caps needed to wind up and fire more.

“Maybe we needed to put more pucks on net,” he said. “Maybe we needed to shoot instead of looking for one more pass.”

As sharp as Holtby had been at Verizon, allowing just two goals in the previous three games there, the Rangers were willing to wind up and shoot. Monday night’s first goal was an example. Arron Asham skated over the blue line and let it rip. It went in high, 1-0 Rangers.

It was a goal, most nights, Holtby keeps from happening. Not this night. And in a series where goals were at a premium in D.C., it was enough to rattle the Caps and give the Rangers a positive jolt.

“I just kind of lost it a little bit. I didn’t react very clean to it, and he beat me – he put it in a pretty good spot,” Holtby said. “You know, one that I think I probably could stop. I didn’t see the replay of it, but it’s in the past now.”

Just like the Caps season. Up 2-0 in the series, they now pack up while the Rangers advance to play Boston. Ovechkin, an MVP candidate, didn’t score a goal after the first game and had no points in the final five. The Caps’ second line certainly had a night to forget – Eric Fehr was on the ice for four goals last night, as was Ribeiro. Brouwer was on for three.

Lots of blame to go around, for sure, and little of it goes to Holtby. He had a lot to do with this series going seven. His future remains bright.

But on this last night of the season, the veteran in the other net showed the youngster there’s still a little ways to go.