The favorite falls flat on their face in the first two games, then suddenly turns it on to force a Game 7 at home with a hot new goalie and rejuvenated offense.
Will the Capitals be able to keep Uncle Mo or will Henrik Lundqvist be able to lift the Rangers to the second round?
For this pre-game, I'm going to look at two posts I've done in the past that contain keys for the Caps to pull this one out.
With the Capitals down two games to zero, I wrote an article, Far From Over, in which I looked at the five things that Washington needs to do in order to get back in the series. Let's take a look at those five things:
1. Offense- After scoring four goals in the first two games, the Caps have been able to put the puck in the net and have exploded on offense. In their three wins, they've scored 13 goals, from eight different players.
2. Discipline- Washington continues to take penalties, but the Rangers power play isn't ranked second-to-last for nothing. New York's power play in the playoffs is third worst and has just two power play goals since Game 1.
3. Goalie Situation- Oh it's resolved. The Caps have their goalie (Happy Birthday yesterday to Varly!) for the playoffs and for (hopefully) a long, long time.
4. Playing at the Garden- A split in Game 3 and 4 was all Washington needed to stay alive. Then blowing out the Rangers on their ice has led the match-up to a 7th game.
5. Solving Henrik Lundqvist- This is last, but certainly most important in the Capitals want any chance of winning Game 7. Lundqvist has been extremely inconsistent compared to the first few games. The fate of the New York Rangers depends on which Henrik Lundqvist shows up.
Finally, with the call-up of Artem Ansiminov, here is my report on him from when I went up to Hershey to watch the Bears play the Hartford Wolf Pack:
Artem Anisimov- A towering figure at 6'4", 205, he picked up a garbage goal in the second period. I was somewhat disappointed with his performance, because of my high expectations. He needs to work on his skating if he wants to make it to the next level. He only registered 2 shots, and I think he just had an off-game. I think he's good enough to play in the NHL, but he's still pretty raw. This is his second season in North America, and he could use one more after this one. Expect to see him in the NHL around 2010.