The heat is on for the Washington Capitals as they battle a resurging New York Rangers in their own turf in Verizon Center in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series in the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Second Round this Sunday.
The Rangers were literally just less than two minutes away from elimination in the Stanley Cup during Friday's Game 5 when a lucky goal from Ryan McDonagh with 1:41 minutes in overtime, sent the hometown crowd in Madison Square Garden wild, said NJ.com. The final score, 2-1, in favor of the Rangers.
The Rangers really pushed hard during Friday's game. Coming 1-3 before the game, Chris Kreider scored a tying goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation time that kept the team's hope alive.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said his team will face the Washington Capital with more confidence on Sunday and said the pressure is now on for the host team in the continuation of their semifinal playoff series.
The veteran goalie was quoted as saying during the post-game interview, "We're still alive. Being in their shoes, we've been there. Going home now, there's a lot of pressure for them. I know for sure they don't want to come back here for another game. So we try to use that to our advantage and go out and try to play our best game of the series, put a lot of pressure on them and try to come back here and play in front of our fans."
The Washington Capitals actually had an opportunity to finish the series. Defenseman Matt Niskanen's got a puck with 2:09 remaining in the second period behind Lundqvist but referee Kevin Pollock waved it off. Pollock ruled that forward Joel Ward interfered with the shot.
Niskanse commented "I thought [Ward] got pushed and he wasn't even in the crease. Lundqvist is coming out and trying to make the save, and Ward, as long as he is not in the crease, he can be there. If it was on [the Rangers'] side and they called it a goal, they are probably just irate. We think it should be a goal. [Ward] is allowed to be there."
But Lundqvist had a different perspective on that goal, "Obviously it's impossible for me to try to find the puck when I have a guy on top of me like that; I think it was the right call. "It's tough. ... I think when you have that interference like that and it's impossible to play the game, I think it's a great call by the ref."
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said they are not blaming the wave off call. "[The referees] said that there was incidental contact. We felt obviously [Ward] was pushed in. They made the call and that was that. We just deal with it and move on. I felt two things: that Lundqvist came out outside the blue and engaged a little bit of contact, and then Ward was pushed in."
Braden Holtby, a goalie for the Capitals, expressed disappointed over the call. He commented, "Obviously it's a bit frustrating when a goal is called back, but you move forward. It was a play that you look at that could have been called either way. It could have been a good goal. Those moments ... we crash the net, we try and put bodies in front, try and score goals like that, and doing that, sometimes you get calls like that."
On Sunday, the Capitals will try to end the series so they won't have to return to New York for Game 7. Washington has not reached a conference final in 17 years.
Rangers vs. Capital NHL playoffs game 6 will begin at 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. ET on May 10, 2014. The (2-3) New York Rangers will be visiting the (3-2) Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. Information on how to watch the Rangers vs. Capital game on live stream free can be found below.
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