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The Rangers wondered where their offense was through two games, when they came up empty on seven power plays. New York scored one power-play goal in six chances in Game 3 and another just as a Caps penalty expired.
Washington again failed to take a 3-0 series lead, a feat that has never been accomplished in 21 playoff series in franchise history. Instead, the Rangers have life going into Game 4 Wednesday night.
After a victory late in the regular season that included two goals by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom was asked if it felt like the "good old days" when the franchise cornerstones powered a high-scoring team. "It depends how it is in the playoffs," he said. "And we weren't that successful in the playoffs in the past."
The Capitals' reputation as a team that can't get it done in the playoffs is well-established. Here's a look at how each playoff exit happened, with some help from ex-coach Bruce Boudreau.
General manager George McPhee brought Fehr back in January on a one-year deal worth $600,000. The idea was that if the 2003 first-round pick could remain healthy, he had the ability to add forward depth and produce.
Even though injury has limited Erat to seven games in a Caps uniform, his arrival meant everything within a locker room of an Eastern Conference contender.
Standing outside the visitors' locker room at Madison Square Garden on the morning of March 24, Adam Oates recalled the Washington Capitals' loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins a few days earlier, and not because of the seemingly crushing result. Instead, the coach said it was his team's best game of the season.
Hendricks took a glove to the eye from Hurricanes forward Tim Brent as some pushing and shoving was going on. His vision was "a little disrupted" and he saw spots, but drops and a contact lens allowed him to continue about his business.
When the Washington Capitals raised four straight Southeast Division champions banners to the rafters of Verizon Center, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Alexander Semin led the charge. Semin is gone to the Carolina Hurricanes, and the rest of the 'Young Guns' are a little older now but still dangerous when they're on like they were Tuesday night.
Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and Braden Holtby made 30 saves as the Washington Capitals beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-1 on Friday.
Hendricks had six fighting majors through the Caps' first 27 games, more than the rest of his teammates combined. He fought twice Saturday at the Boston Bruins in a game that underscored how much this team needs Hendricks to answer the bell when opponents take liberties.
Not everyone will switch to the Kevlar socks, but when Caps players showed up for work Wednesday, they were greeted with a box of them and a note from general manager George McPhee encouraging them to try them out in practice.
After a bumpy ride during his first four full NHL seasons, Eric Fehr was a healthy scratch for the Washington Capitals, then a fourth-liner. When given the opportunity with more minutes and an increased role, Fehr took advantage, scoring three goals in the past three games.
As he talked about watching the replay of Erik Karlsson suffering a torn left Achilles tendon from a skate blade, Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks took the tape off his right foot to reveal a scar. That's where he got cut by an opposing goaltender's skate during his sophomore year at St. Cloud State.
Mike Ribeiro has been playing the game the right way so far this season, even amid the Washington Capitals' inconsistency. He's far and away the team's leading scorer with 17 points, making the offense go even as consistent production from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom has been lacking.
"Next year coming in it's almost going to feel like we have a head start just because we know the system so well," center Jay Beagle said. "It's just going come natural to us now instead of making the switch on a shortened season."
"Obviously we can't take as many penalties," center Jay Beagle said. "We've got to try and stay out of the box. That makes it way easier on ourselves, and just stick to our system, stick to our game plan. And if we ... keep rolling five-on-five, we're going to be in good shape."