Today in the NHL: Rangers try to stay alive vs. Caps

Today in the NHL: Rangers try to stay alive vs. Caps
May 12, 2013, 12:15 pm
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The Capitals took a 3-2 series lead over the Rangers with a 2-1 overtime win on Friday. (USA Today Images)

CSNPhilly.com/AP

Brooks Orpik fired a slap shot from the left point that hit the back of the net 7:49 into overtime Saturday night to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory over the Islanders that ended the Eastern Conference first-round series in six games (see story).

Also, Senators center Jason Spezza won't be ready to start Round 2 of the playoffs as he is still recovering from back surgery (see story).

Now, here's a look a Sunday's NHL playoff action:

Capitals at Rangers, 4:30 p.m.
Washington leads series 3-2

NEW YORK -- Forgive the New York Rangers if they have a quiet confidence heading into a must-win game against the Washington Capitals.

No, they aren't too young to understand nor are they loaded with postseason experience. But what they do have seems to be serving them well, at least so far.

The Rangers will host Game 6 of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, and they will need to win to force a deciding contest in the nation's capital on Monday.

Through five games, the home team has come out on top in each - including New York's two wins at Madison Square Garden in Games 3 and 4 to erase an 0-2 series deficit.

Washington went back ahead 3-2 on Friday by beating the Rangers 2-1 in overtime - the Capitals' second extra-time win in the series.

"I think the electricity in the building can sometimes get you through moments where maybe you're sluggish," Capitals coach Adam Oates said Saturday of the benefits of home ice. "It's your own confines. You just feel good in your own building.

"They're going to be more desperate, but that can't affect the decisions. We've still got to play the way we play."

The Rangers have a bit of recent history to draw upon, as well, as they came back last year from a 3-2 hole in the first round against the Ottawa Senators - winning Game 6 on the road and completing the rally at home in Game 7 - when they were the No. 1 seed in the East (see full preview).

-The Associated Press

Bruins at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m.
Boston leads series 3-2

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins don't need to be reminded what can happen when a team fails to put away an opponent.

The franchise that blew a 3-0 lead in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals is holding a 3-2 lead in the first round of the playoffs against the Maple Leafs. Boston was up three games to one before Toronto won 2-1 in Game 5 on Friday night.

"The one thing that has been a challenge for us in the past has been closing out series," coach Claude Julien after practice on Saturday. "And we know that; we're aware of that. But at the same time, the strength of our team has also been to bounce back from adversity and situations like that.

"As much as yesterday was proof of it, hopefully tomorrow's the proof of the other side that we are capable of bouncing back and playing the type of game we need to to close the series off."

The teams will meet again on Sunday night in Toronto, where Boston won Games 3 and 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Bruins have not lost on the Leafs' home ice in the playoffs since 1959 (see full preview).

-The Associated Press

Red Wings at Ducks, 10 p.m.
Series tied 3-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A theatrical playoff series gets an appropriately grand finale when Anaheim hosts Detroit in Game 7 on Sunday night.

Although the Ducks and Red Wings could be stressed by this test, most are treating it as an opportunity and a reward for nearly two weeks of exhausting work.

After all, somebody gets to be the hero.

"If you can't enjoy it, then you're in the wrong sport," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said Saturday. "These are situations that many of us have been in, but they're fun. You reach back on those things, and then just remember to embrace the moment and be ready to play."

After four overtime games, several clutch goals and plenty of wild momentum swings, the second-seeded Ducks have one last chance to finish off the resilient Red Wings, who have one final opportunity to nudge past the talented Pacific Division champions (see full preview).

-The Associated Press

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